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New York State Fair Opens Amid COVID Concerns, with Measures to Ease Fears, Clean Surfaces, Prevent Spread

The New York State Fair begins Friday in Syracuse and if you find yourself questioning if you should go because of COVID-19 or Delta variant concerns, you’re not alone. The Spokesperson of the Fair says they have done their best to be relentless in sanitizing the fairgrounds - requiring masks for everyone who enters buildings - and asking the unvaccinated to wear masks everywhere. Still Dave Bullard says comments on social media are mixed.

“There’s a lot of excitement on one hand and there’s some concern on the other.  And all of these things are legitimate.  And we’ve been saying, ‘if this is not your year to come, that’s ok.  We’re 180 years old.  We’re not going anywhere; we’ll be here next year.’”

Bullard says you’ll notice that food vendors and other booths are spread out more. There are more picnic tables at Chevy Court where the Dinosaur Barbecue’s stand used to be, across from the Dairy Building. And they’re anticipating smaller concert crowds at the court because the national headliners are moving to another stage.

“Most of our local-band shows will be on there and some of the shows that we don’t think are going to draw 30-thousand people we be there.  When you move to a place that’s 5 times as large, you have a lot more space for people to spread out and space out.  The seating configuration of Chevy Park is going to be very similar to Chevy Court but with a lot more room to hang out in.  We think people will be a lot less tightly packed.”

Chevy Park is located on the west end of the Fairgrounds past the midway and left of the Exposition Center. The price tag is just over $4-million in free entertainment.

Rides are always a main attraction, especially among younger fair attendees. So, what about the cleansing of surfaces you have to hang onto?

“Now Wade Shows has been up and operating pretty much through most of the pandemic.  So, they’ve got experience that has been pretty valuable for us to lean on.  So, I think they’ve got it down.  They know what they’re doing in terms of making sure that surfaces are regularly dealt with, and I think that’s going to be a good experience.”

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The Fair is encouraging the purchase and printing of parking and advance- sale tickets online via computer or show your phone to eliminate person to person contact. However, payment via credit cards will be available. Otherwise, cash can be used for all other purchases once inside the Fair.

You can also get vaccinated for COVID-19 at the Art and Home Center.

“Whether it’s a first shot, and you get the single shot (Johnson and Johnson vaccine), or you need the second shot of Pfizer to finish up, you can get that here for free.  We’ve had to eliminate some programming for the year.  So, the quilts that you would normally see, the beautiful handmade quilts, they’ll be back in 2022.  But for this year the Martha Eddy Room is in use as a vaccination center.”  

Rapid COVID testing will also be available and contact tracing will occur, if needed. The Fair runs for 18 days through Labor Day.

John Smith has been waking up WAER listeners for a long time as our Local Co-Host of Morning Edition with timely news and information, working alongside student Sportscasters from the Newhouse School.