July 2, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Launches New Initiatives to Promote New York’s County and Local Fairs, Boost Visitors, and Showcase Agriculture

Governor Hochul Launches New Initiatives to Promote New York’s County and Local Fairs, Boost Visitors, and Showcase Agriculture

“Never Far From Fun” Nearly $2 Million Advertising Initiative Includes Television, Radio, Streaming, and Digital Advertisements and Billboards to be Featured in Major Markets

County Fairs Passport Now Available to Encourage Kids and Families to Visit Multiple County and Local Fairs Across the State Throughout the Summer

Transportation Grant Pilot Program Kicks Off at Boonville-Oneida County Fair

Part of Governor Hochul’s Broader Summer Campaign to Help Kids and Families to “Get Offline, Get Outside”

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the launch of the State’s nearly $2 million marketing initiative to promote New York’s more than 50 county and local fairs across the State. The efforts include launching television, radio, and digital advertisements and billboards, a new County Fairs Passport program, and a transportation grant program to help boost attendance at the state’s fairs, educate communities about the ways that fairs support local economies, and showcase New York State agriculture. These new efforts are part of Governor Hochul’s broader “Get Offline, Get Outside” summer campaign to promote physical and mental health by encouraging New York’s kids and families to put down their phones and computers, take a break from social media and enjoy recreation and outdoor social gatherings.

“As a former 4-H kid, I know how impactful our county and youth fairs are – creating memories of a lifetime and providing incredible opportunities for fairgoers to learn more about New York agriculture,” Governor Hochul said. “With the launch of these new initiatives, we are encouraging all New Yorkers to get outside and visit their county fairs, experience incredible agricultural exhibits, and enjoy great food and entertainment all summer long.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball joined the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs, Saratoga County Fairgrounds staff and board members, representatives from the State’s regional Welcome Centers and Cornell Cooperative Extensions, as well as 4-H student members to kick off the State’s numerous county fair promotions today at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds. The initiatives launched today were developed as part of the Governor’s commitment to strengthening New York’s County and local fairs, including cross-promotion with the Great New York State Fair, and improving youth and agricultural programming initiatives at all fairs statewide.

The State’s marketing and advertising campaign, “Never Far From Fun,” includes a 30-second television advertisement, that is being placed in broadcast, cable, and connected television in every media market across the state (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Greater New York, Plattsburgh, Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Watertown).

Radio advertisements are being placed in Norwich/Cooperstown, Jefferson/Lewis/Watertown/Lowville, Saratoga/Lake George, and South Finger Lakes areas to reach local communities and build excitement and anticipation for potential fairgoers to experience all that county fairs have to offer. Additionally, ads will be placed across the rest of the state, including in the New York City area, on streaming services such as Roku, Apple TV, Hulu, Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube TV, Sling TV, Amazon Fire TV, Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio.

Billboards will be strategically placed along major highways and interstates, in high-traffic areas, in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, Utica, Watertown, Albany and along the Metro North to increase visibility and exposure to the campaign and drive attendance to county fairs.

The campaign also includes investments in social media ads with newly launched Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages and a new website dedicated to promoting the State’s county and local fairs. At Findyourfair.com, visitors can find a map of locations for all 50 fairs, information for exhibitors, and a full slate of promotional resources for the fairs, including printable posters, banners, and yard signs.

The website also links to the State’s brand-new New York State Fair’s Passport Program. The Passport Program is a fun way to engage families and young people and encourage them to visit multiple county and local fairs. Passports can be picked up at select local county Cornell Cooperative Extension offices, State Welcome Centers, and State Parks. A full list of pick-up locations is available on the Department’s County Fairs Promotions webpage here. Fairgoers can bring their passports to any of the fairs they visit and get a unique stamp in their booklet as well as “Ag Swag,” which includes lanyards and commemorative buttons.

Each fair, including the New York State Fair, will also have a scavenger hunt where participants can enter a drawing via the Taste NY promotion #FindMeAtTheFair. Fairgoers can take part in the hunts with the newly launched app and complete missions to enter to win great New York made prizes.

To encourage visitors and help with their travel to the fairs, the State is launching a pilot grant program that will offset the cost of transportation to allow young people, who may otherwise not be able to, to enjoy a full day at the fair. Boonville-Oneida County Fair is the first to participate in the pilot program and, using their grant, will help young people from Utica to access the fair on July 24. The pilot program will be expanded and applications for the grant program will be open to other fairs this fall.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “The state has more than 50 county and local fairs, which are steeped in history and agricultural traditions. We are proud to stand alongside our partners at the county fairs and, with the help of this robust marketing and advertising campaign, help them tell their story to fairgoers across the State. It’s our hope that by visiting a county fair, or two, or three this summer, New Yorkers will get to get a closer look at our agricultural products, practices, history, and traditions, and learn more about and support the community they’re visiting. Thanks to Governor Hochul’s commitment to boosting our county fairs, we are looking forward to an exciting summer and seeing more visitors through county fair gates across the State.”

New York State Parks Commissioner Pro Tempore Randy Simons said, “New York State has so much to experience – from our great state parks, beaches, trails and historic sites to our many local and county fairs. We at State Parks are excited to support this work to promote local and county fairs and help showcase New York agriculture.”

Senate Agriculture Chair Michelle Hinchey said, “Local and county fairs are vibrant celebrations of New York agriculture and critical economic drivers that put our rural pride on full display—an unmatched experience every resident across our state should have the chance to enjoy. We’re excited for the launch of this marketing campaign to help boost fair promotion and inspire more visitors to join us for these beloved community traditions.”

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “I am very happy that New York will be promoting our over 50 county and local fairs, through the “Never Far From Fun” campaign. Whether traveling near or far, this is a great opportunity for people from across the state to enjoy everything these fairs have to offer. Each fair has its own unique history and traditions, all designed to showcase and celebrate NY agriculture. As the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, it is my unique privilege to advocate on their behalf, alongside all of my partners in state government.”

New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs President Julia Reynolds said, “We are very grateful for the continued support from Governor Hochul and Commissioner Ball for the promotion of our county fairs. The county fairs across the state would love to showcase the many avenues of agricultural diversity to those that come through their gates. So, grab your passport and experience the fairs of New York.”

Saratoga County Fair General Manager Jennifer Flinton said, “We are grateful to Governor Hochul and Commissioner Ball for their strong support of county agricultural fairs, and we are excited to participate in the passport program. The Saratoga County Fair’s opening day is just 21 days away. We hope to see you here to enjoy our agricultural displays, our great food, rides and attractions, and we look forward to stamping your passport.”

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County 4-H/FCS Extension Issue Leader Greg Stevens said, “CCE Saratoga and the 4-H Youth Development program is honored to support Governor Hochul and Ag and Markets’ new Passport Program. It’s very fitting that the kickoff is being held in Saratoga County because of our close working relationships with the pillars of this agricultural community, including the Saratoga County Farm Bureau, the Saratoga County Ag Society and CCE Saratoga. The county fair is our annual showcase of our agricultural industries. Again, we look forward to this initiative putting yet another spotlight on the Saratoga County Fair.”

Taste NY Market Manager at the Capital Region Welcome Center Lisa Gallina said, “We are thrilled at the Capital Region Welcome Center to distribute the 2024 Fair Passport! It is a marvelous way to encourage folks to attend as many fairs this summer as possible across our great state of NY. We are able to share our love of the fairs and encourage people to learn about regional agriculture, gardening and 4-H! Many of our products that we sell got their start at a county fair.”

New York Farm Bureau Senior Associate Director of Public Policy Renée St. Jacques said, “Fairs are an important opportunity for attendees to learn about local agriculture and how farms produce food for our communities. This marketing campaign and passport program will lead to more people visiting New York fairs thus creating more connections with agriculture. Thank you to Governor Hochul, Commissioner Ball and state legislators for their continued support of New York fairs and farmers.”

The Governor first announced her commitment to strengthening county and youth fairs in 2021. The Governor directed the Department of Agriculture and Markets to assess support, growth, and revitalization opportunities for all fairs in New York in the 2022 season. In 2023, the Department worked with the county fairs, including with the NYS Association of Agricultural Fairs, to develop a robust marketing and outreach program, cross promote the fairs through various communications, including social media, and hosted a roundtable during the off-season to identify additional opportunities for enhancing fair marketing and promotion and improving youth and agricultural programming initiatives at all fairs statewide, including enhancing agricultural competitions at fairs. Discussions also focused on other initiatives, including capital planning, emergency management, and commissioning an updated economic impact study.

In addition to The Great New York State Fair, New York is home to more than 50 county and youth fairs that operate from July through mid-September, with the Long Island Fair closing out the season. Local fairs provide visitors with family-friendly fun, great music, and delicious food. They also offer a unique opportunity to learn about local agriculture, including where our food comes from, and how it is grown, harvested, and marketed to the public. According to a 2013 economic impact study, the State's fairs generate $6 million in economic activity and over 4,000 jobs in New York each year. A list of most county fairs across the state and the dates they are running is available.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

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