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

June 02, 2016

Entries Rolling In from across the State for “Star Spangled Challenge” Competition at the Great New York State Fair

One Week Left to Enter the Competition, Deadline to Submit Entries is June 8

With one week left to go in the Great New York State Fair’s competition to find 12 singers for the daily National Anthem, entries are coming in from all over New York State and from all kinds of performers.  The Fair’s “Star Spangled Challenge” is a competition to select 12 New York singers or musicians to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” at least twice during each day of the 2016 Fair.

“We’re getting all kinds of entries from all areas of the state, but we want even more as this last week for entering the contest begins.  Even if you entered last year, you can enter again this year.  Grab your cell phone and give it a shot.  It’s a fun competition and who knows – you might wind up a winner,” said Troy Waffner, Acting Fair Director.

Entries so far cover a wide range of performers and musical styles.  Most are solo singers, but Larry from Staten Island performs the anthem on his saxophone, Chuck and Betsy from Fulton sing in harmony as a duo, and the more than 60 members of the Liverpool Community Chorus put the power of many voices behind the song.  Many show themselves singing at public gatherings, such as Syracuse University basketball games, a minor league baseball game, and Oswego Speedway.

“Hi! My name is Ailanees,” begins the video from a contestant from suburban Syracuse who has a big, red ribbon in her hair. “I am 8 years old and I am going to sing the ‘Star Spangled Banner.’”  Another competitor is just 6 years old.  A woman singing the anthem to open a roller derby match uses her sports alias, “Darth Vada.”  Alec, of East Greenbush, sings to open graduation at The College of Saint Rose.  Other entries come from Blossvale, North Tonawanda, Ogdensburg, and Tuckahoe.

Competition submissions can be made through June 8, 2016 at  Competitors should create and submit short videos that show them performing “The Star Spangled Banner.”  A panel of judges will narrow the entries to 20 finalists.  Public voting then begins on a special page on the Fair’s Facebook site, and the 12 competitors with the highest vote totals will be selected to sing the anthem on one of the Fair’s 12 days.

To enter the challenge, contestants should create videos no longer than three minutes of themselves performing the first verse of “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Performers can sing alone or in groups, and instrumental-only versions are allowed.  There are two ways to enter the competition:

Entries must be uploaded or emailed by midnight, June 8, 2016.  All entries, however they are submitted, must include the performer’s name, address and phone number.  Emailed entries will be added to the contest site by Fair staff by the next business day.  Four judges will select 20 finalists. 

Public voting on the 20 finalists begins June 14 and runs through midnight, July 3.  The 12 contestants with the most votes will be chosen to sing the anthem on the Chevy Court stage at 9:58 a.m. and again at approximately 1 p.m. in the Toyota Coliseum on their performance day, which will be assigned at a later date. People are limited to one vote per person and are encouraged to share the competition with their Facebook friends to help their chosen candidate.

Winners will be announced on July 5.  They will be notified of the date of their performance prior to the opening of the Fair.  Each winner will receive four admission tickets, a parking pass and a $40 voucher good for purchases at the Fair’s food stands.  They will also receive one night’s stay at one of the Fair’s hotel partners.

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 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

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