State Fair Hound

An independent view of the New York State Fair

Category: Around the grounds (Page 1 of 7)

Western Skyscraper

Progress continues on the new event center at the New York State Fair. EC ENDCompletion is expected by opening day, though the area will still be under construction during the Syracuse Nationals in July.


If you’re wondering about the exact location of the new building, it’s going up at the western end of the grounds, near the Youth Building and the Talent Showcase stage, just past the sheep barn. EC POLESRiding the Broadway Skyliner to its western terminus would be the most fun way to get there.

Snow before Shows

A winter weekend visit to the new York State Fairgrounds revealed snowy, deserted Chevrolet Court. In just over six months, sun-warmed benches and passionate fans will fill this space.

A winter weekend visit to the new York State Fairgrounds revealed a snowy, deserted Chevrolet Court. In just over six months, sun-warmed benches and passionate fans will fill this space twice daily to cheer on performances. Picturing a green, noisy, tree-shaded Chevy Court starts the anticipation of opening day.  

Falling Away

A recent trip to the New York State Fairgrounds, now over a month after closing with a bang on a record Labor Day, was stunning in how empty the site looks despite a large RV sale and a popular horse show. SL POSTS 17

The long-range vista is now permanently defined by posts left in place after disassembly of the Broadway Skyliner. Memories of off-season visitors will be stimulated by the 35-foot-high orange beams, now stripped of the seats.




So far, the colorful mural painted during the Fair still stands in the Times Square area. ARCY WALL 17State Fair info guy Dave Bullard tells The Hound that the plan is for the wall to remain a part of the grounds, in a yet-to-be-determined location

Upbeat in a Downpour

State Fair Hound salutes Fair fans who came out on day 12 despite the rain. This tenacious bunch camped out at Chevy Court all day for a concert.

RAINY CC 17It’s not too soon to stock up on raingear for next year. If you’re properly equipped, every day at the Fair is a great day.

Map Quest

Visitors to the 2017 New York State Fair were most likely better oriented to recent layout changes and more able to locate their favorite vendors and attractions. The Fair used a creative, low-tech method to assist them by floating balloons over various areas to lead people to them.   MKT PLACE BALLOON 17That kind of creativity and resourcefulness, complemented by more modern techniques, such as drone-assisted monitoring of parking and traffic, are needed as the Fair continues to grow.

Last Call

MG NIGHT 17The New York State Fair fades away Monday night. It’s a spectacular show, not to be missed.

Admission Labor Day is just a dollar and all midway rides are also a buck.

After Kool and the Gang wraps up the Chevy Court concert series, fireworks will punctuate the finale.

The forecast is for a beautiful day, more seasonable than the past few, so expect fun seekers to pour through the gates and plan ahead.

It’s been an unforgettable, landmark Fair, but it’s not over yet. If you haven’t been there, don’t miss this last chance. If you went already, go again. You won’t get another chance until Aug. 22, 2018.

Star Search

Every August, the grassy yard in front of the Youth Building on the grounds of the New York State Fair is transformed into a tent city. Young performers and their families arrived early to pitch the makeshift dressing rooms to allow scores of talented kids to don their costumes and apply make-up to their wrinkle-free faces in preparation for a brief turn in the spotlight at the Talent Showcase

Each contestant will cross the blacktop walkway andBALLET GIRL 15 climb the stairs to stage level for their chance to be part of the State Fair version of American Idol. Every year about 2000 aspiring stars put their talent and dreams to the test, their sights set on taking home the grand prize in their age group. There are the minis, ages 12 and under and the maxis, over 12.

While the youngsters clearly get a thrill from their time in the spotlight, parents and coaches revel in the reflection, packing the bleachers to applaud and shoot photos or videos of their little stars. A trio of judges reviews each round from a tower that faces the stage, with the 10 top-rated acts chosen from each preliminary event to advance to the semi-final round on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. The champion is crowned at the finals on Labor Day.

Perfect Pitches

Every year the New York State Fair’s Center of Progress building hosts dozens of vendors who pitch their products with the chutzpa, showmanship and humor.

It’s a unique sales method since fairgoers may not be ready to buy the gadgets, cleaners, polishes, housewares and toys that abound in the Center of Progress Building. COOKWARE 17So the sales pitch has also to be a show, entertaining and enticing the visitors to stop and see what’s going on instead of strolling by. They make some lofty promises that spark some onlookers to reach for their wallets and others to scurry toward the door.

Keep in mind that just as the sales people need to be highly skilled to make a living selling at fairs, the consumers have to use some skills of their own to make sure their getting their money’s worth. It’s trickier than buying in a local department store or specialty shop, since theses sale people will be long gone in a few days. Some products clearly display the name and address of the manufacturer on the packaging, but some don’t offer a hint. LADDER GUY 17That may be one reason you should pay with a credit card if possible, since your Visa or Mastercard bill will list the company name and city.

One big advantage is that you can buy infomercial products without paying shipping, while still getting a good deal.


One of the most photographed locales on the grounds of the new York State Fair is the reflecting pool in front of the Horticulture Building. Night and day, the shimmering water, landscaped perimeter and magnificent, tiled archway combine to make for some beautiful portraits, HORT NIGHT NP 14like this one by State Fair Hound photographer Nick LoPresti.

The Hound has theorized that a makeover of the area could be done that would increase the beauty of that grassy courtyard, replacing the pond with a smaller, more artistic fountain with fancy brickwork and colored spotlights. An auxiliary benefit would be more space for exhibits or picnic tables.

Maybe someday. For now, the pond is a relaxing and pretty spot surrounded by graceful trees. It’s especially nice if you can grab a bench during a quiet time. It can serve as a reminder that our Fair can be enjoyed for something other than excitement, bustle and thrills.


Sweet Dreams

The sweet velvet of maple syrup, one of Empire State’s favorite products does a booming business annually from its prime location in the Horticulture Building. Rightly so, MAPLE STAND 17as the New York is the second largest maple-producing state in the US, following a tradition that dates back to the first maple sap gatherers, Native Americans.

New York Maple Producers’ massive stand occupies 1200 square feet where more than two dozen consignors display an inspired variety of products to satisfy rabid maple lovers. Maple sugar, candy, granola, popcorn, cotton candy, coated peanuts or cashews, spreads, creams and flavored coffee all occupy shelf space.

Maple ice cream has proven a strong seller from its corner counter with soft serve cones or bowls, milkshakes, slushies and snow cones. Every year there are free samples handed out to acquaint passers-by with what’s new. SYRUP 17Containers of syrup ranging from 3-ounce bottles to gallon jugs, glass or plastic, including decorative bottles that make better gifts than the tacky trinkets sold on the midway.

In addition to the economic boost from sales to Fairgoers, maple producers compete for bragging rights by entering their products for judging. A glass trophy case displays winners of ribbons in State Fair competition for syrup, candy, creams, condiments and treats.

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