Day 1 of the 171st Canfield Fair doesn’t disappoint

The 171st year of the Canfield Fair began on Wednesday

Melissa Richardson's everything elephant ear at the Canfield Fair

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Wednesday was Day One of the Canfield Fair, complete with cheerleading demonstrations, a record-breaking pumpkin, and a new food stand that’s sure to whet anyone’s appetite.

This Year’s Newest Eats

This is a big week, from 4-H, to all the people who entered items for judging, to those providing rides and games, and — of course — all of the food vendors.

One stand has wheeled onto the fairgrounds for the very first time.

Melissa Richardson has a famous name and, yes, she’s related to the Richardson Fries family. But this is her first time running the show at the fair.

“Been coming here since I’ve been a child and so it’s really like a dream to set up my food stand here. I mean, we’re beyond excited,” she said.

Her stand is right along Bishop Street. She’s had the trailer for ten years but finally got a pass for the fair.

Richardson has high expectations.

“I have very high expectations. We have a lot different products that the Valley hasn’t seen before,” she said.

The table in front of her truck is dominated by an everything elephant ear — a $20 treat that easily feeds four.

There are also regular elephant ears, funnel cakes, cupcakes, Twinkies, marshmallows, and Oreos — all of which are fried and can be topped with fruit, chocolate syrup, and powdered sugar.

“People don’t want the same old, same old. Sometimes, I mean, that’s good but people want to try different, new, crazy things,” Richardson said.

Her food will be featured in the fall on Food Network’s Carnival Eats but right now, she’s concentrating on the Canfield Fair.

“My heart is pounding being here. There’s no words to describe being at the Canfield Fair,” Richardson said.

She said fried Oreos have already been big sellers and that Ohioans and Pennsylvanians love junk food. In the south, she said they love elephant ears with butter and in North Carolina, they love honey on everything.

Video: Bessemer man’s huge pumpkin breaks records

Video: Poland United Methodist’s famous apple dumplings

It’s the Great Pumpkin

The Canfield Fair has been held 171 times — that’s a long history.

Nobody will forget the crowds last year for now President Donald Trump and then Vice President Joe Biden. But this year, there’s a record-setting performance that everyone can see.

It’s large and orange and you can’t miss it. You can’t carry it either.

Jerry Snyder’s pumpkin is the largest ever grown for the fair at 1,512 pounds. It’s the third straight year the Bessemer man has had the largest pumpkin at the Canfield Fair.

Four-time Canfield Fair pumpkin king Alan Gibson commended him.

“It was a fairly good growing year. It was a little too wet to start but just good seeds, good soil. Jerry has very good drainage. He’s an avid gardener, he grows beautiful flowers, vegetables. He’s just a good gardener,” Gibson said.

He said taking on a task like growing the biggest pumpkin takes dedication and a little bit of luck.

“You have to have good gardening skills. Growing giant pumpkins is probably the hardest thing to grow there is. If you can grow these, you can grow tomatoes and green beans but that’s too easy.”

The giant pumpkin weigh-in is on October 15. Gibson expects a 2,000-pound pumpkin there, adding 300 to 400 pounds in the next six weeks.

The top pumpkin in the 1960s was in the 100-pound range. By 1991, the biggest was over 500 pounds. In 2008, a pumpkin weighed in at over 1,000 pounds for the first time.

Photos: Canfield Fair 2017

Important Canfield Fair links

View another guide:

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

Go back to the Canfield Fair Digital Guide

View interactive radar on

Canfield Fair 2017 map
Map of the 2017 Canfield Fair (click to enlarge)


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