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People already are camping out at the Canfield Fairgrounds waiting for the 167th Canfield Fair to get under way.
This year, campground manager Clyde Martz expects to fill more than 680 campsites.
“We’re expecting a pretty big year this year because the weather is really, really good compared to years in the past,” Martz said.
He said on Monday afternoon they were about 80 percent full and expected the rest of the campers to show up later Monday and Tuesday, just in time for the gates to open on Wednesday.
“A lot of people are just anxious to see one another from one year to the next. I mean, they made friendships out here. We’ve got people in sites out here that have probably been here for 40 years,” Martz said.
For many of the campers, it’s an annual tradition.
“I”ve been camping out here almost 30 years. My wife’s got about 45,” said Richard Ayers of New Middletown. “Each year, there’s something that catches your eye that you haven’t seen before. That makes it special.”
“I’ve been camping out here since ’78,” said Jerry Evans of Leetonia. “I know we’re packed in here like sardines, but we still have fun. You smell the food and stuff like that, it’s great.”
Evans got his sister Marilyn Mannion of New Middletown hooked about 20 years ago and in that time, they’ve created an extended family with their neighbors.
“It’s good to see all of them coming and how much the kids have grown and it’s like another family,” Mannion said.
Depending on the size of the campsite and if it has access to electricity, campers can pay between $70 and $110 to stay for the week.
“You can’t go anywhere for this price and have this much excitement and enjoyment,” Ayers said.
Anyone who wants to start their own tradition and camp at the fairgrounds should plan a year in advance. Reservation slips are available at the fair office and managers start confirming reservations in the spring.