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Canfield Fair nixed

Pandemic concerns cancel 174th edition; Junior Fair planned

CANFIELD — As most other events this year, the 174th Canfield Fair has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Junior Fair will still continue Sept. 2-7.

“We stretched out as long as we could” regarding on making a decision, said George Roman, director of grandstand entertainment and concessions, after the official decision was made public.

The fair board announced the cancellation late Tuesday morning, with the board making the decision Monday night, Roman said.

He explained a reason behind the call now rather than closer to the fair was because vendors needed a decision.

Throughout the last several months, Roman previously said that the biggest concern was the 4-H program, as well as the health and well-being of staff, volunteers and attendees.

Junior fair participants and their immediate family members can attend and participate in junior fair events over Labor Day weekend, according to a news release posted to the fair’s social media page.

A waiver will be required to be signed by members and their parents, and a wristband will be required to be worn throughout the fair.

Roman confirmed that 4-H members will still have the opportunity to auction their projects.

“Their department will be run pretty close to normal but will be limited to some areas,” he said.

The 4-H team is looking at having auctions streamed online, as the junior fair will be closed to the public.

Judging and showing will continue as well.

“It’s a process we have to work our way through,” Roman said.

Fair board members and committee members will have to navigate how to handle the 4-H court, as well.

“It’s just too new since the board made the decision to downsize the fair (Monday),” he said, adding that a decision could be reached in the next 10 days.

Roman said that close to 700 booths will be impacted, and vendors will be notified by email, phone calls, text, postal mail and social media.

Some vendors are out of state, and Roman said they seem to understand the cancellation. “Everyone’s in the same predicament we are.”

One of those vendors that received word of the board’s decision is Molnar’s Concessions.

Faith McGee, co-owner of the business, said this year, the constant cancellations have been “devastating.”

“This year has been an odd, odd year,” she said.

With the loss of the Canfield Fair, McGee said the family-owned business will suffer a great loss.

Typically, the fair accounts for 40 percent of Molnar Concessions’ income. This year, they were planning on 13 stands at the fair.

Roman confirmed that deposits paid by vendors to secure their spots for this year’s fair will be refunded.

To help soften the blow that many vendors are experiencing, Roman said the fair board has organized a second Fair Food Extravaganza this weekend.

Now that the fair is not happening this year, Roman said attendance this weekend could help organizers decide if more fair food events will be hosted on the grounds.

Canceling the fair will have a large impact on the Valley, Roman said.

“Looking at financial and economic impact for the whole Valley, it’s $10 million or more,” he said, explaining that surrounding grocery stores, gas stations and hotels will feel the hit.

afox@tribtoday.com

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