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

April 11, 2017

Entertainment on a Large Scale Comes to the 2017 Great New York State Fair

More Entertainment Around the Fairgrounds Than Ever, With a Greater Variety, Featuring Battling Pirates, Daring High Divers, Amazing Aerialists

Fair Fan Favorites Hilby, Bandaloni, and Team Sandtastic Return

The Great New York State Fair will provide some of the biggest and most entertaining shows in its history for the 2017 Fair, with dazzling performances around every corner of the expanded Fairgrounds. The significant increase in daily entertainment acts is a direct result of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $50 million investment to revitalize the 126-year old grounds, which provided many more acres of open space, as well as the record-setting crowds that flocked to the Fair in 2016.

“Fairgoers this year can expect a record number of performers and entertainers. Throughout the grounds and over the course of the Fair’s 13 days, fairgoers will see new acts, some of them featuring very large and dramatic sets, as well as some popular familiar shows that keep them coming back year after year.  We’ve worked hard to find new and exciting shows that offer something fun for everyone,” said Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner.

New to the Fair this year: 

  • Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean Aerial High Wire Thrill Show, which features the age-old battle of good versus evil on a huge pirate ship set. Swordfights and other battles take place on a high wire strung between the ship’s masts.  Shows culminate in a final battle on a giant spinning wheel.
  • The Top Cop Police Academy high dive show, featuring five skilled divers and seven people recruited from the audience who take part in some preliminary exercises before the divers take over.  The finale involves a dive of more than 25 yards into a pool approximately three yards deep.
  • TheiFlip aerial show, featuring performers on bungee cords and bouncing high on trampolines.  The performance concludes with a dangerous 60 foot fall into a stuntman airbag.

Each of these shows will occupy large areas of the grounds, as the Fair will be taking full advantage of the acres of new space provided by the revitalization of the grounds that began in 2015.

These acts and others yet to be announced comprise what the Fair calls its grounds entertainment lineup.  Grounds entertainers are individuals or groups who perform in a wide variety of genres, including juggling, acrobatics, arts and comedy. They are placed throughout the 375-acre Fairgrounds in order to provide entertainment wherever one goes on the grounds and perform several shows per day each.  Grounds entertainers stand in contrast to the Fair’s other main type of entertainment free concerts on its music stages, including Chevy Court.

Fairgoer favorites Hilby the Skinny German Juggling Boy, Bandaloni the One Man Band, and Team Sandtastic, creators of the annual sand sculpture in the Center of Progress building, will all return in 2017.  Hilby and Bandaloni are skilled comic entertainers who draw the largest crowds for their street side shows.  Fairgoers enjoy watching Team Sandtastic create a one-of-a-kind sculpture from tons of sand over the first few days of the Fair and then using the finished sculpture as a popular backdrop for family photos throughout the Fair.  Hilby will move to a new home this year outside the Toyota Coliseum, in an area with bleachers to make it easier for large crowds to enjoy his show.

Also returning for 2017 is the annual fireworks spectacular that brings the Fair to a close on Labor Day.  Majestic Fireworks of Clinton, NY will be back to fill the night sky with color and sound.

Most acts will perform three times per day.  Performance schedules will be posted on the Fair’s website in the coming weeks.  All grounds entertainment performances are free with Fair admission.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 23 to September 4, 2017. 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 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


2017 Press Releases