Something to crow about: 2016 Canfield Fair success
It’s official. The 170th edition of the Canfield Fair will go down as one of the most successful in the long and glorious history of the largest county fair in Ohio.
Number crunchers on the Fair Board report more than 310,000 people attended the six-day agricultural extravaganza, a statistic that will keep the fair’s premiere standing solidly intact. That figure is about 28,000 more than attended the 2015 fair and close to levels seen 50 years ago when 70,000 more people populated the home county of the fair.
In looking for reasons for the big bump, one might point to the transformation of the fairgrounds into stumping grounds for this year’s hot presidential contest. Vice President Joe Biden, campaigning for Hillary Clinton, and Republican nominee Donald Trump himself attracted large energetic crowds.
One might attribute this year’s success to the diverse lineup of major grandstand entertainment that ranged from heavy-metal rock to national oldies bands from the ‘60s to Christian pop-rock dynamos The Newsboys.
To be sure, Mother Nature played a starring role in the success with gorgeous, sunny, mild and rain-free weather for five days of the event’s six-day run.
“We’re very pleased with the numbers. Considering the weather this summer, those numbers are really good,” said fair manager Bev Fisher.
Fair Board President Andy Frost was even more ebulient: “It was just an awesome fair.”
Many of the patrons who passed through the gates no doubt concur. Those who ooh’ed and ahh’ed at baby farm animals, enjoyed star-studded concerts, raved about exquisite art and yummy baked goods, and twisted and shouted on myriad amusement rides would use similar superlatives to describe this year’s exposition.
KUDOS TO BOARD, VOLUNTEERS
As another Canfield Fair gets etched into the history books, all associated with maintaining its proud blue-ribbon legacy for Mahoning County deserve a hearty pat on the back. They earned it.
To be sure, overseeing 353 acres of rides, concessions, animal barns, displays, grandstand seating, arenas, parking lots and more is no mean feat. Once again, the board of directors of the fair, led by Frost, orchestrated the magic that put smiles on so many faces as summer ebbed once again into fall.
But board members and fair administrators could not do it alone. Hundreds of volunteers labor throughout the year to ensure the expo goes off without a glitch. They, too, should take a bow.
They won’t be resting on their laurels for too long, however, as planning for the 2017 fair began shortly after the last gates closed this week.
They’ll clearly have a tough act to follow, but we’re confident they will rise to the challenge to make the 171st version something to crow even louder and longer about.