August 21, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Appoints Sean Hennessey as Director of the Great New York State Fair

Governor Hochul Appoints Sean Hennessey as Director of the Great New York State Fair

After Leading A Successful 2022 Fair As Interim Director, Sean Hennessey Will Continue to Spearhead Growth and Innovation in 2023 and Beyond

Governor Kathy Hochul today appointed Sean Hennessey as Director of The Great New York State Fair. After serving as Interim Director of a successful Fair in 2022, Hennessey’s move into the Director position sets the stage for further growth and innovation, while ensuring a continuation of the traditions and family fun that have become a hallmark of New York’s favorite annual event.

“Since his appointment as Interim Director of The Great New York State Fair in 2022, Sean has proven himself to be an innovative and capable leader,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to officially welcome him as Director and look forward to working with him to ensure the growth and vitality of this unique New York tradition – our Great New York State Fair.”

As Interim Director of The Great New York State Fair in 2022, Hennessey led the charge to execute the first full fair experience since prior to the pandemic, introduced the most diverse musical line-up of national recording artists in terms of genres and decades represented, and started the discussion to introduce an Asian Village, new for the 2023 Fair. The 2022 Fair welcomed 888,110 visitors through the gates and featured 113 concerts across Chevy Court, Chevy Park, Pan African Village, Latino Village, and other entertainment venues. Four performances featured as part of the Chevrolet Music Series rank among the top 20 all-time concert attendances at the Fair, including Nelly’s performance on August 31 which attracted 43,000 fans to the newly re-named Suburban Park.

This year, the Fair has announced a dynamic, diverse concert lineup, introducing new family friendly shows such as Peppa Pig Live! and Disney Junior Live on Tour, and exciting new exhibits such as the DINOSAUR EXPEDITION which will bring 60 true-to-life-size dinosaurs to the Exposition Center, all while making infrastructure enhancements to expand upon The Fair’s commitment to enhance cultural experiences for fairgoers

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Sean’s energy, excitement, and bold ideas have helped to bring some exciting new events to The Great New York State Fair. As we continue to move the Fair forward and focus more on agriculture and youth education at the Fair, I know that Sean, working with the team at the Fair, will help bring the Governor’s vision to fruition.”

New York State Fair Director Sean Hennessey said, “I am privileged to be a part of The Great New York State Fair, a true tradition and cultural institution in New York State. I am grateful and humbled by Governor Hochul’s appointment of me as Director and look forward to opening the 2023 Fair as Director alongside the Fair team.”

Prior to joining The Fair in 2022, Hennessey served as Assistant Commissioner for Operations at the New York State Department of Transportation, where he established a proven track record of successful management of employees and systems within public agencies, including administration of large annual budgets and multimillion dollar capital projects. His additional experience as executive board member, booking agent, and spokesperson for the North Country Goes Green Irish Festival has also given him tremendous experience in coordinating and promoting large-scale cultural events, such as the Fair.

This announcement builds on Governor Hochul’s bold investment in agriculture and plan to support growth and revitalization opportunities for all fairs in New York. The 2024 Enacted Budget provides key funding to New York's county fairs and The Great New York State Fair, which are critical components of New York agriculture that connect the public with this important industry and its traditions. The Budget includes a $2 million investment in county fairs to assist in their marketing and promotion in an effort to deliver on Governor Hochul's commitment to enhance coordination between county fairs and The Great New York State Fair and increase opportunities to improve youth and agricultural programming initiatives at all fairs statewide.

People from across New York State will come together again this year to experience an affordable, 13-day celebration of delicious food, eye-opening exhibits, captivating entertainment, and great fun at The Great New York State Fair. This year’s Fair will showcase thousands of animals, hundreds of commercial attractions, scores of exciting midway rides, and dozens of big-name entertainers. The 2023 Great New York State Fair starts August 23 and continues through September 4, 2023. Tickets are available at

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