Whether in the market for fresh food, fast cars or free rides, the Glenn Christian Ox Roast offers plenty of variety for area residents to close out the summer in style.
A large crowd braved humid conditions Sunday to take part in the event's final day of activities at the Trumbull County fairgrounds.
Jim Parise of Niles, left, owner of the 1932 Ford Deuce Coupe, and Jim Gibson of Cortland discuss the engine of the car at the Glenn Christian Ox Roast on Saturday afternoon at the Trumbull County fairgrounds. Photo by R. Michael Semple
Barbara Ames of Champion was among the thousands of people who wandered through the line of vendors in the Ox Roast's marketplace.
"I've been coming to this for probably eight years," Ames said. " It's just a nice affair. Everything is free, and it is nice for the kids and people with grandkids."
Show cars and tractors lined the walkway in the fairgrounds, where car enthusiasts could be found chatting up owners of rare vehicles.
Cortland resident Roger Perkins guided his grandchildren through the exhibit, pointing out his favorites.
"I really enjoy walking through the cars and talking to people," Perkins said. "You can spend the whole day without spending a lot of money."
The Ox Roast offers the public free admission, free parking, food, rides and plenty of free entertainment. Among the event's biggest draws were Friday's car cruise, Saturday's bands and deejays and Sunday's demolition derby and fireworks.
Champion's Marcy Chismar collected money from more than 100 local businesses to help pay for the Ox Roast.
"There are a lot of people who can't afford to go to the Canfield Fair or any other fair or amusement parks," Chismar said. "We're providing all of that for them at no cost. People look forward to this all year."
It is estimated that more than 30,000 people attended this year's event, which is a bigger crowd than last year.
"There has been a very nice turnout by the public," Chismar said. "We've sold almost all the T-shirts and that help pay for the show. We've had a great response to T-shirt sales."
While most of the event is free, some vendors help raise money for local charities at the Ox Roast. The Cortland Lions Club helps fund eyeglasses and other necessities for children by selling french fries to hungry customers.
Cortland's Becky and Pete Bucco manned the stand while also showing off their 1966 Ford Mustang in the show car area.
"We're sort of dual purpose," Becky Bucco laughed. "We started with Glenn Christian back when it was over at the church. We've been doing it for years."
Meanwhile, the Warren Family Mission offered children free face painting during the three-day event. Michelle Beauchene, director of development at the mission, said the group tries to come up with unique ideas for the Ox Roast each year.
"We've probably painted about 800 faces for the children or more. We're still going," Beauchene said Sunday evening.
"I think that's very important in this day and age. When you take your child to a fair it costs $7 a person just to get in. A lot of people can't afford that. Kids are with their parents, people are laughing and everyone is having a good time. That's why we support it. We're all about families," she continued.