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Storm destroys family’s Canfield Fair camper but strangers save their tradition

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The Ritchie family thought they wouldn't be able to fill their usual spot at the Canfield Fair until a couple from New Springfield offered to help

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – A family from McDonald has a tradition of reserving a spot at the Canfield Fair for their camper. But a storm destroyed it Sunday night and they thought this year’s trip might not happen.

The Canfield Fair officially starts in nine days, but around 700 RVs and 2,000 campers will start setting up on Saturday.

The coveted spots are difficult to get — there’s a waiting list to reserve one.

Every year, the Ritchie family camps at the fairgrounds all week.

“My mother is on one side of me, my sisters are each on either side and my brother is on the other end of the campground,” Dean Ritchie said.

Dean’s claimed spot B6.

“He’s had this specific spot that he’s had for over 30 years, and it’s right next to his parents and his sisters so it means a lot to him,” said his wife, Nancy.

Dean was devastated when he saw what Sunday’s storm left behind.

“It was sickening,” he said. “I really like this camper. It was just sad to see it go.”

It was more than just the camper that pulled at Dean’s heart — it was the tradition that came with it.

“For him, it was devastating,” Nancy said. “Of course, that would be his first thought, it’s, ‘OK, everyone is OK but what are we going to do about the fair?'”

With his camper being destroyed just days before the fair, it’s more challenging for Dean to process.

“If there’s no camper, they take [the spot] away from you and fill it with somebody else,” he said.

But thanks to the generosity of strangers, Dean will not be losing his spot.

A couple from New Springfield saw a post on Facebook about the damage to the Ritchies’ camper and offered to help.

“Somebody was generous enough today and called in, and said that they would let us use their camper for the week of the fair,” Nancy said.

Dean said that act of kindness is priceless.

“It was just an awesome feeling.”

Nancy said Dean calls the fair his “happy place.”

“He wouldn’t know what to do if he missed that opportunity at the fair.”

Thankfully, he won’t have to miss a thing.

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