SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Get ready for a longer New York State Fair this summer. This year’s state fair will be extended from 13 to 18 days. When Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the proposal as part of his annual budget message this week, Fair Director Troy Waffner was already at work.
“We immediately put in offers on four or five acts for the ten spaces we have to fill on Chevy Court, and the five spaces we’re going to have to fill on the Experience Stage,” he said.
The next step, according to Waffner, is outreach to the hundreds of vendors that set up at the fair. Some may have conflicts with other events, but he said they’ll work with them on a case by case basis. He expects the most difficult part of expanding will be on the agricultural end of things.
“We rotate animals out anyway. But it’s making sure all animals are represented in competitions on the fairgrounds that have always been here.”
There will be new features. Waffner envisions sensory friendly days. They may program a health care worker or school employee day.
Cuomo announced the plan to extend the fair in his proposed budget, includes $4.9 million to help get things rolling. State lawmakers will vote on the funding, but whatever they do, it won’t get in the way of the fair’s new 18-day run.
“It’s going to start on Friday, August 21st, gates open at 8:00 a.m., buildings open at 10:00 a.m., and it’ll run through Labor Day,” Waffner said.
It won’t be the longest state fair in the nation. The Texas and Arizona state fairs are each 24 days. But the extra days will surely set a new attendance record at the fair. The current record was set last year, when 1,329,275 visited the fair.
Waffner believes these extra days should make the New York fair one of the top five attendance-wise in the country.
“This will certainly help us grow the fair, draw attendees, help us grow the program and really make a better fair experience for everyone,” he said.