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

May 21, 2014

With Three Months to Go, the Great New York State Fair Gears Up to Put on a Top Notch Show for Nearly One Million Tourists this Summer

2014 Fair Increases Promotion of Agriculture While Improving Infrastructure and Entertainment to Enhance the Overall Experience for Fairgoers

There’s an excitement in the air as the Great New York State Fair, the state’s largest agritourism and entertainment complex, enters the three month countdown to one of the biggest attractions in Upstate New York.  State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball and Acting State Fair Director Troy Waffner today touted a number of improvements across the Fairgrounds in agriculture, infrastructure and entertainment that will make the 2014 Great New York State Fair one to remember. 

The Great New York State Fair takes place from August 21 through September 1.  This year’s theme is “Summer’s Best in Show” and its tagline is “New Attractions, Old Favorites, Timeless Traditions.”

“At its core, the Fair is not only about tradition, but about educating people about agriculture and the great products made by hard working farmers and producers from across New York State,” said Commissioner Ball.  “We’re going to do a great job directing fairgoers to the best in New York agriculture this year.  We’ve made capital improvements to a number of our barns, and already demonstrated our commitment to the care and welfare of the thousands of animals who come through our gates.  We have three months to go and a lot of work left to do, but in the end this Fair is going to stand out as one that puts agriculture first.”  

Enhancing the Agritourism Experience for Fairgoers:

Every year, the Great New York State Fair plays host to between 9,000 and 10,000 animals entering a wide range of competitions during the 12 day Fair.  These include over 3,000 horses, more than 1,000 dairy and beef cattle, along with hundreds of sheep, goats, rabbits and swine, to name a few.  Tours can be arranged in the Dairy Barn upon request so that Fairgoers can learn firsthand from farmers about these animals.

In addition, veterinarians are on site 24 hours a day throughout the 12 day Fair, checking animals in, conducting daily visits to the barns, and checking on animals when they’re injured or sick. 

“When animals are here, they are our responsibility and we take that responsibility very seriously,” said State Veterinarian Dr. David Smith.  “Our staff work extremely hard during Fair season to give fairgoers an enjoyable and educational experience, while making sure that animals arrive healthy and remain healthy throughout the Fair.  We look forward to a great educational show in Central New York in three months.”
In addition to what individual livestock and bird owners bring to the Fairgrounds, in a given year the Fair will also purchase upwards of 200 bales of straw, more than 2,000 bags of shavings (at 3.25 cubic feet), 120 bales of hay, 325 cubic yards of sawdust, and 1,000 cubic yards of bark, just to provide comfort to the animals during their temporary stay at the Fairgrounds. 

The Fairgrounds also plays host to at least 30 horse shows a year.  This past winter, the DVM Horse Barn underwent the first half of a major reconstruction.  Half of the barn has been renovated, and the other half will be done after the horse show season concludes this fall.  In addition to the obvious improvements in the stalls, all of the windows along the top of the barn have been repaired so they can be opened and closed.  All of the lower level windows can also be opened and closed easily as they are no longer behind the stall walls.  These modifications should help improve ventilation in the barn and also aid in animal comfort.  In addition, all stalls are equipped with rings to easily hang feed and water buckets.  Tie rings are attached to each of the side walls for cross tying horses. 

In addition to the improvements at the DVM Barn, the back area of the FFA Building is being painted and graded, and fencing is being put up to accommodate their competitions.  This will also provide FFA students with an opportunity to house livestock if they so choose.

And at the world famous Potato Booth, which at a dollar a potato is still one of the best deals at the Fair, staff are working with SUNY Cobleskill to have potato plants placed in a glass terrarium to help educate the public on how and where potatoes are grown.

More announcements concerning agriculture at the Fair are planned for the weeks and months ahead.

Highlighting the Best in Entertainment:

“We had an early start in lining up our entertainment for 2014 and it shows,” said Acting Director Waffner.  “In 2014, we will have an exciting mix of talent on all of our stages, showing diversity and a range of musical genres.  The State Fair Advisory Board, especially Bea Gonzalez, was instrumental in helping us narrow down the talent for 2014 and we believe that Fairgoers will be very excited for the entertainment we have lined up this year.”

The Grandstand Concert Series will feature Brad Paisley with Randy Houser, Charlie Worsham, and Leah Turner on Thursday, August 21; Pitbull on Saturday, August 23; Train with the Wallflowers on Tuesday, August 26; Carrie Underwood on Wednesday, August 27; Journey with Cheap Trick on Thursday, August 28; and Jason Aldean with Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr on Saturday, August 30. 

Ticket prices are the same whether tickets are bought online at, on the phone at 1-800-514-3849, or in person at the box office. 

At the Chevy Court Concert Series, Kellie Pickler will take the stage on opening day on Thursday, August 21 at 2 p.m. Acts previously announced for the Chevy Court stage include: Chef Anne Burrell, at 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 27; Herman’s Hermits Starring Peter Noone, at 2:00 p.m., Monday, August 25; John Kay and Steppenwolf, at 8:00 p.m., Monday, August 25; Bowzer’s Rock & Roll Party, at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, August 26; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday, August 27; Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, at 8:00 p.m., Friday, August 29; and The Doobie Brothers, at 6:00 p.m., Monday, September 1. 

In addition to the Grandstand and Chevy Court, the Midway Music Series, the Regional Artists Stage, and the Pan-African Village stages host a number of musical and variety acts throughout the 12-day Fair.  Two couples who have appeared on the hit shows “Big Brother” and “The Amazing Race” Rachel Reilly and Brendon Villegas, and Jordan Lloyd and Jeff Schroeder - will tell their stories of finding love amidst cutthroat competition on the Midway Music Series Stage at the Great New York State Fair at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, August 31.

More announcements concerning the Grandstand, Chevy Court and the Midway Music Series will be made in the near future.

Improving the Infrastructure of Buildings Across the Fairgrounds:

“Our infrastructure is what keeps the Fair going and we’ve made a lot of improvements over the past year with a direct focus on 2014,” said Acting Director Waffner. 

Recent renovations have been made to the Science and Industry Building.  Some structures that had been built over the years inside the building were removed.  HVAC equipment was installed and the building itself got a fresh coat of paint.  All of this was accomplished in time to host one of the largest shows of the season, the New York Farm Show, in February 2014.  Show organizers had been asking Fairgrounds managers for more space.  This renovation created a new space for multi-building shows and a compact space for a smaller, single-building show. 

New stairs have also been installed on the back side of the Colonnade, and an accessible entrance is being built in front of the Fair’s Administration Building.  New roofs are going on top of the Art & Home Center, the Wiles Room, and two permanent concession stands.

Plans this year also call for repaving approximately two miles of roads, including the road in front of the Administration Building, along with a stretch of road starting at Gate 2, and the Gate 7 road. 

Amenities for Fairgoers and Customers:

Navigating the Fairgrounds will also be easier than ever this year.  The Fair has posted street name signs at each intersection as part of a project with emergency management agencies to provide a street address for each of the Fairgrounds’ more than 100 buildings.  In addition, new signage will make it easier to identify a given building.  Large maps and electronic signs will also be installed prior to the opening of the Fair.  Other security enhancements are under way.

A new patio seating area will be installed at the entrance to the International Building, providing more places for foot-weary Fairgoers to take a short break or have a quick snack.

WiFi hotspots at strategic gathering places on the Fairgrounds are also under consideration this year, as are misting stations.

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 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