Fair gives couple 20 years of memories

Bill set a record by eating 29 feet of chili dogs one year at the fair.
CANFIELD -- Bill and Jamie Davis are fair fanatics.
They haven't missed a single day at the Canfield Fair in 20 years.
Both visited the fair regularly as children. They gathered their friends and drove in caravans to the fair as teenagers -- holding parties between the cars when they got stuck in traffic, Jamie recalled -- and camped at the fair when their sons were small.
"We'd get up in the morning and take a shower in the horse showers, then I'd go to work," Bill said of their camping days.
They didn't really shower in the area where exhibitors clean their horses, Jamie explained. But there was no hot water so Bill referred to the cold-water-only showers as "the horse showers."
Jamie showered in cold water too.
"It was fun," she said, smiling from ear to ear.
"We'd come out before the fair and watch them set up and we'd stay and watch them take everything down," Bill said.
Now that their sons, Bill Jr. and Bob, are both teenagers who prefer to drive themselves to the fair, they don't camp. But Bill and Jamie still visit the fair every day.
"We just really like the fair," Bill said.
Good food
His favorite attraction is the food.
"Look at his food belly," his wife said, gently patting her hubby's midriff.
Among Bill's favorite concessions are Leroy's Sausage, which is celebrating its 36th year at the fair, and the Poor Man's Carmel Apple stand.
The Springfield band used to sell hot dogs and chili dogs, Bill said. "I don't know what happened. They aren't here anymore. I ate 29 feet of chili dogs there one year, one foot at a time. They told me I had the record."
"I like the games," Jamie said.
Their children also like the games and have had so much practice they've perfected their skills at some of them, especially the one where players use water squirters to fill a cylinder, Jamie said.
"One year the game operator told my kids they had to leave for an hour because no one else could win."
Other favorites
The couple also enjoys the grandstand shows, especially the rock 'n' roll and oldies bands, such as The Beach Boys, Bill said, and the Clydesdale horse hitches. The more they think about it, the more there is to like at the fair: sheep shearing contests, cotton candy, the Western Reserve Village and historic steam engine.
But strolling miles of midways day after day doesn't come without a price.
"Our calves hurt and we complain about our feet hurting every night, but we're always back the next day," Jamie said.
They'll be at the fair every day this year and are planning to do it again in 2005 at the 159th Canfield Fair.

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