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

August 09, 2016

New Baseball and Football Challenges at the Great New York State Fair Bring Out the Best in Young Athletes

Arm Wrestling Event Grows for Second Year, Registration Underway Inviting Pros and Novices to Get a Grip

Nearly a Dozen Other Sports Competitions Take Place During the Fair

Teams of young athletes from all over New York State are invited to participate in the brand new Home Run Derby and Skills Challenge and Football Skills Challenge, taking place from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5 at the Great New York State Fair.  The event will take place on a new, large grass area in the heart of the Fairgrounds, between the Youth Building and the new Wade Shows Midway.  Registration for the event is underway at

The activity consists of two separate competitions.  First is a football skill challenge for children ages 5 through 16, taking place Aug. 29 to Sept. 1.  Young athletes will compete in kicking, punting and passing events.  The baseball challenge, taking place Sept. 2 to Sept. 5, is open to teams of four children ages 9 through 12.  The first day of the baseball challenge will be devoted to athletes from Little League’s Challenger Division, which is for developmentally and physically challenged young athletes.  The challenges in the baseball events involve pitching speed, throwing accuracy, a relay race, and a home run derby.  Rules and regulations for the baseball event follow the Little League major division guidelines for this age. 

Registration costs $25 per child and $15 per coach for up to two coaches, and includes admission to the Fair for one day. New York Central Mutual Insurance is a major sponsor of the event.

Mark Lukasiewicz, who played on the World Series-winning Anaheim Angels 2002 team, will be on hand Saturday, Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. to sign autographs, provide commentary during the skills challenge, and to meet the athletes.  Mark also played for the Syracuse Chiefs for five seasons, from 1997 to 2000 and again in 2004.

“The Fair is a showcase for the many wonderful things our state’s young people do, from agriculture to music and sports.  I’m looking forward to watching some of the state’s best young athletes show what they can do,” said Troy Waffner, Acting Fair Director.

Terry Potter of event promoter Millennia Entertainment said, “We are thrilled with the support this new aspect of the Great New York State Fair has received thus far.  From community members, to businesses, to retired professional athletes, everyone that has been approached has been more than willing to lend their expertise to this new venture.”

In addition, the National Arm Wrestling League’s New York State Championships was a success in its inaugural year and returns for a second year with more events on Sun., Sept. 4.  The featured event is a series of matches involving champions and top competitors from the sport’s major league, the World Arm Wrestling League, as seen recently on ESPN.

While most events are for professional and amateur arm wrestlers, there are divisions for first-time arm wrestlers as well, including children.  Information on registering for events can be found at or by calling (315) 288-0630.

“Anybody can step to the table and arm wrestle – that’s what is great about the sport.  Sure, you have to learn a little technique to get better but anyone can do it and it’s a lot of fun,” said event promoter James Reid.

Athletes compete and showcase their skills every day in many other events that take place in front of the Toyota Coliseum.  The featured events for the 2016 Fair are:

  • Thurs., Aug 25: Westside Gymnastics Exhibition
  • Fri., Aug. 26: Lou Davis Memorial Basketball Tournament
  • Sat., Aug. 27: Lou Davis Memorial Basketball Tournament and wrestling
  • Sun., Aug. 28: The New York State Fair Wrestling Challenge
  • Mon., Aug. 29 and Tues., Aug. 30:  New York State Girls All-Star basketball practices, clinics, and games
  • Wed., Aug. 31 and Thurs., Sept. 1:  New York State Boys All-Star basketball practices, clinics, and games
  • Fri., Sept. 2 and Sat., Sept. 3: Ray Rinaldi New York State Championship Boxing Tournament
  • Sun., Sept. 4: The National Arm Wrestling League’s New York State Arm Wrestling Tournament
  • Mon., Sept. 5: Moving Along Flyers Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

In addition, there are daily appearances by the Harlem Wizards, a basketball team whose members leave Fairgoers laughing at their comedy and amazed by their skills.  Performance times vary and are listed on the Fair’s official schedule of daily events.

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, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.

The 375-acre New York State Fairgrounds is undergoing the most significant transformation since it first opened its gates in 1890. The $50 million plan, announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, revitalizes the grounds in many ways, improving the quality of the fairgoer’s experience and providing greater economic benefits for the region. Improvements include the dramatic new Main Gate— the arches of which recall the carriage gate that greeted fairgoers in 1900, a larger, 15-acre Wade Shows Midway that will hold more rides than ever, and the brand new 315-site Empire RV Park with underground water, sewer and electrical service. The plan will better position the New York State Fairgrounds as a premier year-round, multi-use facility that can attract more events and visitors from across the nation. Renderings can be viewed here.

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, on Snapchat at nysfair 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