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New York State Fair To Return This Year, But Likely With Capacity Restrictions, Safety Measures

WAER file photo

It’s official…the New York State Fair will return this year, though it won’t be quite the same as it was before the pandemic.  Governor Cuomo made the announcement at the fairgrounds Monday.  He’s calling it a “Reimagined” fair that will operate as four concurrent festivals:  Food and Beverage, concerts, amusements, and agriculture. 

Cuomo says this will make it easier to limit daily admission to 50 percent and meet other operating guidelines.

"They will be revised between now and August.  If things keep going the way they're going, they'll be revised up; more capacity, more flexibility.   If we keep that COVID positivity doing down and vaccination rate going up, you'll see more and more economic activity, and you'll see that here at the state fair, also."

As of now, the fairgrounds buildings will not be open to the general public, with the exception of restrooms.  And, visitors will be required to observe social distancing and wear masks, except when eating or drinking.  Those buying food and beverages will be asked to sit at tables or dining spaces.  Proof of vaccination will not be required for entry.  Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball says while last year’s fair was cancelled, agriculture was not.  He looks forward to re-introducing New Yorkers to the farmers and their essential role in the food supply chain and the state’s economy.

"We'll be able to connect those dots again, welcoming customers back to the New York State Fair.  I expect this year the fair will have a very special spirit about it.  We can look forward to the sights, the smells, the sounds, and the tastes once again of the New York Fair."

Admission is $3 per person, and children under 12 will be free.  Tickets will be sold for each of the outdoor areas so visitors can plan accordingly.  The fair will run for 18 days…August 20th through Labor Day, September 6th

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at