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

April 01, 2016

Calling All Food Trucks: Great New York State Fair’s Taste NY Food Truck Competition Is Accepting Entries

The Fair Encourages Food Truck Operators from Across New York State to Enter

The Great New York State Fair today encouraged owners of mobile food stands from across New York State to enter the Fair’s annual Taste NY Food Truck Competition.  The competition, which debuted successfully last year, features New York-grown and made products and provides large-scale exposure to the fast-growing and popular mobile food truck business.

As many as 20 food trucks and mobile food vendors will ring Chevy Court on Sunday, September 4 for the day-long competition.  The vendors will prepare their very best snack, entrée, or dessert, using New York State ingredients.  A group of food experts, which included top regional chefs last year, will sample each offering and choose the Judge’s Choice winner.  Vendors will also sell samples of their food entry to fairgoers for $2 each.  Fairgoers will also have the chance to cast votes for the People’s Choice winner.  Entries will be accepted until May 2. 

“We are growing New York’s economy in many ways, and this competition is an important part of growing jobs at the grass roots level.  These vendors receive valuable exposure, which helps them grow their business and hire more people, while they support New York farms and food businesses with their locally-sourced purchases.  I encourage mobile food operators across the state to join with the State Fair, grow their businesses, and improve our state’s economy,” said Troy Waffner, Acting Fair Director.

Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ of Rochester won last year’s People’s Choice award and has since grown his start-up food truck business.  Owner Peter Chapman’s lifelong interest in barbecue became his business last year.  He decorated his truck only days before the competition and had hired his first employee – his fiancée – just the week before.  Sample-sized portions of his entrée – pulled pork piled on tater tots – won the votes and taste buds of fairgoers. He estimated Smokin Pete’s sold 1,500 samples. 

“The competition was amazing. That was our first time doing anything that big,” Chapman said recently.  “We were very excited to win.  Winning changed things. We’ve done big things since then.”  Smokin’ Pete’s spent the winter at large public events in Florida.  This year, Smokin’ Pete’s will be back at the Fair for all 12 days as a regular vendor.  He plans to hire another full-time employee and will need 10 or 11 part-time helpers to pull off the job of cooking great barbecue around the clock and feeding some of the nearly one million people who come to the Fair each year.  The competition, he said, “is where you want to be” if you’re a mobile food vending operator.

The Judges’ Choice winner, PB&J Food Truck of Syracuse, has also credited the competition with helping earn invitations to take part in other public events.

Vendors applying for the competition provide the Fair with a list of all the ingredients in their entry and the source of each ingredient.  The rules require them to use foods primarily grown and produced in New York State.  The Fair promotes the use of New York products as part of Governor Cuomo’s Taste NY initiative, which highlights the best foods and beverages produced in the state. Taste NY has helped New York State farmers and producers increase their visibility and sales.  Taste NY tripled gross sales of participating vendors from 2014 to 2015, and aims to double sales this year.

“When you buy and eat food grown and made in New York, there’s no competition – everyone wins.  This competition highlights not just the creativity of some hard-working chefs, but also the amazing quality of New York’s agriculture.  I hope New Yorkers will make time to come to the competition, and also to visit the Taste NY tent for free samples of other great products,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball.

Vendors interested in applying for the competition can find rules and an application here.  Winners receive a $750 gift card to Maines Food and Party Warehouse.  The runner-up in the People’s Choice competition receives a portable 3500 watt generator.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 25 to September 5, 2016.  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

2016 Press Releases