Wednesday, July 25, 2018
By Jordyn Grzelewski
For some people, cinnamon rolls, ice-cold lemon shakes and sausage sandwiches are the best part of the Canfield Fair.
For others, it’s the close-knit community of Junior Fair.
Carnival rides are the top attraction for some fairgoers, while others come to see the farm animals.
This year, fair leaders are making it all about another aspect of the 172-year-old Mahoning Valley tradition: You.
“This year’s theme is, ‘You are the Canfield Fair,’” said fair board President Dave Dickey, at a media event previewing the fair Tuesday. “Whether you like the horses, whether you like the demonstrations, whether you like the tractor pull – you make the Canfield Fair.”
The fair opens Aug. 29 and runs through Sept. 3. In addition to the familiar staples of Ohio’s largest county fair, this year’s event will have some new features.
For the first time in decades, a new carnival ride company is coming to the fair. Reithoffer Shows Inc. promises a selection of new and spectacular rides, said David Grimm, director of business development for the Florida-based company.
Among the new rides is the a $1 million Italian-made roller coaster, the first one at the fair in many years.
Other rides include the “Dutch Wheel,” a 120-foot gondola wheel built in Holland; a 90-foot-tall Ferris wheel; the “Tornado,” which Reithoffer touts as the only ride of its kind in the country; a kiddie carousel for small children; a musical ride; the “Wacky Worm” kiddie roller coaster; and more.
Grimm said Reithoffer will offer between 45 and 50 rides, rest stations around the fairgrounds, and shorter wait times for rides due to the rides being larger than most.
“We’re really excited about coming this year and bringing our rides and our expertise to the fair,” he said.
Also new at the fair this year will be mule racing, adding to the harness races that take place each Friday, Saturday and Monday at the fair. Elwood Woolman, the fair director who oversees harness racing, said this adds to other recent additions of draft horse and Junior Fair races.
Popular events from previous years also will return, including the demolition derby on Friday; the championship truck and tractor pull Saturday; and Faith and Family Day on Sunday, featuring live music from Christian artist Matthew West and opening acts Hawk Nelson and I Am They. Monday’s live entertainment will be country music artist Toby Keith.
For information or to purchase tickets for events, visit canfieldfair.com.
In other news, fair director Craig Myers provided an update on the capital campaign the fair started last year to raise money for a new Junior Fair/expo facility.
Myers said about $2 million of the scaled-down $3.5 million goal has been reached.
Fair leaders plan to relocate the new facility to the southeast section of the fairgrounds, and move the attractions in that area (the antique tractors, Old McDonald’s Barn, and open sheep and goat barns) to the northeast section where Junior Fair is located.
One other thing noted by fair leaders: only 35 days until the fair.