State Fair Hound

An independent view of the New York State Fair

Month: October 2014

Autumn Wildlife

A visit to the Fairgrounds over this past weekend gave a glimpse into off-season life at the home of our favorite event. The Empire Alpaca Extravaganza is a terrific annual show and the wooly ones didn’t disappoint. It’s a great festival that really showcases one of nature’s true wonders in a way that sparks interest and admiration for them.

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Most of the grounds were quiet with autumn foliage bringing color that remind of that ubiquitous neon dominating just two months ago. We did see this horse and trainer working on the track and a resident woodchuck enjoying the sunny day near the midway.

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The next big event is Harvest Fest Saturday and there are more events throughout the fall, so why not drop by the Fairgrounds?

Alpaca Fun

Following the Hound’s Sep. 30 post, about fall activities at the Fairgrounds, Falling For the Fairgrounds, we heard from Kara Lynn Dunn who reminded us about a terrific annual event that’s coming up on Oct. 25 and 26 in the cow barn. The Empire Alpaca Extravaganza is a free event that brings in farmers and ranchers from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, including 16 New York State farms, all here to display their alpacas, the South American cousin of their camel, revered for having soft and amazingly warm wool.

These llama relatives are increasingly popular in the United States, particularly in northern states where they are unfazed by cold temperatures and content to graze on grass. The nationally-certified free event will feature competitions, seminars, a fleece competition, youth activities, a fiber arts demonstration and a vendor marketplace. Some animals will be sold over the weekend and visitors will be encouraged to explore alpaca ownership as a business opportunity.


Sixth Day Farms of Brockport will be at the 2014 Empire Alpaca Extravaganza with alpacas from its herd of more than 100. Farm owners Wayne and Leann Jarvis have developed a selective breeding program specializing in fine white huacayas noted for animals with premium fiber quality throughout their lifetime. Alexandra Weaver is seen here with Synergy’s Queen Bea who will be at the show. Photo provided by the Empire Alpaca Association.

The extravaganza is a great family event as the personable alpacas fill the barn, often within petting range. Baby alpacas, known as crias, are especially adorable. Early Christmas shoppers can find sweaters, gloves, socks, hats and other apparel items of unparalleled quality and wearability, some woven in the US from animals raised here and fiber woven by American crafters. Extravaganza hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. each day.

For more information, visit the organization’s website,

Foiled Again

The Hound is having a hard time understanding how New York State can justify its refusal to release to media copies of the contracts under which performers played the 2014 New York State Fair. The request covers both Chevrolet Court, where Joan Jett (photo by Nick LoPresti), among others, played, as well as the Grandstand, where Train (photo from their Wikipedia site) was one of the headliners.

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An Oct. 1, 2014 article by Chris Baker on reports that the Dept. of Agriculture and Markets has three times delayed release of the contracts requested under the Freedom of Information Act. These are records held by a government agency that should be readily available with a minimum of red tape.


Someone should remind Gov. Cuomo that we’re talking about our money paying for these shows. These contracts have been released for past Fairs and they should be released for this one without further delay.

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