Canfield Fair Board leaders call decision to cancel ‘heartbreaking’

Local News

They're still planning to hold the 4-H Junior Fair, but the grounds will be closed to the public

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Organizers have canceled this year’s Canfield Fair, citing health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fair board made the decision at Monday night’s meeting. The vote was unanimous.

The fair is conducting a Junior Fair only.

“It was very difficult,” said George Roman, a member of the fair board. “Heartbreaking last night when we met to make the final decision. Yeah, it was an emotional time for some of us.”

“The scariest part was to put half a show and people would come to the fair, expecting the same old fair and that wasn’t going to be the case this year,” said Ward Campbell, fair board president.

Campbell said if 80,000 people would have showed up Saturday afternoon, trying to maintain social distancing would have been borderline impossible.

“We’ve got a lot of older volunteers that we just didn’t feel we could put them in jeopardy.”

The decision was hard to take.

“It has just become part of our lifestyle for Labor Day weekend and this year, we’re going to have to find something else to do,” said Tony Provenzale, who has been operating food stands at the fair for decades.

“It’s going to be a major impact in this whole community. Not just for Canfield and the Canfield Fair, I’m talking the whole Mahoning Valley area,” Roman said.

At one point, when talking about the Junior Fair — which is still scheduled to happen, Campbell choked up.

“It’s very dear to my heart and we just got to put a show on for them.”

Junior Fair members and their immediate family members may attend and participate in events over the Labor Day weekend, but the fairgrounds will be closed to the public.

Participants or their parents will be required to sign a waiver. They should check the Junior Fair website for updates.

The Canfield Fair released a statement on the decision Tuesday:

It is with tremendous regret that we acknowledge that conducting a full fair is not possible for 2020.

The 174th 2020 Canfield Fair will be limited to Junior Fair only. Limiting the fair allows Junior Fair members the opportunity to participate in the numerous programs and events available to them, while also recognizing the significant health and safety issues facing the general public, our volunteers and our team.

Junior Fair participants and their immediate family members may attend and participate in Junior Fair Events over the traditional Labor Day weekend. The fairgrounds will be closed to the general public.

All Junior Fair members and/or their parents will be required to sign an acknowledgment and waiver form related to COVID-19. Please check the Mahoning County Junior Fair website in the future for further information and availability. Those individuals will then receive a wristband to wear throughout the fair.

The limited fair will be operated in accordance with guidance available from the Mahoning County Public Health Department and the state of Ohio. Further guidance related to specific limited fair operations will be forthcoming.

We look forward to seeing everyone in 2021 for our 175th fair!

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