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

May 19, 2014

Veterans Groups’ Watchfire Marks Memorial Day Weekend at the New York State Fairgrounds

Horse Show, Goat Show Also Taking Place This Weekend

Acting New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner today announced the following events running from Thursday, May 22 to Sunday, May 25 at the New York State Fairgrounds:

A memorial to the service and sacrifice of members of the American Armed Forces will light the evening skies this weekend at the New York State Fairgrounds.  Members of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Central New York Chapter #103 hold their annual Watchfire Sunday evening, May 25.  The Watchfire is a large bonfire that honors those who served the cause of freedom.  It stems from the tradition of a unit starting a large fire after a major battle or march so that lost comrades could find their way back.

Donations of wooden pallets for the fire have already begun to arrive at Veterans Memorial Watchfire Park, in the Brown parking lot of the Fairgrounds.  Sunday evening, at dusk, the massive fire will be lit.

People who have worn, tattered or otherwise unserviceable American flags to dispose of can bring them to event representatives for proper legal disposal.

Food and drink vendors will be available though people are welcome to bring their own food. The Veterans Administration will staff a tent to offer information to veterans about their benefits.  Admission is free.  More information is available at

Also this coming weekend, the New York State Horse Breeders Association holds the second weekend of its horse show, starting Thursday in the Toyota Coliseum.  And the Empire State Boer Goat Show takes place in the Goat, Llama, and Swine Barn beginning Saturday.  Admission to both events is free.

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