One of America’s favorite summer pastimes is going to the county fair, according to Solon resident Joanne Farinacci.
“Fairs are about American agriculture and part of American history,” she said. “Families that bring their produce and their animals flock to the county fair with pride. One of my favorite parts besides the animals is the crafts the women bring in, the quilts and baked goods. Their work takes tremendous dedication.”
Her own memories of attending the Canfield Fair while growing up in New Middletown, near Youngstown, abound. “We’d get up at 6 and have a quick breakfast,” she said. “Mom worked at the church tent. My brother and I spent the whole day at the fair. Businesses in town would have signs that they were closed for the fair. After the fair ended on Labor Day, farmers and participants would pack up Tuesday to go home, so school would not start until Wednesday.”
The fair, presented by the Mahoning County Agricultural and Horticultural Society, celebrated its 162nd year last summer, from Aug. 27 through Labor Day, Sept. 1.
When their three daughters, Natalie, Emily and Leslie, were growing up, Mrs. Farinacci continued the tradition of attending the Canfield Fair.
“I like being at the fair,” said Mrs. Farinacci, who moved to Solon with her husband, Dr. John Farinacci, 24 years ago. “It’s just fun. Every time the fair ended, we’d be blue it was over. You had to wait another year to go to the fair.”
That was until Mrs. Farinacci designed and produced a board game that recreates much of the fun and entertainment a county fair provides. After two years of working on design and production, she sold her first 100 copies of the County Fair Game at the Great Geauga County Fair in Burton last summer. The game is now being sold at Borders Books in Solon and Mentor and Hershberger Housewares, an Amish department store in Middlefield, as well as by mail order.
With $85 of play money, players place their markers in the parking lot, enter the ticket gate and roll the die. Like the real fair attendees, they have multiple choices of what to do next. Should they buy cotton candy, shop for a tractor or try to win a best-of-show ribbon for harness racing at the grandstand? Should they take a photo at the top of the Ferris wheel or win a badge for joining the fall choir or finding their lost brother?