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

August 18, 2016

Celebrate New York’s Dairy Industry at the Great New York State Fair’s 40th Annual Dairy Day, August 29

Dairy Day is celebrating its 40th anniversary at The Great New York State Fair this year, Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner announced today.  The special day celebrating New York’s dairy farmers will be held on Monday, August 29 and will include a full day of activities dedicated to educating New Yorkers about New York’s largest agricultural sector.  Last year, more than 68,000 people attended Dairy Day.

This year, Dairy Day festivities begin with the Recognition & Awards Breakfast at 9 a.m. in the Empire Room.  As part of the awards ceremony, Dairy of Distinction Awards and the Commissioner’s PRO-DAIRY Service Awards will be presented.  In addition, winners of the New York State Fair Dairy Products Competition, which includes entries in the cheese, fluid milk and other dairy products categories, will also be announced. 

Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said, “Every year, Dairy Day is a fun, family-friendly day with many great things to do and see.  We’re excited to celebrate 40 years of Dairy Day at the Fair this year and look forward to helping to showcase dairy and the entire agricultural industry on this special day and every day at the Fair.”

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Dairy Day is a great way to recognize all of New York’s 5,000 dairy farmers who play such a huge role in New York agriculture and in our local economies. New York’s producers and processors are more connected than ever to their consumers, and we’re proud to help educate fairgoers about New York’s dairy operations and promote their healthy, high-quality products.”

Dairy Day will continue with the Celebrity Milkshake Contest at 10:30 a.m. in the Chevy Court Pavilion, where Central New York celebrities will compete to see who can create the tastiest summer dairy treat.  The “Big Cheese” Auction follows at 11 a.m., led by auctioneer and New York State Assemblyman Bill Magee. Everyone is invited to bid on large and small blocks of New York State cheese and try samples that will be distributed by dairy princesses. The day wraps up with the Dairy Day Parade, which will begin at 6 p.m. and features a procession of dairy princesses, tractors, creative floats and milk trucks.

Bruce W. Krupke, Chairperson, NYS Fair Dairy Task Force said,  “It is really great to have the dairy industry be recognized by the Fair, we represent over half of the State’s largest industry which is agriculture, allowing us to showcase what we have to offer to the public is very important.”

Dairy attractions and exhibits are also on display all 12 days of the Fair in the Dairy Products Building.  A long-standing tradition, the Milk Bar will continue to offer New York’s official beverage with a 25 cent cup of cold white or chocolate milk—by far the best deal at the Fair.  Back for a third year, a cheese sculptor will be carving images out of a block of New York State cheddar at the Cheese Booth on designated days. The YO2GO Yogurt Bar will mark its third year at the Great New York State Fair, making it easy for fairgoers to enjoy New York’s official state snack— fresh New York regular and Greek-style yogurt with a choice of 15 fresh toppings.

A Fair favorite, the Dairy Cow Birthing Center is a free, educational exhibit that provides fairgoers the opportunity to witness the live birth of baby calves daily and converse one-on-one with dozens of dairy farmers and industry volunteers about milk production, dairy farms and the care provided to dairy cows every day.  This year there will be 36 cows from six family-owned dairy farms in Central New York and the Southern Tier.  New additions include videos featuring dairy farmers on four large screen TVs, including real surveillance videos taken at area dairy farms, a new kids area and the exhibit of state-of-the-art technology designed specifically for modern dairy barns.

Fairgoers can visit the Birthing Center in its new location, near the west end of Broadway, just past the Midway and next to the newly created picnic area.  A new, custom-made 15’ tall by 20’ long inflatable dairy cow will mark the Birthing Center’s location, greeting visitors outside the exhibit’s entrance. 

Jessica Ziehm, New York Animal Agriculture Coalition Executive Director and a fourth generation dairy farmer, said, “This exhibit is a true labor of love for the dairy industry in New York and we are always awestruck by the interest, attention and time fairgoers spend with us. Over a quarter of a million State Fair attendees visit this exhibit, many of which spend hours, if not days learning more about the industry we live and love, and are happy to showcase at the New York State Fair.”

In addition, this year marks the 48th Annual Butter Sculpture at the Great New York State Fair, which is sponsored by American Dairy Association North East.  The much-anticipated Butter Sculpture will be on display throughout the Fair.

Rick Naczi, CEO of American Dairy Association North East Inc. said, “While checking out the butter sculpture, stop by the Dairy Princess booth and visit with our State and County Dairy Princesses. They’ll be out in full force on Dairy Day.  You’ll see them all over the Fairgrounds, from the Dairy Products Building to the cow barn, in our celebrity milkshake contest and in the nightly parade. Feel free to ask them any questions you may have about dairy products or dairy farmers. These hard-working young women are our ambassadors throughout the state.”

Skip Hardie of Walnut Ridge Dairy in Lansing said, “New York’s nearly 5,000 family dairy farmers are proud to sponsor the annual butter sculpture, one of the Fair’s top ‘must-see’ attractions. It’s a unique opportunity to draw attention to the men and women who ensure an ample supply of fresh, wholesome milk.”

The New York State Fair Dairy Products Building Advisory Task Force, established in 1976 and comprised of milk cooperative representatives, industry experts, dairy producers, manufacturers and retailers, originally maintained and managed the Fair’s Dairy Products Building. Today, its role has expanded to promoting New York State dairy throughout the Great New York State Fair. 

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.  More information on the revitalization is available here and renderings can be viewed here.

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. 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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