147,749 Fairgoers Attended, Breaking Last Year's Record of 134,115
Fairgrounds Investments Complement Region's Comprehensive 'Central New York Rising' Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Great New York State Fair broke the highest single-day attendance record in its long history today, Saturday, August 31, as 147,749 fairgoers visited the fair. This broke the previous all-time high, 134,115, set last year on Saturday, August 25. It is also the fifth daily attendance record of the 2019 Fair, as total attendance crossed the 1.1 million mark and began to close in on the total attendance record of 1,279,010 with just two more days to go. This year, nine out of the 11 days have either set new daily attendance records or finished second.
"Four years after we began a series of major improvements to the nation's oldest state fair, we're seeing terrific results. Each year for the past four years, more and more people are making the trip to the revitalized State Fair because it's a completely different experience," Governor Cuomo said. "I encourage everyone to take part in the fair which is a great demonstration of some of the best of New York."
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "We are thankful for the Governor's vision and support, which helped transform the Great New York State Fair, making a great event even better each year. We're proud of the effort we put into making one of the oldest State Fairs one of the best as well, as it highlights New York State's agricultural traditions and provides top-notch, family-friendly fun and entertainment in an environment that is welcoming to all."
State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "Record-breaking attendance shows that the hard work that we have put into making the State Fair better each year is paying off for New York State residents and visitors alike, who are enjoying the countless educational and entertainment opportunities it provides."
Fairgoers came in large numbers early in the day to enjoy a special promotion offering admission for just $1. The fair's new 1,800-space Willis Ave parking lot helped to handle the crush of traffic, while the municipal transportation agency Centro augmented its fleet with buses from Rochester and drivers from Utica and Ithaca to staff its busy Park-N-Ride lots. Free evening concerts from classic rocker Rick Springfield and modern rock band Theory of a Deadman drew large crowds, while others enjoyed a free screening of Syracuse University's season-opening football game against Liberty University in the Exposition Center. Fairgoers also crowded into the livestock barns to see some of the 10,000 animals on display during the Fair and a large crowd enjoyed one of the highlights of the annual horse show - the North American Classic Six Horse Hitch show. Twenty-seven teams of horses pulled ornate wagons and drivers in fancy dress around the Toyota Coliseum, in what is likely to be the second-largest such show in America this year.
The fair was revitalized beginning in 2015 with the beginning of $120 million in infrastructure investments, the first such infusion of capital spending in about 80 years. The list of major improvements includes the new Exposition Center, the largest clear-span building north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland, a new Main Gate, a full-service RV park, renovations to major exhibits for the State Police and Indian Village and paving of the Fair's largest parking lot to increase its capacity. The end result is a fairgrounds that fairgoers say in annual surveys feels less crowded, leading to longer stays, more spending and greater enjoyment. The changes have also helped boost the year-round facilities rental business of the fairgrounds, with attendance at privately-run non-fair events expected to soar above 1 million this year.
Accelerating Central New York Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central New York Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central New York Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.
Founded in 1841, the Great New York State Fair is America's third largest state fair. The Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of Governor Cuomo's Central New York Rising strategy of growing the region's economy through tourism. Fair attendance is up more than 40 percent since the beginning of more than $120 million in investments, with 1.27 million people attending the Fair in 2018. The 2019 Fair runs from August 21 to Sept. 2. Information about the Fair can be found here.
The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available here. Find the Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair on Flickr. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at [email protected].