Damp Weather to Open New York State Fair Doesn't Drown Attendance or Progress

Aug 21, 2019

A damp opening Day for the 2019 New York State Fair
Credit John Smith/WAER News

The weather conditions might have put a damper on the first day of the New York State Fair in Syracuse.  However fairgoers still seemed to be finding their own fun … mainly inside. The Governor and other state officials also made some announcements. 

As the mostly empty midway indicated, fairgoers must be inside. The Empire Expo Center had the I Love New York Tourism displays and a youth soccer game on turf.  That’s where I caught up with Equestrian Mary Schroeder and her daughter came from Sanborn, New York to compete with their seven miniature horses.  They won several ribbons and they planned to spend the rest of the day with friends just enjoying the Fair.

Rain did keep attendance at midway rides slow for the first part of the day.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

We saw the butter sculpture; that’s always one of our favorites.  And also got our 25-cent milk; can’t pass up chocolate milk,” said Mary Schroeder.”

“We talked to our Pack-out showing friends.  The Pack-out program they have to carry a pack on their back.  They go out with stuff you’d go hiking with.  They do an obstacle course with them and they also do showmanship with them, which is how well you can show your animal,” added her daughter.

And Governor Cuomo was there to make an announcement on Governor’s Day, regarding a new way to visit.

“We partnered with Amtrak.  You can get on a train in Albany or Buffalo.  It’s a beautiful ride, Taste of New York products on the way.  And if you pay for the Amtrak Train; which you have to pay, otherwise you don’t get on (laugher), you get free admission to the fair.  So I’m here on free admission today and I’m loving it.”

Some people stayed inside the new Exposition Center while the wet weather continued.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

Cuomo and his delegation traveled from Albany by train to the fairgrounds.

And one more big announcement.  In addition to being the oldest Fair in the nation, it’s going to strive to be the greenest.  Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball says state policies make New York a leader in addressing climate change and waste, and the fairgrounds will follow suit.

“So I’m happy to say, the State Fair, under its 2023 initiative ‘Green Fair’ will begin an aggressive project to become energy self-sufficient, eliminate waste and recycle … every available item to create the greenest fair in the US.”

He explains, that will include adding solar panels and wind power to the property.  The goal will be to reduce to ‘zero’ the use of fossil fuel for energy.  The fair will also add an Environmental Stewardship Pavilion, which will be energy independent from the start, but also have tips for residents on reducing energy.  And finally, one current exhibit shows off new electric cars, along with the state’s commitment to expanding charging availability. 

A big change this year is that CENTRO Park N Ride buses won’t drop you off at the main entrance.  However, you can park in the Orange Lot and and still take a shuttles to the main gate.   Troopers remind fairgoers walking to the main gate should never walk in the traffic circle, even if it appears to be clear.  That’s what the sidewalk is for.