Penguins Finish Welcome Week at the Canfield Fair

By Frances Clause

Youngstown State University moved the fun of Welcome Week activities to the Canfield Fair with a student pep rally on Aug. 31. The fair brought families, friends and YSU spirit to its 350 acres from Aug. 29 to Sept. 3.

Members from the YSU Marching Pride performed at the pep rally to celebrate YSU Day. Jenna Provino, a junior music education major, said playing at the fair showcased the band’s spirit toward the university.

“Seeing so many other students made me feel like more of them are getting excited for their college experience,” she said. “The atmosphere felt energizing and unifying.”

The fair reached its 172nd year, and Provino said she was happy to experience it with the other Marching Pride members.

“The band represents YSU in a professional yet fun way,” Provino said. “I’m happy I could celebrate 51 years of YSU being a state university at the biggest county fair in Ohio.”

Penguin pride was not the only thing that caught the eyes of visitors at the Canfield Fair. George Roman, director of concessions and grandstands, said the demolition derby and the truck and tractor pull were popular.

“The new and exciting rides are what really grabbed the attention of fair-goers, though,” he said.

The new rides included a 120-foot Ferris wheel and the first adult roller coaster on the fairgrounds in years. Reithoffer Shows, Inc. purchased the coaster for $1 million.

“Reithoffer is a new carnival ride company at the Canfield Fair this year,” Roman said. “[The company] promised a selection of fantastic rides and that promise was certainly fulfilled.”

Katelynn Socha, a freshman pre-nursing major at YSU, said she was impressed with the new rides at the fairgrounds.

“My family comes every year,” she said. “I didn’t think the rides could get any better, but they do every time I visit.”

Socha’s said her favorite ride was the Dutch Wheel, and she loves being able to see the whole fair from the top of the Ferris wheel.

“It’s the best to ride at night because everything looks beautiful lighting up,” Socha said.

The Canfield Fair’s summer tradition continued with local talent in the fine arts building. Elizabeth Kalka, 18, said seeing the creations of artists her age inspired her to continue sketching.

“I’m from Butler, Pennsylvania, but making the drive to the Canfield Fair is worth it, even if it’s just to look at the artwork,” she said. “Seeing others’ work fuels my own ideas, and I hope to submit some of my pieces for next year’s fair.”

Kalka’s favorite category to view is the photography section. She said she’s not a photographer herself, but the power an image can send the audience is fascinating to her.

“Some people may think photography is easier than other mediums of art, but the same amount of effort is needed to capture the perfect shot,” Kalka said.

Kalka encouraged young artists to continue pursuing their passion. She said as an artist, one needs to put their name out there to get noticed.

“I find the Canfield Fair to be the perfect opportunity to spread the importance of art and supporting local creators,” Kalka said.

The fair festivities ended on Labor Day with the country singer Toby Keith headlining in the grandstand as part of his Should’ve Been a Cowboy XXV tour. The “Red Solo Cup” artist filled up the venue with about 8,000 concert-goers.