After a longer-than-normal New York State Fair, many people were left wondering what this would mean for the Fair in the future.
Governor Kathy Hochul announced that the Great New York State Fair will return in 2022 as a 13-day event, running from Wednesday, August 24 to Labor Day, Monday, September 5. The return to a 13-day event will allow for greater participation of fairgoers and vendors at not only the New York State Fair, but also at a number of the State’s county fairs that had coinciding schedules.
The Governor also directed a review to assess support, growth and revitalization opportunities for all fairs in New York as the State moves into the next fair season. Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball will work with county fairs to evaluate ways to increase marketing and promotion of county fairs, as well as opportunities to improve youth and agricultural programming initiatives at all fairs statewide, including the State Fair. The review will also examine the State Fair’s smoking policy, considering fairgoer feedback and experience.
“The Great New York State Fair is a celebration of this exciting place we all call home, and this year’s Fair was no different, delivering a safe and fun event for all,” Governor Hochul said. “Returning to a 13-day schedule next year ensures that fairgoers can once again experience all of their favorite shows, exhibits, vendors, and attractions around the New York State Fair while also supporting greater coordination with our county and youth fairs. This will provide an increased economic benefit to more communities and encourage New Yorkers to experience the best of agriculture and entertainment across the State. We are ready to help and support all fairs, and to do what’s best for everyone to enjoy them.”
The 180-year-old State Fair has lengthened steadily over the last century, stretching back further into August from its traditional final day on Labor Day. The 13-day Fair has been a cornerstone of the Fair’s recent revitalization, which has led to increased growth and fairgoer satisfaction.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “This year’s State Fair safely showcased the best of what New York State has to offer, and felt extra special after so much time away. As we begin to plan for next year, we are excited about the opportunity to enhance our programming, particularly as we look at agricultural and youth activities, and to work with our county fairs to coordinate on some of these initiatives. I am already looking forward to the return of the 2022 Great New York State Fair.”
Fair Director Troy Waffner said, “I am proud of our accomplishments for the 2021 Fair, which successfully brought back family fun, traditions, and the connections we had all missed during 2020. With this return to a 13-day Fair, we will have additional capacity to boost programming for fairgoers and support our vendors, who are the backbone of our Fair. This is a decision that will allow us to concentrate our resources and create for 2022 the best Fair possible.”
Senator John W. Mannion said, “As the showcase and crown jewel for New York agriculture and the state’s cultural heritage, the Fair needs to stand alone. For decades, Central New York job seekers planned summers around two weeks of work at the Fair. It is clear that a return to a traditional Fair schedule is in the best interest of all stakeholders. I commend Governor Hochul for her commitment to a shorter and better quality Fair and for making this decision well ahead of next year.”
Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “For well over a century, the State Fair has served as a celebration of New York agriculture, and we want that tradition to continue with strength. Bringing the State Fair back to 13-days is the right adjustment to ensure our 4-H students, livestock exhibitors, and small business vendors can all participate without competing with the schedules of their own hometown fairs, which are critical economic drivers for rural communities. Every day spent at the Fair should be a quality experience for fairgoers who come to see New York’s rich agricultural industry on full display. I am grateful to Governor Hochul for adapting the Fair to ensure the best experience possible and look forward to visiting in 2022.”
Assemblymember William Magnarelli said, “The Great New York State Fair is traditionally the end of summer in Syracuse. While we cherish and enjoy the entertainment, food and variety of attractions associated with the annual Fair, the 18-day Fair created stress for venders and farmers, interfered with other county fairs and, in the end, was simply not needed. We look forward to increasing attendance with the return to the 13-day Fair.”
Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “The Great NYS Fair is a wonderful showcase for our state, especially for NY food and agriculture. I’m glad to hear that the Fair will return to its 13 day format. This will ensure a higher quality experience for everyone involved including exhibitors like 4-H. I look forward to enjoying the Fair next year as we continue a rich tradition begun in 1841.”
Onondaga County Executive J.Ryan McMahon, II said, “The Great New York State Fair is an important part of our county’s economic and cultural life. At the same time, it is part of a wider system of fairs and festivals that provide opportunities all across the state. I support returning the Fair to 13 days because it will provide the widest benefit for all and allow the Fair to focus on quality.”
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, “I commend Fair Director Waffner and his team for their fortitude in delivering a State Fair this year. They managed the longest Fair ever while implementing safety measures to guard against COVID-19,” said Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “As soon as they are done cleaning up and breaking down from this year’s event, I know Troy and his team will be planning for next year. I think Governor Hochul is making the right call in returning to a 13-day program. That’s a format that works to create plenty of opportunities for people to attend and enjoy the best experience.”
Jason Lawrence of the Chenango County Fair Board of Directors and President of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs, said, “The state Association of Agricultural Fairs applauds Governor Hochul for this decision. It reduces conflicts among fairs and ensures that fairs can have access to the widest assortment of vendors. It will also allow agricultural exhibitors, especially youth exhibitors, to be part of both their home county’s fair and the State Fair.”
New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “The state and county fairs are an important part of the rural experience in New York State, especially providing our youth with opportunities to grow and learn through educational programming and the raising of livestock. We commend Governor Hochul for looking for ways to enhance the learning that takes place on and off the farm, better connecting fairgoers with agriculture,”
Cameron Murray of Chester’s Gators & Taters said, “I’m thrilled about the change back to 13 days. This gives my employees, myself and my company a chance to participate in two of the greatest fairs in the nation without having to split up our operation or choosing one New York fair over another.”
Grazi Zazzara of Paradise Companies, operators of Villa Pizze Fritte and other Fair stands, said, “The Great New York State Fair is at its greatest when it’s 13 days long. I’m happy to see the new administration putting quality over quantity. It will be better for everyone and the Fair will still be the state’s biggest and best summer festival.”
Kevin Henry of Henry’s Hen House said, “This is the right thing to do. We can make in 13 days what we make in 18 days. This will allow us to manage our businesses better and do the best job possible for fairgoers.”
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