The Office of the Governor of the State of New York

08/21/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 08/21/2019 14:55

Great New York State Fair

2019 Fair Highlights

The 2019 Fair will feature a host of new events and activities, part of the annual effort to refresh the Fair and embrace new ideas. Major new promotional events include Christmas In August, featuring an all-day visit from Santa Claus and live reindeer, a display of antique sleighs, and a fun afternoon skills competition for fairgoers in Santa suits. The day ends with the screening of the movie 'Elf' in the Expo Center. The new Comic Con Day at the Fair celebrates popular culture with $1 admission for people who come in full costumes, training in the use of the kind of laser swords seen in movies such as 'Star Wars,' appearances from Bumblebee from the Transformers movies and the Hulkbuster from Marvel movies and comics. A special Marvel Spider-Man comic with a custom front cover showing the webslinging superhero soaring over a crowd in front of the Expo Center, will be on sale during the event.

The Fair's new Movie Nights at the Expo features seven evenings of family-friendly movies, such as 'Avengers: Endgame.' Standup Paddleboard Yoga, taking place on the weekends at the Fair, offers a fun learning challenge for experienced yoga practitioners. A turf field installed in the Expo Center will host youth and adult soccer, kickball, bocce, lacrosse, field hockey and flag football tournaments and, when no tournaments are scheduled, fairgoers will be able to play large-sized lawn games such as Connect Four, yard pond, hula hoops and more. The new Biker Appreciation Day offers free motorcycle parking and $1 admission for those with a valid motorcycle license. The Fair continues to offer more free and low-cost attendance days and promotions than any major fair in the nation.

Diversity will continue to be celebrated at the Fair. The Fair's annual Pride Day celebration features a keynote address from Martin Davis, a participant in the Stonewall Riots that marked the beginning of a long fight to end laws discriminating on the basis ofsexual orientation. The Fair was the first state fair in the nation to hold an official Pride Day. Women's Day at the Fair this year will celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will keynote the annual luncheon and the day will feature $1 admission for all women. Latino Village Weekend, a celebration of Latino music, food and culture, will expand to four days, August 30 to September 2, and move to a new home near the Youth Building. The music festival FunkFest will expand to two days at the New York Experience Stage. The new first day is called WorldBeat and will offer music from around the world, while the traditional FunkFest day focuses on classic soul, funk and R&B, highlighted by appearances from 70s and 80s hitmaking bands Raydiofeaturing Arnell Carmichael, and Lakeside featuring Capt. Mark Wood. The Fair's main stage, Chevy Court, will host its first-ever Spanish-language performer, the Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Farruko.

Chevy Court and the Experience Stage make up the Chevrolet Music Festival, one of the best free music festivals at any fair in the nation. Performers scheduled for free shows on those stages include Bad Company, Lindsey Stirling, Midland, the Mavericks, Rick Springfield, Gavin DeGraw, Ice Cube and more. Full schedules can be found here.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, 'The Great New York State Fair showcases the best of our state, and the record numbers of visitors who attend each summer also support local jobs and businesses, which are vital to sustaining the region's year-round economic growth.'

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, 'A Great New York State Fair getaway is a fun grand finale to any family's summer, with spectacular rides, animals, live performances, food and craft beverages. A trip to the region is sure to create memories that will last a lifetime.'

Fair Director Troy Waffner said, 'We are proud to kick off the 2019 Great New York State Fair and celebrate, for the 172nd year, all of the great things about New York-its innovation, its culture, its diversity and so much more. We continue to grow and get better and better every year, thanks to the Governor's historic investment in the grounds. We look forward to another banner year with amazing concerts, food, entertainment and several new special events for our fairgoers that have definitely been worth waiting for!'

Department of Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, 'As the nation's first Fair, the Great New York State Fair has held true to its tradition of promoting agriculture and has grown with so much great entertainment, rides, music and food that continues to be the hallmark of this event that keeps families coming back year after year. With the Governor's vision for a reenergized Fair, we have maintained those traditions but have been able to take tremendous steps forward, with expanded programming and continued investment in infrastructure that make our Fair shine. We encourage everyone to come spend time at the Fair and see the very best of New York on display.'

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, 'The Great New York State Fair is a celebration of everything our state has to offer, and that includes everything from Free Family Fishing on August 22 and 24, to the Governor's efforts to protect our environment and our communities from the threat of climate change. Plans to green the Fair by increasing recycling and making the Fair energy efficient perfectly complement New York's nation-leading goals to reduce climate pollution and tap into renewable energy sources.'

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, 'The Great New York State Fair is a time-honored tradition that attracts thousands of families from near and far to Central New York each year and Governor Cuomo's 'GreenFair' plan is an opportunity for those attending the Fair to see the state's nation-leading sustainability efforts in action. Transitioning the State Fair to renewable energy sources like solar and wind is the latest example, under the Governor's leadership, of projects going green that will further protect our environment and reduce emissions improving the air quality of communities across the state.'

Senator Robert E. Antonacci said, 'Our local farms and recreational offerings get a tremendous boost from the annual State Fair. I thank the Governor for enhancing the State Fair with new improvements and giving these businesses more opportunity to promote their unique products. This regional economic engine shows the rest of the world what great experiences they can find in New York State not only during the Fair but throughout the year.'

Assembly Member William B. Magnarelli said, 'The State Fair is our region's biggest summer event, and with Governor Cuomo's support, it has become one of the largest and most successful in the country. Every summer the Fair showcases Central New York's best foods and features. With new improvements in the works to make the Fair a more enjoyable and accessible festivity, the region can welcome even more fairgoers who will support our local businesses.'

In addition to new offerings, fairgoer favorites will continue to be available. Visitors can purchase their sporting licenses at the Department of Environmental Conservation's aquarium building and see the freshwater fish of New York. Free fishing clinics will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 22 and 24 at the New York Experience Area pond area. Entry to the Fair on these two days is just $1 with a valid New York State sporting license. More details can be found here.

1.27 million people attended the Great New York State Fair in 2019, setting new records for attendance and raising the Fair to third among all state fairs in the nation as measured by industry publication Carnival Warehouse. Since the start of renovations efforts in 2015, Fair attendance is up 41 percent. Improvements to the fairgrounds, including the Expo Center, have also boosted the Fair's year-round facilities rental business, with events other than the Fair attracting an estimated 1 million people in 2018 and the record is on pace to be broken in 2019.

Info on the Great New York State Fair is available at, and vacation planninginformation for the greater Syracuse area is available at