• Dan Spencer

The Canfield Fair ... As The World Moves It Remains Unchanged.

I am 35 years old and currently reside in Baltimore, MD, but I make it a point to return to my hometown every year to attend the Canfield Fair. I have been going to the fair since I was a little kid. I would say that I have been there at least 20 times in my life but probably more. The great thing about the fair is that it brings an aura of consistency to people's lives. I know that labor day weekend I'm going to be at the fair petting all the animals, eating artery clogging fried foods, and for some riding the rides that will make those fried foods have a second coming! It's something to look forward to every year. It's a time for families and friends to come together and celebrate the end of summer and to get ready for fall. It's an escape from all the troubles of the world and it carries this sense of freedom with it. It reminds us that maybe the world isn't as big as we think it is. Before I talk about my experience at the fair, let me first give you a brief overview of the fair's history.


HISTORY


The Canfield Fair first began in the year of 1846. The Ohio's General Assembly passed an act called "for the encouragement of agriculture." As a result of this legislation the Mahoning County Agricultural Society was formed. Elisha Whittlesey played a large part in the creation of the fair with her speech to the Congregational Church about competitive exhibits and how they could drive up interest in industrial pursuits. Today, the Canfield Fair is the largest county fair in the state of Ohio. It's 353 acres are made up of 178 acres of midway and 175 acres of parking. There are also over 1000 concessions and 60 buildings that fill up the grounds. Now in 2019 the 173rd Canfield Fair was just completed.



ENTERTAINMENT


The fair has been known to bring top talent every year to perform at their grandstand. This ranges from great singers and musicians to top comedic talent. Some past notable talents are the Goo Goo Dolls, the Band Perry, Journey, Jeff Dunham, and Gabriel Iglesias. On top of music and comedy they have your common fair events such as tractor pulls, demolition derby's, and monster truck rally's. I have attended a couple events throughout my years of attending the fair, but I wanted to do a review on this years concert. It was Pentatonix featuring Rachael Platton.


Rachel Platten

Just to be honest right from the get go, I was not a huge Rachel Platten fan before this concert. I never really cared for "Fight Song" and would usually change the radio station if any of her other songs came on. With that being said, I was pleasantly surprised from the very start of her performance. She did a song that was uptempo and it got the crowd going. I really thought she just did piano songs and boy was I wrong. She had a great repertoire of music and even covered "Dancing On My Own" by Robyn. That was honestly my favorite song of the night. She made it her own and the arrangement was fantastic. Another thing about Rachel that was impressive was her vocals. She can actually sing! She was doing very challenging and tasteful vocal runs. They weren't over the top and they complimented the songs nicely. After the concert I have added her 3 albums to my Spotify library and so should you! Below is a link to her music.


CLICK HERE to listen to Rachel Platten.



Pentatonix

This was my first time ever seeing an acapella group live. I never really got into Glee but I absolutely love the Pitch Perfect movies! My only experience of acapella, in this form, was through watching those movies. I will say that it gave me an unrealistic expectation of what I was going to see. In the movies they are obvious playing pre-recorded music which is mixed perfectly to sound like it's a band. What I mean by that is they make it sound really big and full. Pentatonix is a 5 person group so they aren't as large as the groups in Glee and Pitch Perfect. With that being said, their sound wasn't as full. That didn't mean that they weren't amazing but I'm just pointing that out. Playing in an outdoor arena with a sound system containing large line arrays definitely let me hear acapella in a new way! The beat boxing and the bass singing vocalists really got to shine. The bass drops sounded like what we hear in pop music today and the beat boxing was thumping like we were in a club. Hats off to to Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee! Their performance over was very good. They covered pop hits from today back to their break through YouTube cover of Gotye's "Somebody I used to know". The show unfortunately got cut short in the middle due to serve weather. They left the stage with the intent of coming back on within 30 minutes but the safety crew wouldn't let them. They came out against their warning to end the show with Hallelujah. It was a great way to end the night! Below is a link to Pentatonix's music.


CLICK HERE to listen to Pentatonix.


In conclusion, my dad and I were fortunate to have gotten tickets under the grandstand as we avoided the downpour. Musically I would have to say I enjoyed Rachel Platten more than Pentatonix. Her sound was really great and having a real drummer really added to the fullness of her sound. Her up tempo songs made me really want to move and her slower piano songs made for a nice break in the mood. Even though I thought Rachel was better I don't want to take away from Pentatonix. For what they do they are the best at it. Being an acapella group at that level takes years to achieve. Would I see them again live? Probably not. Would I see Rachel again? You bet!


OUTLOOK


The fair has only continued to grow since 1846. The attendance number for 2019 was 304,462 which is almost 9000 people higher than last year. It's definitely not looking to slow down anytime soon. It's a great money maker for the community and all the companies and vendors involved. It's great for the locals and any visitors who want a relaxing vacation in the heartland of America.



CONCLUSION


I enjoyed my time at the fair this year as I always do. The fair hasn't really changed since I was kid except for bigger rides and maybe some new fried foods. It truthfully, for the most part, remains unchanged. People often ask me if that's the case why do you go? You know what you're going to get so what's the point if you've already done it. The point is that it is the same and that's what's great. No matter where I am in life, no matter where I go, I know that I can always return to the Canfield Fair every year and it will remind me of who I am and where I came from.

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