The Canfield Fair: It’s in the blood

CANFIELD, Ohio — The third generation of a family is joining the Canfield Fair board of directors.

The family serving on the board started with the former Farm and Dairy editor, Elden Groves. When Groves decided to retire from the board, his daughter, Kathy Bennett, took a seat. Bennett was the first and, to date, only woman to have served on the board of directors.

“I always liked the fair and knew it well. I just wanted to be involved and help,” said Bennett. She added she started attending the fair as a little girl showing her family’s Jersey cattle at the fair.

Next generation

After 20 years of service, Bennett handed in her letter of resignation in January.
Now, her daughter will be the second woman to serve on the board of directors. Lisa Toy was appointed by the board Feb. 12.

“What an incredible honor,” said Toy about her opportunity to serve on the board.

4-H started it all

Toy, like her mother, said 4-H got her interested in the fair when she was young.

“That’s what you did in my family. It’s what you did in this area. You went to the Canfield Fair,” said Toy.

And, in the case of mother and daughter even after they were too old to show in 4-H, both knew where they would be when it came to the month of August.

“I didn’t have to think twice. I always knew where I would be at the end of August,” said Bennett.

Toy said she wouldn’t know what to do during August if it wasn’t for the Canfield Fair. She said it forces her to be organized because she is a high school English teacher in the South Range Local School District in southern Mahoning County. Typically, South Range schools start the Wednesday after Labor Day, which means she has to be ready to go right after the fair is over.

In the blood

Bennett and Toy agree that once the “fair gets in your blood,” it doesn’t just disappear — meaning that just because Bennett won’t have fair responsibilities doesn’t mean she won’t be a part of it.

“I still won’t be making any plans for the end of August, but now I can relax and people watch. I think they will still let me in,” Bennett said.

Arts and crafts

Bennett served on the board of directors in charge of the floral, arts and crafts and the fine arts buildings, which includes approximately 3,000 entries per year. In addition, every director serves on two or three committees.

“I’ll miss it, but I’ll still be there,” Bennett said.
Toy has been following in her mom’s footsteps and has been in charge of the arts and crafts building for the past five years.

“I’m excited about her taking over. She is very organized. She was raised with it and is familiar with most areas of the fair,” said Bennett.

Transition

Toy also says she has learned a lot about people from working in the arts and crafts building and gained many lasting friendships. She said this change in leadership will be a seamless transition for everyone involved in those buildings. She adds that it helps that she knows the people involved in the arts and crafts, floral and fine arts building already, so that will help the change move along.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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