After COVID-19 forced its cancellation last year, the New York State Fair made its triumphant return and did not disappoint. From the delicious food options to various competitions, live music and shows, this beloved family tradition and tourist attraction had something for everyone to enjoy. Guests and vendors alike were able to safely take advantage of all the fair had to offer and come together to celebrate the great state we call home.
Since we are continuing to battle this ongoing pandemic, the fairgrounds took numerous precautions to ensure a safe environment for all attendees. Masks were required to be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status, and encouraged in crowded outdoor areas. Unvaccinated guests were required to wear masks at all times. While the rise in COVID cases and new variants caused an expected drop in attendance compared to past years, that did not overshadow the hard work and dedication put into making this fair possible under such unprecedented circumstances.
Fairgoers had the opportunity to enjoy a unique lineup of talent, entertainment and musical acts hosted by Chevy Court and Chevy Park Concerts. Additionally, competitions showcasing animals, photography, dairy products and more were held throughout all 18 days of the fair. Hay-bale throwing contests, animal shows and milking parlor observations were also offered, as well as rides and an abundance of food and drink options.
I was fortunate to attend the fair for some significant occasions: St. Joseph’s Health Women’s Day and Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Day.I also attended and spoke during Pride Day, and toured with Governor Hochul after dedicating the new highway worker’s memorial. Other “Special Days” throughout this year’s fair included Dairy Day, Pride Day, Law Enforcement Day, Native Americans Day and Labor Day. Along with recognizing these groups and offering them free admission, these designated days gave us all the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of our state and honor the hard work of our fellow New Yorkers.
This was the first year that the fair was extended to 18 days, instead of the usual 13. While the reduced crowds and prolonged schedule offered some benefits, it also caused the state fair to overlap with numerous county and youth fairs and stifled the economic growth of all involved. Governor Hochul’s decision to return the fair to a 13-day event next year is in the best interest of residents and small businesses, as it will help boost the success of vendors and promote greater attendance and better quality overall.
While the 2021 state fair may have looked different from years past, it still brought the same fun and excitement and helped rejuvenate the spirit of Central New York. I’m already looking forward to what next year’s fair has in store, and I’m sure you are too! As always, if you have questions or concerns about this or any other community issue, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 315-452-1115 or StirpeA@nyassembly.gov.