Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Joe Morrissey, 518-457-0752,
Dave Bullard, 315-487-7711 x 1377,

May 21, 2013

Veterans’ Memorial Watchfire Caps Fairgrounds’ Holiday Weekend

Horse, Goat Competitions Also Taking Place

State Agriculture Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine today announced the following events running from Thursday, May 23 – Monday, May 27, 2013 at the New York State Fairgrounds:

Veterans from around the region will gather at the Veterans’ Memorial Watchfire Park in the Fair’s Brown parking lot to hold the 2013 Watchfire on Sunday, May 26.  The huge bonfire is held each Memorial Day weekend.  The event is run by Chapter 103 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, which explains on its website that the Watchfire “stems from the military tradition that following a battle or long march, a large fire would be started so those missing or lost could locate and rejoin their comrades.  Using that time honored model symbolically, we use the warmth and light of our Watchfire to guide everyone to join us in reflection of those comrades who have gone before us and made our nation strong through their service and sacrifice.”

People are also encouraged to bring their worn or tattered United States flags to the bonfire, so they can be disposed of in a proper and respectful manner.

The ceremony and bonfire begins at dusk, approximately 8 p.m.  There is no admission charge.  Food and drink is available from vendors.

Also at the Fairgrounds this weekend, the concluding weekend of the New York State Horse Breeders Association show takes place.  From Thursday, May 23 – Monday, May 27, horses and riders will be judged in more than 500 classes.  Events take place throughout the day at the Toyota Coliseum and are free for the public to attend. 

The Swine, Goat, and Llama Barn is the setting for the Empire State Boer Goat Show, taking place on Saturday and Sunday, May 25 and 26.  These goats will be judged in several categories, including showmanship. Admission is free.

The New York State Fair runs from August 22 – September 2, 2013.  The Fair’s theme is “Sharing the Bounty and Pride of New York.” 

In addition to the annual New York State Fair, the Fairgrounds host dozens of agricultural events throughout the year, including some of the Northeast’s most prestigious horse and livestock shows.

The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair’s website.  Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook or follow NYS Fair on Twitter. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas on the Great New York State Fair at

2013 Press Releases