State Fair Hound

An independent view of the New York State Fair

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Village Voices

As always, the Pan African Village was the site of stylish musical events at the 2017 New York State Fair.

This singer/guitarist fronted a band that played the stage one afternoon.

This singer/guitarist fronted a band that played the stage one afternoon.

 

John Heard gave drumming lessons to visitors.

John Heard gave drumming lessons to visitors.

Coming Attraction

State Fair Hound’s review of the 2017 New York State Fair continues today with a look a one big change that didn’t quite hit the big time yet. The Empire Experience area had its pond, a big stage, a tiki bar and plenty of open area for vendors and exhibitors. POND DAY 1 17But it didn’t seem to catch on with Fair patrons as it was under attended most of the time. It will gain popularity, maybe next year.

People just need to pay attention to what’s happening down there and realize they can catch a tram or ride the Skyliner to get there. The potential is certainly there, but 2017 was its infancy.

Midway Magic

Looking back on the 13-day New York State Fair just past, there were lots of hits and a few misses. The Hound’s review starts today with the spectacular Wade Shows midway. NIGHT RIDES 17The headline was the addition of the Broadway Skyliner, a structure destined to define the Fair in future years. But the incredible number of rides and games and the sprawling, open layout make this playground a paradise for kids of all ages. The were services, seating, snack stands and even a return of the I Got It game tents. It was bright, splashy, noisy and very exciting.

Retro Look

With New York State Fair 2017 in the history book, State Fair Hound has some great memories to share.

Views of the new Broadway Skyliner were breathtaking from the air or the ground.

Views of the new Broadway Skyliner were breathtaking from the air or the ground.

 

Hundreds of teens brought their hard work and unbridled enthusiasm to livestock competitions.

Hundreds of teens brought their hard work and unbridled enthusiasm to livestock competitions.

 

Technology took its place among Center of Progress vendors.

Technology took its place among Center of Progress vendors.

Some old favorites got new looks.

Some old favorites got new looks.

 

Great entertainment filled every corner.

Great entertainment filled every corner.

 

 

What a Blast

Standing near the Chevy Court stage with a cold New York draft beer in hand, basking in an explosive 15-minute fireworks spectacle, was a great way to cap off Labor Day and a record-smashing New York State Fair. FIREWORKS 1 17The warm glow of the main gate was the perfect backdrop, as seen in this photo from Nick LoPresti. Meanwhile there were still thousands of people swarming the grounds for one last spin on a midway ride or a final taste of glorious Fair chow.

The final count came in at just shy of 1,162,000. In case you missed it, if you held onto some $6 advance-sale tickets, instead paying just a buck on those impromptu special-price days, you can use those tickets next year–quite a bonus.

More review, analysis and commentary coming up over the next few days from State Fair Hound.

Giant Leap

If there’s one word that can be used to describe the 2017 New York State Fair, it’s “big.” Make that “enormous.”

Our Fair has always been one of the largest in the country and the layout changes for 2016 increased useable space significantly. DAIRY BLDG REAR 17But with this year’s opening of the Empire Experience grounds, the view from the Broadway Skyliner really emphasized that this is one massive, impressive event. Consider this; There was so much space inside the perimeter that some areas seemed empty, unused. Future plans for those open spots assure that the growth will continue.

Even when over 100,000 people invaded the grounds, it didn’t seem extremely crowded. There were bottlenecks, like the corner between the dairy cattle barn and the Ox Roast, leading to the colonnade, VIEW FROM COL 17that were difficult to navigate, but there are fewer such tight spots.

Though attendance numbers don’t tell the whole story, you remember when one million visitors was the magic number–the holy grail. After the past two Fairs, anything less would be disappointing.

As Fair lovers look back on 2017, they may shiver remembering the chilly temperatures or grimace looking back on the traffic jams–though this year was a definite improvement over 2016. But only a really hardcore curmudgeon can see this fabulous event as anything less than amazing, exciting, delicious and yes–very big.

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.

Heavy Court

The Chevrolet Court lineup brought out thousands of music fans, including State Fair Hound photographer Nick LoPresti.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Lynyrd Skynyrd

Earth Wind and Fire

Earth Wind and Fire

Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits

Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits

Kansas

Kansas

 

The Beach Boys

The Beach Boys

Kids Stuff

Kids seem to have the most fun at the New York State Fair. State Fair Hound caught these youngsters getting into it around the grounds.

This little guy hung on while riding a mechanical bull.

This little guy hung on while riding a mechanical bull.

 

These kids chatted with a Haudenosaunee man in traditional garb while visiting the Iroquois Village.

These kids chatted with a Haudenosaunee man in traditional garb while visiting the Iroquois Village.

 

This quartet performed at the Talent Showcase.

This quartet performed at the Talent Showcase.

 

The 4-H Youth Building provided a hands-on opportunity for these kids.

The 4-H Youth Building provided a hands-on opportunity for these kids.

 

 

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.

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