The year 1846 is when it all started —the year in which the organization of the Mahoning County Agricultural Society took place. If it wasn’t for Elisha Whittlesey addressing the Congregational Church on the subject of “Competitive Exhibitions as a Means of Awakening More Active Interest in All Industrial Pursuits,” there probably would not be a Canfield Fair. And since 1846, the Canfield Fair has only continued to grow into the beloved summer tradition that it is for the residents of the Valley and beyond. Take a look at the highlights of 171 years of the Canfield Fair.
In 1846 Canfield hosted its first Fair. The first year the Fair took place within the fledgling fair grounds, it boasted a wide array of animals and other interesting things, like: 250 oxen, 51 full blooded cattle, 62 graded cattle, 44 draft horses, 64 saddle and carriage horses, 37 sheep and..Read More
“Juvenile Fair” had its first showing
Late 1860s – Fairground enlarged, now 14 acres. Attendance of fair reached record 15,000 attendees
At the turn of the century in the early 1900’s, the grounds expanded 5 acres to park newly popularized automobiles.
The grounds were improved upon again in 1913 for the growing motorcycle population.
In 1935, the Fairgrounds grew to 100 acres and the horse-pulling contest held in the grandstands was re-named the “Pig Iron Derby”.
The Canfield Fair held a 10 day celebration for its centennial and set a then-record for attendance at 142,685
By 1950, it was decided that the many roads should be named, and so were called after the many townships in Mahoning County.
Shuttle service and information booths found their place in the Fairgrounds starting in 1951.
Miss Grace Williams became the Executive Director of the Fair Board in 1955, and was thus one of few women in the country to hold such an office. She held the position until 1985.
Live musical acts performed at the Canfield Fair for the first time
The Rock was brought in
In 1962 Miss Grace Williams, the Executive Director of the Fair Board, instated the fair’s enduring slogan : “Something to Crow About”
The Tractor Pulling Contest began in 1971, and tickets are still bought for this event every Friday of the Fair.
The Canfield Fair was one of two fairs in the nation to be featured on NBC’s Today Show in 1973.
The Carriage Museum was added to the Fairgrounds in 1975, and is still a popular attraction for goers every year.
1990 saw a fire in the Hay and Grain building, which was re-built by fair time bigger than before. The Mahoning Shenango Kennel Club also decided to hold their annual Dog Show in the Fairgrounds, where it is still held today.
Willard Scott opened the Fair live in NBC in 1991.
The Fair went into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1996 with 72,000 patrons “flapping their wings” in the Chicken Dance.
From the Lennon Sisters in 1956 to The Band Perry in 2015, the top musicians and entertainment acts have been coming to the Canfield Fair since 1956 and have made a presence every year since 1968. Here, you can see the anthology of singers and comedians through the history of the Fair. From the hilarious puppets of Jeff Dunham, to the famous Wayne Newton, and Journey’s “ Don’t Stop Believin’” it can all be found at some point in the Canfield Fair’s records.
The Lennon Sisters
The Lennon Sisters
Anita Bryant; Bobby Vinton
Vogues; Jimmy Dean; Bobby & Cissy; Bobby Vinton
Pat Boone; Dottie West; Maureen McGovern; Leroy Vandyke; Paul Lennon; John Davidson; James Darren
Boots Randolph; Bobby Goldsboro; Chet Adkins; Floyd Cramer
Doc Severnson; Lynn Anderson
Bobby Vinton; Roy Clark
Tony Orlando; Mac Davis
Tanya Tucker; Jim Stafford; Charlie Pride
Jim Nabors; Kelly Monteith
Johnny Cash; Donna Fargo; Mel Tillis
The Letterman; Bob Hope; Neal Sedaka
Kenny Rogers; The Letterman; Bob Hope
Ray Stevens; Helen Reddy; The Spinners; Crystal Gayle
Waylon Jennings; Gatlin Brothers; Jerry Reed
The Beach Boys; Osmond Brothers
Eddie Rabbit; T.G. Sheppard; Engelbert Humperdink
Willie Nelson; The Beach Boys
Willie Nelson; Red Skelton; Golden Boys of Bandstand