Every year I attend the Great New York State Fair. It is great to see so much entertainment, homegrown produce, livestock, the sand and the butter sculpture, our youth in the 4-H building, and all the work that goes hand-in-hand with providing the 12-day event to thousands of—and sometimes one million—visitors. I leave knowing there was a lot more that I didn’t get a chance to see but I try to get a good sample from every building.
One thing that still remains apparent in all of my visits is the Fair’s continued emphasis on agriculture. Agriculture is New York State’s largest industry. Each year, according to State Fair organizers, it receives approximately 40,000 entries for agriculture-related contests, including competitions that feature 11,000 of New York’s best cattle, goats, pigs, llamas, sheep, fowl and rabbits. I enjoy meeting the faces of the industry and small-family businesses that are the backbone of the ag industry. I’m also reminded of the many animals that create the products we consume year round—from eggs to bacon.
The Pride of New York label represents a bounty of fresh agricultural and processed food products. The fair enables visitors to see what New York offers, from potatoes, onions, cheese, milk, apples, syrup, and honey, just to name a few. Fairgoers can taste, sample and purchase these specialties as well. The Pride of New York Marketplace, located just inside of the main gate, reminds people to look for local products throughout the year and enables visitors to taste what’s grown or produced within our state. The Fair Farmers’ Market, located near the main gate, allows visitors to stock up on fresh sweet corn, carrots, peppers, plums and apples before they leave the Fair.
New York Maple Center, located in the Horticulture Building, promotes the sweet tastes of maple syrup, maple cotton candy and other maple treats while teaching us about the fascinating, age-old process that is used to make maple syrup. The Dairy Products Building highlights the importance of the dairy industry to New York’s farm economy. The world-famous butter sculpture, made from 800 pounds of creamy New York butter, is a dining scene this year. I also enjoy the ice cream. Some of New York State’s finest wines can be sampled and purchased in the Uncork New York Wine Village located between the International and Horticulture Buildings.
There are countless other acts, music shows, and entertainment options I have not listed here. Much more can be viewed at the Fair’s website, which offers detailed daily schedules at www.nysfair.org. Smart phone owners can visit http://m.nysfair.org, select the day they plan to visit, and an hourly schedule appears so visitors can better plan their day. This is a new feature this year. Maps and schedules also are available upon entry at the Fair.
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