She has done ‘a little bit of everything’ at the fair.

By Natalie Lariccia


FAIR COLLECTOR: Eileen Groves, a Canfield native, sits in her home in front of a collection of 13 commemorative crocks featuring the Canfield Fair rooster mascot and slogan, “Something to crow about.” Groves now resides at Copeland Oaks Retirement Community in Sebring.

SEBRING — Eileen Hedge Crouse Groves was just 4 years old when she fell in love with the magic of the Canfield Fair.

Now, nearly 85 years later, she still gets excited to peruse the fair’s vast array of exhibits and to take in the expanse of the event while taking a leisurely wagon ride across the grounds.

For Groves, the fair just isn’t any community carnival — it represents an important part of her family’s history, an integral part of her life and a joyous event that continues to bring a smile to her face year after year.

“It [the fair] is in my blood. It just has been a part of my life. It just grows on you. It’s a part of who I am,” she said.

Groves proudly wears a colorful sweat shirt emblazoned with an embroidered rooster — the Canfield Fair mascot — as she showcases the collection of ribbons, black-and-white photos, newspaper clippings and keepsake books that chronicle the fair’s history and some of her and her family’s fair accomplishments.

Born and reared in Akron, Groves and her family moved to Canfield when she was 4. Her father, J.C. Hedge, was a Mahoning County Extension agent, and they moved to the area so he could be closer to his job.

Groves and her four siblings also became involved with the fair from an early age, participating in the local 4-H programs. Groves was primarily involved with 4-H’s youth sewing programs, frequently earning ribbons and recognition for her sewing projects.

One of her proudest moments was when she won a first-place award at the Canfield Fair in 1938 for her handmade, two-piece outfit. She then went on to compete on a state level at the Ohio State Fair.

“I was competitive without knowing I was competitive. It [the outfit] was horrible, I thought, but I won first place,” she said.

Another crowning achievement was when she was named Pig Iron Queen in 1939 at the Canfield Fair’s Pig Iron Derby. It was the first and the last Pig Iron Queen contest hosted at the fair, and Groves proudly displays a yellowed newspaper clipping that features her photo and announces her royal recognition.

“I remember I made my own crown. It was very chintzy. But, when you are 19 and a queen, that’s a big deal,” she said.

She also recalls when the fair featured greyhound-dog races and a single midway, where all the handsome boys would gather.

“We’d see some fellas, and we’d follow them up and down the midway. I have to admit I liked the boys,” she said.

In 1943, Groves married Josh Crouse, a North Lima native, whose father served on the Canfield Fair board. A few years after she and Crouse were married, they moved to Archbold, Ohio — near Toledo — where Crouse worked as a schoolteacher and they raised their three children.

After Crouse died in 1969, Groves returned to the Mahoning Valley and landed a fast-paced job working as the assistant to Grace Williams, who was serving as Canfield Fair executive secretary. Groves admired Williams’ dedication and she enjoyed working with her. It was a fulfilling job, and with the all her fair memories, she felt she had a personal connection to her work and to the fair.

“People did not know how much work is involved with running a fair — it’s bigger than people realize. I never left my desk, hardly ... I handled the majority of inbound calls,” she said.

While working at the fair, Groves married her second husband, Elden R. Groves. Although she knew Elden through family friends before they were married, Elden also served as a fair board member and was an editor at Farm and Dairy for 27 years. Elden died in 1994.

Groves served as Williams’ assistant until 1987, and she continued to work in the fair office, part time until 1995.

Although Groves, who is also a mother of two stepchildren, says she misses working at the fair, she still looks forward to visiting the fair each year and entertaining her family members who always make a point to visit her during the fair.

And, maybe the love of the Canfield Fair really does run in the blood.

Groves’ stepdaughter, Kathy Bennett, who is Eldon Groves’ daughter, serves as a fair director and is a proud supporter of the festive and family-focused fair.

“She’s [Eileen] been involved with the fair, and she’d like to be here [at the fair] every day. She is an important person to the fair because she worked at the fair. At that time, there wasn’t a huge staff, so she did a little bit of everything,” Bennett said.

Ticket PriceS

The Canfield Fair runs through Labor Day and offers ride and admission prices for fairgoers of all ages.


Adults 18 and older: $7

Youths 13 to 17: $2

Children 12 and under: Free


Senior citizens: $5


Age 13 and older: $7

Youths 7 to 12: $2

Children 6 and under: Free

Mulitple-day passes: $15 for a three-day pass and $30 for a six-day pass.

Ride Passes

Today: $15, ride from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Friday: $15, ride from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday: $20, ride from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Source: The Canfield Fair

Gates open at 8 a.m.

Guided senior citizen shuttles available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, Sept. 3

21 WFMJ/WBCB Day At The Fair.

Grandstand attractions:

High school band concert:

k11 a.m.: Canfield.

k11:15 a.m.: West Branch.

k11:30 a.m. Austintown.

k11:45 a.m.: South Range.

kNoon: Jackson-Milton.

k12:15 p.m.: Sebring.

k12:30 p.m.: Lowellville.

k12:45 p.m.: Struthers.

k1 p.m.: Springfield.

k1:15 p.m.: Western Reserve.

k1:30 p.m.: Campbell.

Free daily happenings:

k10 a.m.: Ribbon-cutting ceremony.

k2 p.m.: 4-H King and Queen crowning; Junior Fair Youth Day Program on the concourse.

k3 p.m.: Bike Night on the concourse.

k5:30 p.m.: Market poultry auction, Coliseum Eight.

k7 p.m.: Jr. Fair Market Lamb & Swine auction, Coliseum Eight.

Judging schedule:

k8 a.m.: Market Swine, Coliseum Eight.

k8:30 a.m.: 4-H Dairy showmanship, South Cattle Arena.

k9 a.m.: 4-H Saddle, North Ring; Pygmy/Angora Goats, sheep barn; and Poultry, poultry barn.

k9:30 a.m.: Draft ponies, South Ring.

k11 a.m.: Junior Fair Market Lamb, Coliseum Eight.

k1 p.m.: Ponies, South Ring.

k4 p.m.: Brown Swiss & Ayrshire, South Cattle Arena; and Milking Shorthorn, South Cattle Arena.

k5 p.m.: Draft Horse - youth classes, East Ring.

k6 p.m.: Pony Hitches, South Ring.

Friday, Sept. 4

WKBN TV27 Fox 17/62 Day At The Fair.

Grandstand attractions:

k8 p.m.: World’s Largest Demolition Derby.

Free daily happenings:

k5:30 p.m.: Goat milk fudge auction and rabbit-meat pens, Coliseum Eight.

k7 p.m.: Market beef auction followed by market feeder, Coliseum Eight.

Judging Schedule:

k8 a.m.: Market beef fitting and showmanship, Coliseum Eight; Saddle Horse: 4-H, North Ring.

k8:30 a.m.: Draft horse, East Ring.

k9 a.m.: Sheep, Sheep Barn; Holstein, South Cattle Arena.

k9:30 a.m.: Ponies Registered Welsh, South Ring; Cattle: Market Beef, Coliseum Eight.

k11 a.m.: Junior Fair Feeder Calf Showmanship, Coliseum Eight; Junior Fair market dairy beef, Coliseum Eight; Ponies: Grade 46” and under, South Ring.

k1:30 p.m.: Ponies: Registered Hackney, South Ring.

k5 p.m.: Cattle: Limousin, South Cattle Arena.

k5:30 p.m.: Cattle: Aberdeen Angus, South Cattle Arena.

k6 p.m.: Cattle: Simmental, South Cattle Arena; Pony Hitches, South Ring.

k7 p.m.: Cattle: Hereford, South Cattle Arena; Pocket Pet Costume Class, Barn 10; Sheep Canfield Lead Line, Sheep Barn.

k8 p.m.: Cattle: Maine Anjou, South Cattle Arena.

Saturday, Sept. 5

WYTV New Channel 33 Day At The Fair.

Grandstand attractions:

k8 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Draft pony pig iron derby.

kNoon: Harness racing.

k7 p.m.: Truck and tractor pull plus semi pull. Admission $12 for track seats and 10 for grandstand. Youth ages 7 to 12 is $5.

Judging schedule:

k8 a.m.: 4-H rabbits, Coliseum Eight; 4-H Saddle Horse, North Ring.

k9 a.m.: Cattle: Jersey, Guernsey, South Cattle Arena.

k9:30 a.m.: Horses: Registered Mini, South Ring.

k10 a.m.: Draft horses: Hitch, East Ring.

k11 a.m.: 4-H Fashion Revue, Auditorium.

kNoon: 4-H Llama costume class, Coliseum Eight.

k12:30 p.m.: Sheep shearing demonstration, Sheep Barn.

k1:30 p.m.: Ponies: Haflinger, South Ring.

k3 p.m.: Supreme Champion Dairy, South Cattle Arena.

k4 p.m.: Junior Fair: Beef breeding projects, South Cattle Arena.

k5 p.m.: Cattle: Beef shorthorn, South Cattle Arena; 4-H Pocket Pet decorated cage, Barn No. 10.

k6 p.m.: Pony hitches, South Ring.

k7:30 p.m.: Dog agility demonstration, North Ring.


Y-103 Day At The Fair.

Grandstand attractions:

k8 p.m.: Hank Williams Jr. and George Jones.

Free daily happenings:

k8 a.m.: Catholic worship service, Youngstown Symphony Stage on Concourse.

k9:30 a.m.: Ecumenical worship service, Youngstown Symphony Stage on Concourse.

k11 a.m.: Worship service, International Stage.

k11 a.m.: Praise and worship service, Youngstown Symphony Stage on Concourse.

k1 p.m.: Dress-A-Cow contest, South Cattle Arena.

k1:45 p.m.: 4-H dairy cheese auction, South Cattle Arena.

Judging schedule:

k10 a.m.: Saddle Horse championships, North Ring.

kNoon: Dog demonstration, Coliseum Eight.

k12:30 p.m.: Sheep-shearing demonstration, Sheep Barn.

k1 p.m.: Poultry: 4-H showmanship, Coliseum Eight; Ponies: Leadline, costume and hitch classes, South Ring; Junior Fair goat show, Coliseum Eight.

k3 p.m.: Pocket Pet breed, Coliseum Eight.

k3:30 p.m.: Wee Ones: Showmanship, South Cattle Arena.

k4 p.m.: Junior Fair/Farm Bureau “Ag in the Bag,” Pavilion near Junior Fair.

k6 p.m.: Junior Fair rabbit costume class, Coliseum Eight.

Monday, Sept. 7

K105 Day At The Fair.

Grandstand attractions:

k8 a.m. to 11 p.m.: Draft horse pig iron derby.

kNoon: Harness racing.

Free daily happenings:

k9 a.m.: 4-H saddle horse show, north ring.

k9:30 a.m.: Rooster crowing contest, south ring.

Judging schedule:

k9 a.m.: Invitational dairy judging: 4-H, South Cattle Arena.

k10 a.m.: Junior Fair goat costume class, Coliseum Eight; Pocket Pets: 4-H showmanship, Coliseum Eight.

k10:30 a.m.: Junior Fair llama exhibition, Coliseum Eight.

k11 a.m.: Adult dairy showmanship, South Cattle arena.

k1 p.m.: Pony exhibitors show, South Ring; Market livestock Showman of Showmen, Coliseum Eight.

k5 p.m.: Dog demonstrations, Coliseum Eight.

Source: The Canfield Fair

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