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OPINION: The New York State Fair is Bigger and Better than Ever

By Will Barclay

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Each year, New Yorkers and visitors from around the country are treated to world-class entertainment, quality locally grown produce, contests, music and more at the Great New York State Fair. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, the fair attracted a record 1.33 million visitors during the 13-day event. Founded in 1841, the annual tradition features an  enormous array of attractions and performances that virtually guarantee there is something for everyone to see — this year, expect more of the same. 

Home of the nation’s first state fair, our state fair also offers a tremendous opportunity for our agriculture and viticulture industries to showcase what they have to offer. New York state has some of the best locally sourced products in the world, and the State Fair is a great way for our farmers and vendors to provide a taste of Upstate to fairgoers from near and far. Residents from all over the state, as well as visitors from other states and countries, descend on Central New York to take part in the festivities. There is a ton to see here, and I encourage visitors to take in some of the beautiful local scenery while visiting.

 This year, the fair runs almost two weeks from Wednesday, Aug. 24 to Monday, Sept. 5 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes. Among some of the features I am most looking forward to are daily Birds of Prey demonstrations, the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, the Historic Train Exhibit and Armed Forces Day. On Armed Forces Day, which will take place on Thursday, Sept. 1, all veterans and active-duty service men and women will be offered free admission.

Further, the live music offerings are sure to entice fans of every type as the Chevy Park Concerts series will feature mega-acts like Foreigner on Sunday, Aug. 28, Boyz II Men on Monday, Aug. 29, and Dropkick Murphys on Saturday, Sept. 3. Be sure to check out the Chevy Court Concerts for even more great acts featuring 13 days of free entertainment, with two shows daily. And, whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for the highest, fastest roller coaster or the Tea Cups are more your speed, this year’s Midway will offer more than 50 rides.

There will also be an incredible selection of vendors on hand dishing out goods from all around New York. In addition to the traditional favorites — who can visit without seeing the Sand Sculpture or Butter Sculpture — the fair is also featuring a few new exhibits including the Skilled Trades & Manufacturing Exhibit, the New York State Energy & Environment Experience, and the interactive social-media experience, The Butterizer.

If you’re planning to attend, be sure to check the fair’s official website for important information about tickets, parking, transportation, and other safety considerations. Enjoy, be safe, and soak up some of that one-of-a-kind New York state flavor. I look forward to seeing you there.        


William (Will) A. Barclay, 53, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County.