Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

August 21, 2008

Governor Paterson Kicks off 162nd Great New York State Fair

"Governor’s Day" Marks Traditional Opening Day Ceremonies at State Fair

Governor’s Visit Focuses on New York State Agriculture

Governor David A. Paterson today opened the 162nd Great New York State Fair in Syracuse with a tour of the fairgrounds that focused on New York’s extensive agricultural economy. The State Fair traditionally opens with "Governor’s Day," and Governor Paterson’s ceremonial ribbon cutting officially began the 12-day event. The Fair features more than 200 acres of exhibits, rides, food and entertainment from August 21st through Labor Day, Monday, September 1st.

"Our state is truly blessed with a bounty of riches when it comes to locally grown and produced food, and the Great New York State Fair is the perfect opportunity for families to experience the very best of New York State," said Governor Paterson. "The State Fair enables our extensive agriculture economy to showcase all it has to offer. Congratulations to all who exhibit here at the New York State Fair and share their talents, accomplishments and products with the nearly one million people who visit the Fair every year."

Agriculture is one of New York’s largest and most vital industries, encompassing 25 percent of the State’s landscape and generating more than $4.5 billion for the State’s economy each year. New York has 7.5 million acres of farmland with more than 34,000 farms. The State is also a leader in a variety of farm products, ranking first in cottage cheese, second in apples, cabbage and maple syrup, and third in milk, grapes and cauliflower

Following the ceremonial ribbon cutting to officially open the Fair, Governor Paterson visited some of the traditional favorites on the fairgrounds. His stops included the Dairy Products Building with the Rainbow Milk Bar and the butter sculpture--which will be turned into biofuel by students at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry after the Fair. The Governor also enjoyed a sausage sandwich from Gianelli’s, a popular dining spot for fairgoers. Other traditional favorites of the Fair include the livestock exhibits, which have shows taking place daily, and the free concerts offered at Chevy Court. Additionally, thanks to legislation signed by Governor Paterson last month, fairgoers will also now be able to sample glasses of New York State wine at three different locations and walk around the fair while enjoying their wine.

Since the first State Fair in 1841, the variety and quality of exhibits and entertainment have amazed and impressed fairgoers of all ages. Some of the highlights this year include the Pride of New Marketplace, a new country store just inside the Main Gate where more than 230 food products made in New York will be offered for sale. The farmers’ market inside the Horticulture Building has also been expanded to allow visitors to purchase fresh New York State produce daily, which is a first for the State Fair.

Patrick Hooker, New York State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner, said: "I’ve spent a lot of time at this fair as a kid and still today, it is one of my favorite destinations. The staff at the State Fair have worked tirelessly this past year to make improvements, attract new exhibitors, all while balancing traditional favorites with exciting new entertainment to make this the best Fair ever. While the animals and agricultural exhibits remain the backbone of this twelve day event, there is a lot more to see and do. Don’t miss out. Load up the car and bring the entire family out to the Great New York State Fair."

Dan O’Hara, New York State Fair Director, said: "The New York State Fair is the perfect opportunity for families to experience the best of New York State. It has become an annual tradition for thousands of families looking for an affordable way to end the summer having fun together. They come to see educational displays and entertaining acts. They come for the thrill of the midway rides and games of skill. They come for the mouth-watering variety of food. And, perhaps most importantly, they come for the agricultural exhibits that showcase the proudest achievements of New York’s farmers; but most importantly are the agricultural exhibits that enable our farmers to showcase their best and proudest achievements. People will see a lot of tradition at the 162nd New York State Fair, but they’ll also see many exciting additions and improvements. We’ve made a lot of positive changes - building on the successes of pervious fair administrations - that we think Fairgoers will notice and appreciate. "

For more information about the Great New York State Fair, or for directions, ticket information, concert line-ups and more, visit the New York State Fair website at

2008 Press Releases