New Special Events Capitalize on Special Aspects of New York State
New on the Midway: The Broadway Skyliner Chairlift Ride, and a New Water Flume Ride
Improvements Complement "CNY Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced new events and activities for the 2017 Great New York State Fair, including a new home for the popular New York State Police exhibit, new major events such as Family Fishing Day and Timber Sports Day, and new Midway rides and entertainment such as the Broadway Skyliner chairlift ride. The long list of enhancements builds on Governor Cuomo's $120 million plan to revitalize the nation's oldest state fair and delivers on the promise to create an attractive tourism destination that helps to grow the economy of the region.
"The days of the 'same-old, same-old' State Fair are over - there is new energy in every corner of the Fairgrounds," Governor Cuomo said. "We are revitalizing this facility to provide year-round economic strength to the region, all while making the Fair a national attraction. These improvements are adding to this momentum and are helping Central New York to continue to rise."
The Fair is building on the most successful year in its long history, in which attendance of 1.12 million people smashed the prior record, by making major changes to important venues on the Fairgrounds. These changes build on the Governor's two-phase rejuvenation plan, which, in the first phase, provided the Fair with a new, beautiful Main Gate and cleared acres of space for enhanced programming. The second phase, to start after the Fair, will involve creating a new Expo Center to attract major year-round events that cannot come to the region now, as well as improvements to the Fair's largest parking lot to add parking and speed access to the lot.
"Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the Great New York State Fair site has become a year-round venue for family entertainment, attracting national caliber acts and events and boosting the local economy as well as New York agriculture," said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. "Once again, I'm looking forward to visiting both my favorite attractions and the many new enhancements when I speak at the Women's Day Luncheon this year to honor the accomplishments of New York's women."
Two final elements from Phase One of the project will make their debuts at the 2017 Fair.
The New York State Police Exhibit, one of the most popular stops of the Fair, has moved to a new home near the Horticulture Building in honor of its 100th anniversary. The area, which includes two buildings, has been renovated to include a new, steel tower Troopers will use for their daily demonstrations of building rappelling techniques. Inside one of the buildings, a log cabin, fairgoers can use a simulator that demonstrates the dangers of texting while driving and a forensic crime scene area, as well as a Wall of Honor to fallen Troopers and a place to sign up for the Trooper exam. The other building will house an exhibit celebrating the Troopers' Centennial. State Police Canines will have a new, air conditioned place to rest between shows, and all the exciting demonstrations that fairgoers enjoy will return.
In the Indian Village, a new Turtle Mound will become the home of the traditional dances that take place three times daily. The mound has been built to resemble a turtle, an animal sacred to the Iroquois. The village also received new roofs on its buildings and other renovations.
New Special Events
Family Fishing Day and "I Fish New York"
A day dedicated to fishing in New York State begins on Aug. 27 with a tournament on Onondaga Lake. "I Fish New York," sponsored by I LOVE NEW YORK, will feature members of Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) chapters from across the state, competing for the biggest catch from 7 a.m. - 11 a.m. The action then shifts to the new New York Experience area on the Fairgrounds for the official weigh-in and the crowning of the champion on the Empire Experience Stage. Meantime, the Department of Environmental Conservation will host a free fishing experience from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the New York Experience Area pond. Kids of all ages and anglers of all skill levels are encouraged to participate. B.A.S.S. boats will be on display in the area, along with various types of fishing gear and equipment. The I LOVE NEW YORK traveling POD will also be there, offering travel tips and recommendations for planning a New York State getaway.
Admission to the Fair on Aug. 27 is free for those who show a valid sporting license at the gate. Attendees are also encouraged to stop by the DEC Pavilion to purchase their hunting or fishing license. Anyone who buys a sporting license at the fair will be automatically entered into a random drawing to win a Great New York State Fair lifetime pass.
Timber Sports and Forestry Day
The Sept. 2 event in the New York Experience Area will be a day of exciting events highlighting the state's forestry industry. A draft horse demonstration begins the day at 10:30 a.m. Collegiate timber sports teams from SUNY-ESF, SUNY Morrisville and Paul Smiths College will compete in events including crosscut and bowsaw, axe throw, underhand chop, logrolling, speed climbing, and more. There will be an opportunity to meet professional lumberjacks, courtesy of the New York State Woodsmen's Field Days of Boonville. Young people can explore careers in forestry while adults can learn about some threats to trees. Vernon-Verona-Sherrill school district's Future Farmers of America chapter will be on hand with samples of real maple syrup and an exhibit on maple farming.
Events in the New York Experience area on the west end of the grounds are easily accessible via the Fair's free, continuous trams, which are sponsored by Chevrolet.
Women's Suffrage Centennial Exhibit
100 years ago, women won the right to vote in New York State. An exhibit celebrating the milestone will be open throughout the Fair in the Art & Home Center. The exhibit will feature the traveling panels of the New York State Museum's upcoming exhibit, "Votes For Women: Celebrating New York's Suffrage Centennial," along with panels profiling leaders of the suffrage movement. I LOVE NEW YORK and Path Through History will provide a map highlighting 13 destinations around the state for further exploration of women's rights and the nearly 70-year long battle for the right to vote. The exhibit will also display replicas of key suffrage movement documents as well as the Susan B. Anthony House's 2020 Quilt, a collaborative textile art project celebrating the centennial of the 19th Amendment to the United State Constitution that made women's suffrage universal.
On Women's Day, Aug. 30, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will keynote the annual Women's Day luncheon in the Empire Room. A reservation is required for the luncheon and seating is limited so registering as soon as possible is recommended. The cost is $20.00, which will cover the luncheon, admission to the Fair and parking. More information is available by calling 315-487-7711 ext. 1265. The New York State Women's Suffrage Commission, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Hochul, will meet in the exhibit room in the afternoon. An information fair linking women to important resources will take place at the Chevy Court Pavilion that day.
The Fair's special day parade at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 will be led by reenactors portraying Susan B. Anthony and Matilda J. Gage. They will be joined by members of Girl Scout troops from around the state. The Fair is offering free admission to any Girl Scout and troop leader for Women's Day. Troop leaders in the NYPENN Pathways Council can call 1-800-943-4414 ext. 2093 to receive tickets. Leaders of other troops in New York State may contact the Fair's Public Relations Office at 315-487-7711 ext. 1377. The Girl Scouts patch celebrating the suffrage centennial will be on display in the Suffrage Centennial Exhibit.
I LOVE NEW YORK Exhibit
New York's tourism promotion agency, I LOVE NEW YORK, will show off the wonders of New York State at an exhibit open all 13 days of the Fair, in the north wing of the Center of Progress Building. Visitors will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in quintessential New York State activities through selfie stations highlighting canoeing, fishing, mountain climbing, and race day at Watkins Glen International. Those who share their photos with #NYStateFairSelfie may be featured on the big screen at the concerts in Chevy Court. LED video walls will showcase state-wide attractions and celebrate the people who serve the vital tourism industry.
Fairgoers are also invited to visit the I LOVE NEW YORK pavilion, where they can learn more about vacation planning in New York State and sign up for daily drawings. Prizes include New York State Parks gift cards and camping passes; ski lift tickets to Gore, Whiteface and Belleayre Mountains; and a one-year subscription for monthly Taste NY wine and craft beverages.
Wade Shows Midway
Fairgoers will get a graceful and unique view of the 2017 Great New York State Fair aboard the Broadway Skyliner as the brand-new chairlift ride makes its debut at the Wade Shows Midway. The Skyliner will lift riders approximately 34 feet in the air and take them on a seven minute, 1,400 foot ride from one end of the Midway to the other. Wade Shows installed the permanent concrete footers for the ride this summer. Tickets for the ride will be $5 for a one-way ride and $8 for a roundtrip ride.
Also among the new attractions this year is the Fair's first-ever water ride. White Water is a flume ride that will take riders down two water slides to enjoy splashes of cooling water. There are several other new kiddie, family, thrill and spectacular rides at the Fair this year. The RC-48 steel roller coaster will return this year after some time away from the Fair. The ride rises 70 feet in the air before taking riders around banked turns and curved drops, ending with twists through a helix pattern. A full list of rides can be found on the Fair's website.
Fairgoers can also take advantage of the newly-featured Wade Shows Guest Relations centers placed along the Midway that will offer free phone charging stations, free sunscreen, baby changing areas and other essentials.
The Fair has made the greatest investment in its history in entertaining shows that fairgoers will encounter everywhere around the grounds. Fair fan favorites Hilby the German Juggler Boy and Bandaloni the One Man Band return, along with the Team Sandtastic Sand Sculpture in the Center of Progress Building.
New entertainment acts include:
- Animal Cracker Conspiracy's stilt-walking characters will greet fairgoers around the grounds;
- Artist Ryan "ARCY" Christenson will paint large murals in the Times Square area behind the International Building;
- Bear Hollow Wood Carvers will work as a team to turn logs into beautiful sculpture using chain saws in the Times Square area;
- The Coronas Circus is the full big top circus experience, with the comic Hollywood Racing Pigs show and the Giraffic Park Petting Zoo nearby in the Family Fun Zone;
- DownBeat Percussion is the official drumline of the Buffalo Bills - these talented percussionists will perform around the fairgrounds and march in every Special Day Parade;
- The i-Flip Aerial Show, sponsored by Tarson Pools, features trampoline acrobatics, ending in a spectacular 60 foot fall in the Family Fun Zone;
- Comic clowns Mango and Dango will perform at various locations on the fairgrounds;
- Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean, in the Family Fun Zone, is a large-scale pirate ship adventure featuring high-wire swordplay and incredible feats of balance in the Family Fun Zone;
- Top Cop Police Academy enlists audience members to compete against the pros, ending with one pro's spectacular high dive of more than 80 feet into a shallow pool in the Family Fun Zone; and
- The President's Choice SuperDogs show their agility and comic chops as stunt divers, in the Times Square area.
Promoting New York Agriculture
The Taste NY Marketplace, a retail store offering great food products grown and produced in New York State, moves to a new home this year in the Horticulture Building. Run by Nelson Farms, the store offers for sale a wide selection of products, from candy and barbecue sauces to pancake mixes and beef jerky, and much more. The store will now be adjacent to the Taste NY sampling area, where fairgoers can sample great products from New York producers for free. The area features more than five dozen companies over the course of the Fair, with new vendors sampling every day. People can often buy directly from the vendor products they like after sampling them.
Text an Ag Question
Fairgoers often have questions about the animals they encounter at the Fair. This year, they can get answers to those questions using their phone. Agricultural experts will monitor a text channel during the Fair, answering questions texted to them. Signs in the barns will provide the number to which to send text messages.
Hourly guided tours, beginning at the MooU tent behind the Agriculture Museum, will take people through the Fair's various animal barns, offering insight about the animals and their place in agriculture. These tours educate people about where their food comes from and the way in which it is raised.
Horse Barn Tours
The Fair will open its horse barns to fairgoers for the first time in several years. Guided tours begin at the World of Horses tent. Spaces are limited and fairgoers can sign up at the tent beginning at 10 a.m. To ensure maximum safety of tour participants while in the barns, the tour will begin with an orientation session.
World of Horses Tent
The World of Horses tent features a center ring where fairgoers can see horses up close and talk with their owners and handlers. Among the new events there this year is an exhibit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the New York State Police, which began its work at the State Fair with a mounted patrol, an exhibit featuring the Morgan Horse, free talks from an expert on improving a horse rider's balance and effectiveness, an artist famous for her presentation of horse anatomy using paint to identify the horse's muscle and bones, and cowboy poetry from one of the winners of the 2017 National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo, Mark Munzert. In addition, the Fair returns its major agricultural exhibits, including the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, the Taste NY Wine and Beer Seminars, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society's Hall of Veterinary Health, the daily horse and other animal shows, and more.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The new additions to the Fair this year are the continuation of Governor Cuomo's vision to transform the Fairgrounds into a top-notch entertainment destination. Visitors will have more to do and see at nearly turn, giving our guests a new appreciation of all the things that make New York State so great."
State Fair Acting Director Troy Waffner said, "We are very excited about all of the new programming, special exhibits and entertainment we have lined up for this year. The new chairlift ride will be a great way to see the Fair and will help draw people to the western end of the grounds, home this year to some huge new entertainment shows, the ever-popular Dairy Cow Birthing Center, and the New York Experience area. Our added exhibits and tours will offer a fun way to see the very best of New York tourism and agriculture."
State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "For 100 years, the men and women of the State Police have been dedicated to serving New Yorkers, and the State Fair has been an important part of our history from the very beginning. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Commissioner Ball and Commissioner Destito for their continued support of the State Police."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York is proud to once again host a tournament letting the world know about the outstanding fishing opportunities available in Onondaga Lake and across our state. Year after year, Governor Cuomo continues to grow tourism to record levels in the state, and the Great New York State Fair is an excellent way to see first-hand that the Empire State is second to none for year-round recreation."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Under Governor Cuomo, the Great New York State Fair continues to grow in popularity, meaning more visitors are traveling to the region and supporting local businesses. And this year's fair is better than ever with the Broadway Skyliner, more Taste NY offerings, and a tribute to the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage."
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "The Fair is New York's greatest celebration and we are honored, as always, to serve as host here in Onondaga County. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the Fairgrounds has been transformed into an engine of economic growth for our region. This year's Fair promises to be the best one yet and I encourage everyone to come here and enjoy the Fair and everything else our beautiful region has to offer."
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. More information is available here.
The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs 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 Flickr.com/photos/nysfair. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at firstname.lastname@example.org.