With less than a month until the 165th Great New York State Fair, Director Daniel D. OHara is driving all over the state to promote the event he claims will create a smile a minute.
From baby giraffes to goats, he said, the fair, which runs from Aug. 23 to Sept. 3 at the Empire Expo Center in Syracuse, has something for everyone, whether theyre agriculturally minded or not.
In years past, it primarily focused on Central New York, Mr. OHara said. Now, were starting to see a draw from the capital region, some from the Mohawk Valley, upstate New York and in the western part of the state.
Anywhere from 970,000 to one million people visit the fair each year.
This is the largest state-sponsored entertainment and education venue, Mr. OHara said. We really created a venue that appeals to a wide variety of interests.
The grandstand will be packed with popular musicians such as Keith Urban and Godsmack. Additionally, free shows will be featured in Chevy Court.
Mr. OHara said a new feature to the fair will be enhanced signage in the agriculture building to educate fairgoers on the impact of farming on the state economy. He said it is his mission to promote agriculture at the fair.
You have some great county fairs, he said. Some of the winners of the different entries will now come to the state fair.
He stressed the gate fees are extremely affordable. Day tickets are $6 in advance and $10 at the fair gates. Locally, advance tickets may be purchased at Price Chopper, Big M and Tops locations. Grandstand tickets will cost $25 to $65, depending on the act and preferred seat.
In addition, a Best Bets Bargain Book stuffed full of fair coupons will be available this year. The coupon books are sold for $4 each before the fair at advance-ticket locations and for $5 at the fair.
A family can get four drinks and a pizza for $12, said Jason J. Ryan, specialty acts coordinator.
For those who come for the food and the rides, the fair has one of the largest midways in the country, according to Mr. OHara.
Mr. Ryan said there will be long john doughnut hot dogs wrapped in bacon and glazed with maple syrup that will top last years big kahuna doughnut burger. And that is in addition to the typical fried potatoes and sausage sandwiches.
Other features will include a butterfly garden, pig and dachshund races, a monster truck show and an exotic petting zoo featuring giraffes and baboons.
The Great New York State Fair is your fair, Mr. OHara said. Leave all your troubles at the gate and just enjoy yourself.
For more information on the Great New York State Fair or to find an advance ticket sale location, visit www.nysfair.org.