CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Canfield Fair kicked off Wednesday with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m.
It’s Ohio’s largest county fair, and for 177 years, it has been put on by the Mahoning County Agricultural Society.
The Canfield Fairgrounds covers 350 acres with a variety of exhibits, rides, livestock, crafts, and of course, fair food! There is a whole slate of events set for Wednesday: from gardening to milk-a-cow to wood carvers.
Wednesday, seven people who made a big mark in Mahoning County agriculture were also inducted into the County Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Pearle Burlingame was the 1962 Canfield Fair queen and became active with the Farm Bureau. J.C. Hedge was a county extension agent for 33 years. Jesse and Roger Martig are behind Martig Farms. Clifford Morrison was the manager of the experimental farm for 30 years. David Myers is a pony expert, and Wade Wehr was a cow expert.
“After 94 years of age and around and doing things, but this is one of the great things here being honored this morning is really tops,” Myers said.
“Well, it’s a real honor to be recognized for what you do, and it’s all in the name of the community and agriculture. They’re such wonderful people to work with,” Burlingame said.
Another big part of the fair is the 4-H shows and competitions.
Kids from all across the Valley show their animals to a panel of judges in a variety of categories.
“There is also showmanship, where they go up and ask you questions about your animal, and it’s based on your knowledge of your animal,” said Evan Davis.
A fair favorite novelty are the Happy Toad Wooden roses. Six new colors of roses are now on sale, and the best part is they never go bad.
Owner Michael Rhodes says it’s a great gift for anyone of any age.
“They are only $1 a piece, so you can’t beat that. I’m the cheapest thing at the fair,” said owner Michael Rhodes. “I have been here for four years, and I go through 40,000 roses during the run of Canfield.”
There are plenty of food options at the Canfield Fair. One that’s not to be overlooked could be the simplest on the fairgrounds. There are seven kettle corn stands.
Kettle corn just takes a couple of minutes to pop. Many people want that simple flavor of just the corn, but others enjoy a little flavoring. Wednesday, Island Breeze Kettle Corn was featuring theatre popcorn and Snickers popcorn. It has over 50 flavors that can be put with the corn to combine the sweet and salty.
“I believe because every recipe is different, and we make it how we feel that it’s going to be sweet, and a lot of people like it a little sweeter than normal,” said Marsha Landin, with Island Breeze Kettle Corn.
The Island Breeze Kettle Corn stand is right between the Ferris Wheel and the Big Rock. It will sell thousands of bags this week.
There’s a toy store at the Canfield Fairgrounds. It’s right next to the grandstand, attached to Phil’s Kubota. Inside the trailer are many toys. The shelves are full of Trucks, tractors, combines and animals. If it has to do with agriculture, there’s most likely a toy there that corresponds to it.
Kubota has been at the same spot since 1965. The toy store has been around for over 30 years and is always popular.
“Well, it gives the kids something to do. A lot of the kids here have chores to do in the morning and then they don’t have anything to do the rest of the day. So, this gives them an opportunity to come shop the toy truck, get something to take back to the barn and have something to do throughout the day,” said Jodee Boerio, with Phil’s Kubota.
The toy store also has some newer toys, like Transformers.
Boerio says the store is a good place for kids while mom and dad are shopping for tractors.
Another place to make sure to stop by is the veterans area.
The American Legion Post 301 in Austintown and Post 177 in Canfield are looking for new members. Post 301 Commander Antonio Crespo, Jr. says they have a shortage of younger people getting involved.
One of the veterans volunteering there on Wednesday was 85 years old.
“Let people know that we exist, that we’re here to serve veterans and also the community,” said American Legion volunteer Frank Micchia.
“We’re still after that man who came, that man or woman who came out of the service who got themselves established. We need some of their time, some of the talent, some of their muscle,” Crespo said.
Both posts are always looking for new members and encourage all veterans to join the American Legion.
The fair goes from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. through Sept. 4. The prices of tickets vary by age and day.
Parking is free at the fairgrounds, and shuttle services are available for senior citizens between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.