Mahoning County man who runs food stands says decision to cancel Canfield Fair will hurt, but he understands

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Tony Provenzale normally spends his summers at fairs and outdoor events, making his living through concession stand sales

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Canfield Fair announced it’s canceled this year because of COVID-19, with the exception of the 4-H Junior Fair. Concession stands are among those taking a hit.

Some concessionaires make their livings selling sandwiches, fries and drinks out of trailers.

One of them is Tony Provenzale, who lives in Beaver Township but spends his summers at fairs and outdoor events.

Provenzale was at Boardman’s Field of Dreams Tuesday afternoon, where he runs the concession stands. He also has two trailers — one for french fries and the other for sandwiches — which he operates at the Canfield Fair.

This would have been his 36th year at the fair.

“I can’t say it surprised me,” he said. “I felt like all along it was going to be a monumental job to pull the fair off. And then when I was told the West Virginia State Fair shut down two weeks ago, that ride group was supposed to come to the Canfield Fair.”

Provenzale also runs the concession stand at the Boardman YMCA and stands at the Ohio State Fair, both of which have been shut down. He understands why the Canfield Fair was canceled, too.

“I don’t see how we could have pulled it off,” Provenzale said. “With the lack of entertainment, possibly, the grandstands and the ride problem, I don’t know how it would’ve worked out. I think they made the right decision.”

As far as the kind of year he’s had, Provenzale said he’s still working.

“Originally, I thought we wouldn’t work at all and then when Gov. DeWine said youth sports could open back up, it was a good idea, it was nice, it worked out. People enjoy it.”

While not having the Canfield Fair will certainly hurt him, he said it will hurt others, too.

“A lot of these guys just go to one or two fairs a year, one of them being the Canfield Fair. So whether to use that for Christmas money, schooling, what have you, well it’s not going to happen this year.”

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