Canfield Fair raising $4.5 million for coliseum, expo center

The Canfield Fair has been planning this expansion for two years, especially considering the growth of the Junior Fair program

Canfield Fair foundation

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Canfield Fair Foundation and Board of Directors are launching a $4.5 million, five-year capital campaign to raise funds for new facilities.

The Canfield Fair plans to construct a 45,000 square-foot coliseum and exposition center to be used year-round.

Dave Dickey, vice president of the Canfield Fair Board of Directors, said not many people are aware the fairgrounds are used for about 40 weeks out of the year for community and special events.

“A new, year-round facility will greatly increase our ability to serve those needs, as well as provide better space for our Junior Fair members.”

The Canfield Fair has been planning this expansion for two years.

“Our Junior Fair has really outgrown its house,” said Andy Frost, president of the Canfield Fair Board of Directors.

The board knew 4H was popular and growing at the fair, but was told it would eventually get smaller.

“We were wrong,” Dickey said.

The current Junior Fair coliseum is 90 by 100 feet and the new facility will be 150 by 300 feet.

It will be Junior Fair’s new home, with additional livestock buildings and barns. The campaign accounts for an additional $500,000 estimated in infrastructure improvements needed to make these buildings a reality.

“It was a breath of fresh air to see that they were kind of going to be making a few improvements. We do have one of the oldest county fairs in the State of Ohio,” said Russell Seymour, a Springfield High School senior involved in 4H.

Junior Fair will switch places with the antique tractor area on the fairgrounds.

“It’s a good investment, it’s for our youth. Everything about the fair revolves around youth,” said J. Matthew Hughes, involved in funding for the fair.

An event center is also part of the plan — something the community can use throughout the year.

“Pre-engineered steel building that will function every day of the year for the kids, for the community,” Hughes said. “This is going to be a building that’s going to be available for rent. We haven’t set any rent yet but I have encouraged them if the community is going to help you pay for this, this building, make sure that this building is affordable.”

The project will include new learning centers, bathrooms, showers, and a catering kitchen as well.

The Canfield Fair Board made the first donation toward the private sector campaign — $400,000.

“We, as a board, are deeply invested in the success of not only this campaign but the fairgrounds as a whole. To show our commitment to this cause, we felt it was only right to be the first pledge to the capital campaign,” Frost said.

Now the board is asking for the public’s help to pay for the project.

“We can’t get to our goal without $20, $50, $100, $500, $1,000, $5,000 gifts. All gifts are welcome and more importantly than that, all gifts are needed,” Hughes said.

There will be naming opportunities.

The plan is to raise $900,000 each year for the next five years. There are around $600,000 in pledges so far this year.

Construction will start a few weeks after this year’s fair is over and should take seven to nine months to complete.

“It would be open and available for the 2018 fair,” Hughes said.

For more information on the campaign or to make a donation, visit its designated section on the Canfield Fair’s website.


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