Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski 518-457-0752
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August 03, 2015

It’s Down to the Final Week of Voting for the Great New York State Fair’s New “Star Spangled Challenge”

Competition Draws 263 Entries from Across New York State

Contestants Encouraged to Get Their Friends to Vote and Keep Voting Until Friday

There’s less than a week remaining before the Great New York State Fair announces the 12 winners of the “Star-Spangled Challenge” competition who will sing the national anthem live to open each day at the Fair.  Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner reminds contestants that there’s still time to get into the top 12, and voting continues on Facebook until this Friday, August 7.

The competition, in its first year, drew an amazing 263 entrants, who either uploaded to the Facebook contest site or sent by email a video of themselves singing the first verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  The deadline for entries has passed, but voting remains open. The winners will be the 12 competitors with the highest number of votes on their videos at noon on Friday.

“This competition is turning out to be a star-spangled success and I am following the final voting closely.  It’s clear there is a lot of untapped talent in New York State.  I can’t wait to see how it all turns out, but want to make sure to urge people to keep on voting for their favorites.  It might just come down to one vote,” said Waffner.

As of Monday morning, the top 12 entries are:

  • Roxanne Pickett Murphy of Ilion, with 16,054 votes
  • Amanda Golden of Horseheads, 15,910 votes
  • Jim DeCastro of West Islip, 13,297 votes
  • Emalee Herrington of Central Square, 12,228 votes
  • Denise Ritschel Craig of Syracuse, 12,081 votes
  • Hannah and Ashley Williams of Cicero, 12,001 votes
  • Damien Fraser of Ft. Drum, 11,785 votes
  • Rob Larrabee of Canton, 11,131 votes
  • Bridget Hartson of Rochester, 11,100 votes
  • Bryan Straub, no hometown given, 10,531 votes
  • Sarah Click of Rome, 10,265 votes
  • Vincent Sottile of Staten Island, 9,302 votes

Some competitors are within a few hundred votes of the top 12, and several others are well within striking distance.  As of Monday, more than 318,000 votes have been cast, with the average video receiving more than 1,200 votes.  “100 friends, each voting 10 times in a day, can make up 1,000 votes that day alone.  No one is out of this competition yet,” said Waffner.

Entries for the competition have come from every corner of New York State.  Contestants represent at least 35 of the state’s 62 counties and come from each of its regions:

  • Capital Region:  13 entries
  • Central New York:  162 entries
  • Finger Lakes:  16 entries
  • Long Island:  5 entries
  • Mohawk Valley:  24 entries
  • North Country:  11 entries
  • New York City:  3 entries
  • Southern Tier:  14 entries
  • Western New York:  4 entries

Another 10 entrants did not provide specific locations.

Any Facebook user can vote for any video in the competition and can vote as often as once per hour.  People interested in helping a friend’s video receive more votes can share the video on their own Facebook timelines, or post it to their Twitter or Pinterest accounts via one-click buttons on each entry.

The 12 winning contestants whose videos receive the most public votes will be notified of the date of their performance prior to the opening of the Fair.  Each winner will also receive four admission tickets, a parking pass, and a $40 voucher good for purchases at the Fair’s food stands.  Each performer will sing at 9:30 a.m. at Chevy Court, with their performance broadcast over the entire Fairgrounds to open the Fair day.  Performers will also sing the anthem at approximately 1 p.m. in the Toyota Coliseum to open the afternoon session of equestrian competitions.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 27 to September 7, 2015.  The Fair’s mission, reflected in its 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

List of Entrants by City and County

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