Queens for a year, friends forever
CANFIELD — The Canfield Fair has long been a place where thousands go for fun, to showcase talents, show off animals and make new friends. Two friends from the 1946 fair still get together.
In 1946, there was no 4-H royal court at the fair. Instead, each township in Mahoning County would select a representative, or queen, who would then attend the fair and hope to be given the title of “Queen of the Fair.”
That’s where Barbara Moore (Brownlee) and Mamie Felger (Shaffer) became good friends while representing their townships. Moore, 16 at the time, was from Coitsville and Felger, then 17, was from Springfield.
Other township queens were Ruth Oblinger of North Jackson, Lois Krichbaum of Boardman, Gloria Woolman of Smith, Naomi Capel of Goshen, Mabel Davis of Beaver, Joan Baker of Austintown, Carol Finefrock of Canfield, Thelma Martin of Ellsworth, Mildred Martell of Greenford and Twila Johnson of Milton.
“Each township would hold a contest to select the queen,” Felger said. “Then we got to ride a float in a parade that ended at the grandstand.”
She said the parade went through the village of Canfield where the first fair was held in 1847. The 1946 fair was No. 100, which made it a milestone for the selected royalty of the day.
Both women have deep ties to the fair. Moore was a head majorette in the Springfield Band and was used to leading the band during the grandstand performances.
Felger’s grandfather-in-law was Harvey O. Brown, one of the fair directors in the 1940s. Moore’s future father-in-law was Howard Moore, who was also a fair director representing the family farm in Coitsville.
“The fair has always been a big part of my life,” Felger said. “My husband Jack was the security man in the 4-H building. He would stay all night and our two sons, Brad and Bart, would stay too. I worked the Arts and Crafts Building, hanging quilts and displaying handiworks.”
She said the fair got into Bart’s blood and now his children are in 4-H and will be showing at the fair.
Moore said she attended the fair with her family every year. She did some rabbit and chicken judging and the fair time became a special time of the year for birthdays.
“My husband James was an usher in the grandstand,” she said. “On Aug. 31, 1952, he got a call that his son David was born. Three years later, again during the fair time, a second son, Raymond, was born. My husband was still an usher in 1955.”
One other interesting happening was during the 150th Canfield Fair in 1996. Felger and Moore were asked to parade through town in an antique car that dropped them off at the grandstand for the high school band performances.
Moore is now 91 and Felger is 92. Both women live in Poland and both attend the Poland Presbyterian Church. They see each other regularly in church and have maintained a good friendship.
This year’s 175th annual Canfield Fair is Sept. 1-6.
As for attending the fair, both are looking forward to it. Felger said, “This year my family is going to rent a scooter for me, and my granddaughter will be showing ponies.”
Moore said she has attended the fair ever since her year as a township queen. She said she is going to try to get there this year.
“We’ll make sure she gets to come out and enjoy the fair this year,” said her son David Moore.
Both women said they didn’t win the queen of the fair title in 1946, but they had a good time representing their townships.