Expanded Fair Attracts Huge Crowds, as More than 1.13 Million Pass Through the Gates
State Fair Drives Tourism and Complements "Central New York Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that the Great New York State Fair concluded a successful year by setting another all-time record for attendance, as more than 1.13 million people have come to the Fair over its 13 day run, which ends tonight. Attendance for Labor Day crossed the 100,000 mark in midafternoon, setting the new record. During this run, the Fair set three daily attendance records, including a new record for the largest single-day audience ever. The Fair is the fourth largest state fair in the country.
"The Fair is a great New York tradition that is enjoying a renaissance thanks to our investments in the grounds and the strength of its programming," Governor Cuomo said. "These investments are paying off in growing numbers of people, which in turn will continue to help Central New York's economy continue to rise."
The 2017 attendance total, when complete tonight, will exceed the 1,117,630 total from 2016, when the Fair was 12 days long. The Fair also set records for sales of its two signature food items - baked potatoes and milk. Through day 12 on Sunday, the Great Baked Potato Booth sold 59,946 white and sweet potatoes with all the fixings, eclipsing a two-year-old record. And the Milk Bar, operated for the first time directly by the Fair, sold more than 420,000 cups of white and chocolate milk by midday today, a record amount for the year.
After tonight's final show from Kool & The Gang, the Fair's Chevy Court concert venue will have attracted more than a quarter million people for its largest roster of national touring shows ever, highlighted by massive crowds for the hip hop trio Migos, Rock Hall of Fame soul group Earth Wind & Fire, pop pioneers The Beach Boys and southern rock superstars Lynyrd Skynyrd. The Fair and its vendors presented more than 550 free musical performances this year, a record amount.
This is the second Fair since the implementation of Governor Cuomo's $50 million plan to revitalize the nation's oldest state fair. The fairgrounds in the town of Geddes received a beautiful new Main Gate, an RV park that supports both the Fair and its year-round facilities rental business, and large, open spaces that allow for expanded Fair programming and larger events on the grounds year-round. The second, $70 million phase of renovations, to begin later this year, involves building a 133,000-square foot expo center that can host many types of major events. It will be the largest event space between Boston and Cleveland. The Fair's parking lot will receive significant upgrades as well.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "The State Fair is one of the top tourist destinations in the Central New York region, and thanks to Governor Cuomo's vision, we have even more to be proud of. The State's investment is having a tremendous impact on the success of the Fair and will continue to attract visitors to the fairgrounds year-round, helping to strengthen or local economy."
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The success of the Fair this year is proof that the Governor's transformation plan is working. The improvements have created a more enjoyable experience for visitors and we broke several records as a result. We look forward to building on this momentum as we begin phase two."
Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "It has been exciting to see the transformation of the fairgrounds and the overwhelmingly positive response from visitors. We work hard to improve the Fair year after year. This year, we enjoyed new programming, exhibits and record crowds. Now with the first phase of the Governor's revitalization plan complete, we are looking ahead to phase II and making the 2018 Great New York State Fair our best yet."
Accelerating Central NY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested nearly $3 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 NY 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.
The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, ran from August 23 to September 4, 2017. The Fair's mission, reflected in its theme, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.
The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair's website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair at www.Flickr.com/photos/nysfair. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at[email protected].