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

April 24, 2014

New York State Fair Competitions Offer Thousands a Chance to Show Their Best Work

Registration Now Open for Dozens of Competitions

Did you know that the Great New York State Fair runs an annual competition for antique automobiles and tractors, and another for pigeons, and a third for carving watermelons?  They are among the scores of competitions that will take place during the 2014 Fair.  Registration is now underway for most competitions.

Most competitions are true to the Fair’s agricultural roots and mandate, such as the competitions for horses and livestock, flower arranging, and dairy products.  However, others encompass the arts.  The annual fine arts competition, which occupies the entire second floor of the Art & Home Center, is one example, and the daily talent competition on the Talent Showcase stage is another.  In 2013, more than 6,000 people submitted approximately 28,000 entries in 275 categories.

Among the new competitions this year is one called “Bucket of Junk.” Teams of competitors must make an identifiable object using only the odds and ends in their buckets.  The items in each bucket are identical.  Also new this year is a watermelon carving event, in which people try to make the best design they can from the watermelon and various pieces of fruit that they bring from home.  Each competition happens on just one day, and each is limited to 10 participants.

Any New York State resident can enter a New York State Fair competition and you do not have to win a local competition in order to compete.  Some competition winners earn a share of more than $200,000 in cash prizes.  Others receive medals or ribbons.  Daily winners of the culinary competition have their creations sampled on live television. 

“These competitions serve the purpose of drawing attention to our agricultural industries and also draw attention to the New Yorkers who grow and make the food and beverages enjoyed by people around the world.  They do vital work, and our competitions are the very heart of the Great New York State Fair,” said Richard A. Ball, Acting New York State Commissioner of Agriculture.

“Our competitions reflect the diversity and strength of New York agriculture and are among the more popular destinations for fairgoers.  And for our competitors, it’s a chance to show what they can do.  These competitions also prove that our passions can also be a lot of fun,” said Troy Waffner, Acting Director of the New York State Fair.

Some deadlines for entries are approaching.  Competition rules, deadlines, and entry forms can be found on the New York State Fair website, located at  Most entry forms can be filled out and submitted online.  However, competitors who prefer printed information can have it sent through the mail by calling the State Fair at 487-7711 extension 1337. 

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 21 September 1, 2014.  The Fair’s mission, reflected in its 2014 theme, “Summer’s Best in Show,” is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment. 

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, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, and enjoy photos from the Fair at Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at

2014 Press Releases