State Fair Hound

An independent view of the New York State Fair

Travel Channel

About a month after opening day, there’s still plenty of buzz about the massive changes unveiled at the New York State Fair. State Fair Hound has been talking to readers and friends and the expanded and modernized midway area gets high grades for the wide walkways, more rides and updated amenities. look-up-bw-16It also garnered criticism from patrons who found the longer walks daunting, especially since there was too little shade available, not enough seating and a perceived loss of charm and character as demolished stands were replaced with tents.

Keeping in mind that the Fair is far from finished making changes, this is the time to start brainstorming ideas for improvements. The Hound starts today looking at ways to traverse the wider open spaces.

For fans covering a greater distance between attractions–and that’s a lot of folks—additional transportation is the obvious answer and there don’t seem to be a lot of choices. Acting Director Troy Waffner told The Hound that more use of trams is under consideration, so that’s one idea. They would need to be free and quick to board and exit. Smaller vehicles (Remember those trolleys they used to have running around downtown Syracuse?)would be great for quick, relatively short trips up and down Broadway. Yeah, they cost money, so maybe they can be a contracted service from some limo company.

The western end, down toward the 4H riding rings, the Talent Showcase and the racing stables, was a largely open area this year mw-across-field-16that’s destined for more attractions next time around. With more visitors likely heading there, this will be a growing concern. The dream solution is installation of a monorail system, such as the one used at Disney World. The astronomical expense of doing that means it must remain a dream, certainly for now.

Countdown Photo–48 Weeks

singing-seals-16In spite of State Fair Hound’s previously-expressed reservations about the use of wild animals for performances, there’s no denying the popularity of the Sea Lion Splash among Fairgoers. The charismatic mammals have become a perennial favorite, drawing crowds of fans to their pool to see them swim, strut and bark for fish. They’re plenty photogenic, too.

Dollar Dazed and Confused

Some thrill seekers must have been disappointed on Labor Day at the New York State Fair closed-stampede-16as several rides were closed, at least for part of the day. When The Hound was on the midway, the Stampede, the Hang Glider and the Pirate weren’t running. To make matters worse, that day all rides were just a buck. It’s not such a bargain when you can’t get dizzy on the machine of your choice.

Patrons have a right to expect Wade Shows to make all of the rides available when they’re touting Labor Day as Dollar Day, enticing fans to hit the midway in large numbers.

 

State Fair Hound didn’t hear many complaints about the midway, closed-cliffhanger-16and that’s great. But this one is a legitimate concern.

Countdown Photo–49 Weeks

Workers put the finishing touches on the menu at Fried Specialties.

Workers post the prices on the menu at Fried Specialties.

As State Fair Hound continues to review and critique the 2016 New York State Fair, we launch a new feature, counting down to Aug. 24, 2017, opening day of next year’s Fair. Each week The Hound will publish a photo from the hundreds of pics shot this year as we march toward another landmark event.

Today’s shot was taken on opening day as one famous food vendor put the finishing touches on its stand.

Distant Lights

midway-night-16The neon glitz and glamour of the expanded midway at the New York State Fair was offset by the mostly vacant space in the grounds’ wild west. It was a new and somewhat startling nighttime dichotomy–bigger and brighter with more rides than ever before bordering on a dark, open space.

State Fair Hound will keep on top of coming changes in that area and all around the Fairgrounds for 2017 with stories and photos all year.

Blue Heaven

blue-ribbon-crafts-16When the 2016 New York State Fair wrapped up on Labor Day, many contributors went home with ribbons won in a wide variety of competitions over the course of the 12 days. Categories included culinary arts, livestock of many types, fine arts, agricultural pursuits from honey to Christmas tree to roses, and crafts such as those pictured above.

No doubt some of the competitors are already planning their entries for 2017.

Tradition of Excellence

hort-pond-26

With so much focus on what was new at the 2016 New York State Fair, there probably wasn’t enough praise for traditional favorites. huge-pumpkins-16Once again this year, the Horticulture Building proved that it’s not only a glorious, historic structure, it also houses displays of beauty and excellence as well as vendors stocked with New York’s finest products.

While the potato booth was in a new spot, the maple and honey exhibits were changed and the Fair’s first kosher food stand moved in, look-at-bees-16the Hort remains an anchor of the grounds and a reliable top performers when it comes to flowers and vegetable shows, educational displays on products grown and produced in the Empire State and unusual spots for dining or relaxing.

The popular butterfly blue-butterfly-16tent was refreshed as some exotic foreign breeds were imported.

 

Playing For Keeps

Wade Shows didn’t give us a count of how many games of chance set up on the expanded midway, but there did seem to be more–with one exception. State Fair Hound didn’t see any I Got It tents.

Otherwise there were plenty of chances to win at the 2016 New York State Fair.

This prospect stepped into a throw while trying to smash his way to victory.

This prospect stepped into a throw while trying to smash his way to victory.

A couple of big winners had tote their overstuffed prizes off the midway.

These big winners had to tote their overstuffed prizes off the midway.

 

Mane Gait

If you can’t go a week without visiting the New York State Fairgrounds, you don’t have to. There are horses shows continuing into fall, showcasing as variety of breeds in various events featuring both adults and youth. horse-show-aug-16This weekend it’s pintos, followed later by Morgans, quarter horses and others in the Coliseum and further down in the outdoor show ring.

One of the Restaurant Row stands often opens to serve horse owners and fans, so you may be able to feed your fair food appetite while you’re there. Details are listed on the Fair website.

Fortunately, you can get there without the ordeal of a traffic jam, horses-in-col-16driving right onto the grounds where you can park and attend for free, so saddle up and head out.

The Empire State Strikes Back

The post-game talk and ruminations continue following the record-smashing 2016 New York State Fair. Opinions, in this case, are somewhat like fried dough in that everybody has one.

There have been complaints from drivers caught in traffic, (Bumper-to-Bumper Cars, Sep. 8, 2016) vendors with sagging sales, patrons who couldn’t find their favorite features and country music fans who felt snubbed. main-gate-walkers-16

OK, there were issues. There’s plenty of time to work on them. But the first point to make is that this State Fair, the first ever to average more than 90,000 people per day, was an unmitigated success. The final attendance total, a stunning 1,117,630, is all the evidence needed. As much as the Fair is about fun, it’s primarily a business and there’s no doubt, a lot of people made a lot of money.

Incredibly, it can get even bigger. Consider, for example, the western end of the grounds, where there was what one State Fair Hound reader called “the great open nothingness.” Plans for use of the space out past the barns, near the racing stables, aren’t firm, but that opportunity is truly exciting in terms of potential use. riding-blue-elephant-16

Acting Director Troy Waffner has offered a glimpse into what may be coming, as have long-range ideas advanced by the Governor. The key has to be to make things fit together. More attractions down there mean more patrons, thus more opportunity for restaurants and other vendors. Remember, the Paw Patrol show was placed in that area and drew enormous throngs, so we know that if they build it, people will come.

Some critics have looked at what didn’t work so well in totally negative terms, as racing fans did with demolition of the Grandstand and track. But this year represents more progress and exciting prospects than anything else. Doubters need only take another look at that number–1,117,630.

Page 1 of 26

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén