Today State Fair Hound introduces its new header photo, cropped from a shot taken on Labor Day, 2016 by Hound photographer Nick LoPresti. The previous header featured the most beautiful ride ever on our midway, Strates Shows’ wave swinger, also seen through Nick’s lens. Alas, Wades Shows doesn’t have a wave swinger, so photos will have to sustain us from here on out.
There are plenty of reasons to visit the Fairgrounds in autumn.
Some Americans are observing Columbus Day this week, recognizing the 15th century explorer credited with “discovering” the continents of the western hemisphere. A growing movement takes another approach, recognizing that the Americas was already inhabited by many civilizations when Columbus landed in the West Indies and his arrival was a precursor to centuries of genocide, brutality and exploitation.
The New York State Fair honors Native American culture and history, primarily within the Iroquois Village, one of the most popular attractions on the grounds, where descendants of the original inhabitants of New York provide entertainment, traditional food, education and exhibitions to Fairgoers.
The venerable people of the Six Nations, whose Great Law of Peace inspired the United States Constitution, are an indispensable part of the Fair every year. Thus, State Fair Hound salutes the Haudenosaunee people on Indigenous Peoples Day.
Though there may be improvements in available transportation, as suggested in State Fair Hound’s Sep. 26 post, Travel Channel, many people will continue to walk the middle section of the Fair, where the midway runs along between Broadway on one side and the RV park on the other. The addition of more oases with shade, seating and amenities is needed and The Hound has a suggestion. Most of the rest stops this year were tables with umbrellas, which is fine as far as it goes. Bigger, sturdier structures would be a good idea, not only for the protection and comfort they provide, but to give that area a classier, neighborhood look.
Picture wooden pavilions like those in state park picnic grounds, covering tables along with snack or drink vendors and possibly some entertainment. Maybe some clever designer could make them easily assembled and removed to maintain the flexibility that the Fair cherishes.
That same concept may be a good idea for some the food vendors who occupied tents this year. Sure, they can do business under a canopy, but rows of tents give the feel of a second-rate county fair. Sandwiched between the high-tech midway rides and the lovely permanent buildings, they just looked a little shabby. The Hound wouldn’t be against the idea of building permanent stands, two or three under one roof, as modeled on Restaurant Row. It’s very expensive, but may be worth some money, especially if helps to keep established vendors who are willing to make long-term investments in their annual businesses.
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. It 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 that’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.
In 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.