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

August 10, 2015

Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Beef Day at the Great New York State Fair, Tuesday, September 1

Featuring the Annual Media Grill-Off and the “Create the Perfect Burger” Contest

New This Year, Post a Selfie and Have a Burger Donated to the Food Bank of Central New York to Kick-Off “Hunger Action” Month

The Great New York State Fair has been officially celebrating New York State’s beef industry for two decades, and this year, the State Fair’s official Beef Day will be held on Tuesday, September 1, Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner announced today. Last year, more than 63,000 people attended Beef Day.

“Beef Day is always an exciting day at the Fairgrounds, and with cook-offs, contests and educational activities throughout the day, this special day helps us highlight this important industry,” said Acting Director Troy Waffner. “Beef Day gives fairgoers the chance to learn more about beef farming from the producers themselves.”

This year, the kick-off to Beef Day will begin at 10 a.m. at the Chevy Court Pavilion with a proclamation read by State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball, commemorating 20 successful years of showcasing New York State’s beef industry at the Great New York State Fair.

“I look forward to celebrating this milestone at the Great New York State Fair with the many cattle farmers from across the state,” said Commissioner Ball. “Because of specialty days such as this, fairgoers have a real opportunity to learn more about where there food comes from and better understand the importance of the local beef industry to New York State’s agricultural economy as a whole.”

During this year’s Beef Day, the New York Beef Council will host two cook-offs. The first, the 20th Annual Media grill-off—also known as the “Branding Iron Chef”— will begin at 10:10 a.m. under the Chevy Court Pavilion. At its start in 1996, this event was a one man broadcast but today, personalities from television and radio programs from the Syracuse area are challenged to create a burger masterpiece in one hour.

The second cook-off of the day will also be held at the Chevy Court Pavilion at 12:30 p.m. Created nearly a decade ago, the “Create the Perfect Burger” contest will bring ten finalists from across the state to the Fair to compete against one another based on pre-submitted recipes. The ten finalists grill their original recipes for the chance to win the grand prize of $500 and the most important recognition of being deemed “Perfect” by the judges.

Fairgoers are also encouraged to visit the Beef Barn, which will have activities running all day on September 1.  There will be opportunities to tour the barn, guess the weight of a bull, toss a hay bale and to see which heifer wins the “Grand Champion.”

New this year, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Beef Day, the New York Beef Council and Tops Markets will be helping the Food Bank of Central New York kick-off “Hunger Action” month by encouraging fairgoers to take a selfie with a “Look What I Did, I just donated a Tops Market Hamburger” sign and post it across various social media channels using the hashtag #BeefDayFeedsNY!  For every selfie taken with the New York Beef Council sign, a burger will be donated to the Food Bank of Central New York.

New York Beef Council Director of Public Relations and Promotions Jean O’Toole said, “Beef Day’s annual celebration at the Fair is a day we can focus on the #1 protein on restaurant menus and consumer’s plates across New York State.  Beef Day enables consumers to celebrate, praise and thank our cattle farming community for a job well done!”

Brenda Bippert, owner of WBB Farm in Erie County and New York Beef Producers Association member, said, “We appreciate people coming to the beef barn and conversing with our producers.  We encourage fairgoers to ask how we produce the wholesome and nutritious product they enjoy. Education about where food comes from and how we, as producers, grow our beef is just as important to us as to our consumers. We welcome any and all questions about the beef industry.  To encourage conversation, we created a “Fun Facts About Beef Scavenger Hunt” in hopes to create “aha!” moments about beef cattle, which we hope will help strike up conversations! Beef producers will be around all day to talk to fair attendees, we encourage everyone to stop by the beef barn and support our New York Beef Industry.”

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

2015 Press Releases