Fair Attractions & Events
Listed below are just some of the attractions and events you will see during the 2013 New York State Fair. When you get to the Fair, make sure to pick up your Insider’s Guide available for free at the gate while supplies last. The guide gives you a map of the Fairgrounds, daily information and schedule of events.
Located behind the Horticulture Building, this new and growing area of the Fairgrounds is home to the Walker Brothers Circus, the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo and various family thrill rides.
Come to the Toyota Coliseum on Labor Day for a unique opportunity to see and interact with NYS livestock and crops as well as meet the farmers that raise them. New this year is Wegmans’ Farm to You activity that will be fun for all ages. So come on down and thank a farmer in person. Sponsored by Wegmans.
Agricultural & Carriage Museums
The history of agriculture in New York State is the history of the state itself. The Witter Agricultural Museum at the Fair is meant to underscore that history as it includes within its walls an actual, fully furnished log cabin from the area’s homespun days.
More than that, the museum’s exhibits, coupled with demonstrations by local craftspeople, let you experience what New York farm life was like in the 18th century.
Further emphasizing that history is the Carriage Museum, which features more than 50 horse-drawn vehicles and a blacksmith demonstration.
Agricultural & Livestock Competitions
Agriculture is New York State’s largest industry and it has been the foundation of the New York State Fair since its creation. Each year the Fair receives approximately 40,000 entries for agriculture-related contests including competitions that feature 11,000 of New York’s best cows, horses, goats, pigs, llamas, sheep, fowl and rabbits. You can tour the barns and talk to the families who bring their award winning animals to the Fair for competitions. You can also check out the thousands of other impressive agriculture related entries that are submitted by young people throughout New York State and highlighted in the 4-H Youth and FFA buildings. Judging occurs daily in the Horticulture Building, all the livestock barns, the Toyota Coliseum, and the 4-H & FFA areas.
Antique Tractor Display
Learn about New York’s agricultural heritage through this fascinating collection of antique farm tractors, together with a selection of other historic and unique farm implements. Most of these machines have long retired from the field and were produced before 1960. Most have been restored; some to better-than-new condition. The tractors are on exhibit every day of the State Fair just inside Gate 10 across from the Beef Barn.
Art and Craft Exhibitions
From fine arts and photography to homespun crafts like quilting, woodworking and needlepoint, work by some of New York’s most talented artists will be on display and competing for ribbons. Located in the Art & Home Center.
Art and Home Center
- Empire Theater Performance Schedule – coming soon!
- Wegmans Demonstration Kitchen schedule - coming soon!
This is the home of culinary demonstrations, photography exhibits, arts and crafts, a variety of entertainment and much more. Listen to organ recitals in the Empire Theater; sometimes as dramatic accompaniment to screenings of old, silent films. For more musical history, go to the Empire State Theatre & Musical Instrument Museum. You can also enjoy a sit-down meal in air-conditioned comfort in the Empire Room Restaurant.
Wednesday, Aug. 28 is Women’s Day at the 2013 New York State Fair with the annual Women’s Day Luncheon being held in the Empire Room at noon. Please call 315.487.7711 ext. 1264 with questions or for more information.
In addition to the luncheon, many special events have been planned throughout Women’s Day. Highlighted events include the Fine Arts and Photo Exhibition on the third floor in the Art and Home Center as well as the Ghirardelli Chocolate Competition judging in the Culinary Arts area. Visit the Wegmans Demonstration Kitchen and the Empire Theater for a scheduled listing of events. During the entire day, various women’s advocacy organizations will be at a “mini-fair” set up in the Chevy Court Pavilion.
Tuesday, August 27 is Beef Day and “Beef, it’s What’s for Dinner”! Follow your nose to the Chevy Court pavilion to watch as local media personalities try their hand at becoming the “Branding Iron Chef” in the “Branding Iron Cook-off” Media grilling contest beginning at 10 am. At 1 pm the backyard grill masters will take over as they compete in the 7th Annual “Create the Perfect Burger” Contest. Five All-Star Finalists will grill head to head with five new burger grillers and a panel of judges will determine who will take home the title for the “Perfect Burger” and a sensational grand prize of $500 and six months of free beef or veal. Be sure to stop by the Beef Display in the Dairy Products Building where you can pick up your free beef recipes while you watch demonstrations by the National Beef Ambassadors. Plan to take in a trip to the Beef Barn where you can chat with cattlemen and watch a live beef cattle show. Click here for the 2013 Beef Day schedule.
Best Bets Bargain Book
Want to get your fried dough and save a dollar or two? You can purchase the Best Bets Bargain Book sponsored by Tully’s Good Times and get over $3,000 in savings! 100 Coupons will help you enjoy this year’s Fair all the more, and every coupon has directions to the designated stand located on the back. The books will be sold in advance for $4 at advance sale outlets and $5 at the Fair. The bargain book is conveniently sized to fit in your pocket or purse with ease.
Butter & Cheese Sculptures
Visit the Dairy Products Building to see hundreds of pounds of butter turned into art to mark the 45th anniversary of this State Fair tradition. For the visually impaired we also have a hands-on clay model of the butter sculpture at the Dairy Princess Booth. You can also see blocks of New York State cheese carved into artwork before your eyes. Make sure to check out our Dairy Day activities on Monday, August 26.
The state’s best pies, cakes, jams, breads and other homemade goodies vie for ribbons in this traditional, county fair competition. Less traditional contests include chicken wings, chili, Spam dishes and fried food on a stick. Located in the Art & Home Center.
Let the Fair come to you. Every evening at 6:00pm, select Fair entertainers and exhibitors join New York marching bands, costumed characters, antique vehicles and New York State notables in an old-fashioned parade across the fairgrounds. The route begins at the Center of Progress Building, winds around three sides of Chevy Court, and then marches the length of the fairgrounds to the Iroquois Indian Village.
New this year is an opportunity for fairgoers to witness first-hand the miracle of life daily by watching a dairy cow give birth to a calf. The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition and Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are providing this opportunity for the public to learn more about animal agriculture, veterinary science and the birthing process. The exhibit is located next to the FFA Building near tram stop #8 and is open from 10:00am-10:00pm.
Eudora Farms Petting Zoo
Just imagine seeing animals from all four corners of the world – from buffalo to zebras, it can all be found at the Fairgrounds. An interactive, hands on experience with some of Mother Nature’s greatest creatures, the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo is a unique and thrilling encounter for children and adults of all ages. Come see, pet and learn about animals from several different continents including Africa, South America, Australia and Asia. You’ll interact with kangaroos, yaks, llamas, apes, wild cats and watusi and even get a camel ride if you want one. And unlike any other petting zoo, you can also experience hundreds of tiny lorikeets and parakeets as they flutter, flap and fly in this brand new exhibit next to the Eudora Farms Petting Zoo. Fairgoers will be able to purchase bird seed sticks to feed these little birds and to attract them to land on them. Sponsored by Coca-Cola.
Extreme Log Makeover
Ever see an eagle being made in 30 minutes, or the Adirondacks take a seat? Then come check out this wood flying fun with our first ever all female wood carving show. Watch as she transforms logs to fit any home, cabin or garden. Sponsored by Verizon Wireless.
Food, Food and More Food
It’s a feast for the eyes and heart burn for the stomach with every kind of food available from the donut burger to the long john donut hot dog dipped in maple syrup to deep fried macaroni, candy bars and vegetables of all kinds. Of course, you cannot forget the world famous State Fair sausage sandwich with onions and peppers. You better come to the Fair hungry because leaving full is the only option.
Join us Aug. 24 and 25 for the Fair’s traditional weekend of uplifting music and joyful voices at the Talent Showcase Stage. The New York State Fair Youth Gospel Choir, The Timothy Wright Memorial Choir and other groups will help keep the music flowing all weekend long.
Hall of Health
The Hall of Health in the Science and Industry Building is the Fair-time home to a wide variety of health service organizations and professionals. Learn about helpful programs you can take advantage of and potential health problems you may be unaware of.
Hall of Veterinary Health
This newly designed area has an interactive area where children can see the various skills needed to become a veterinarian or vet tech. The dental area discusses the need for dental care of our pets, the Zoonotic area highlights diseases that are common to both animals & humans and the mockup surgery suite where you can get a great look at all the equipment used in surgery and anesthesia. Be sure to stop by and watch the different educational presentations and demonstrations each day of the Fair.
The skinny German juggler with the giant unicycle! You’ll laugh. You’ll gasp. Then you’ll laugh again. Starting Aug. 26, weekdays at 1:00pm, 3:30pm & 7:00pm and weekends 11:30am, 1:00pm, 3:30pm & 7:00pm around Chevy Court. Sponsored by Gianelli Sausage.
Historic Train Exhibit
One of the most popular historic attractions at the State Fair is the Train-Railroad Exhibit behind the Horticulture Building. The exhibit is open and free throughout the Fair. Visitors can relax in seated comfort in the four restored vintage 1920s era passenger cars or browse through the classic 1916 model restored wooden New York Central caboose. They look as they did when they first went on line, with authentic, original colors.
This ornate landmark building is a favorite place for Fairgoers. Experience the sights and smells of spectacular arrangements of colorful plants and flowers. Visit the forage and grain exhibit to see the winners of New York’s harvest. Get up close and personal with a working bee colony, taste New York’s finest commercial wines and be amazed at the extraordinary artistic horticultural designs. The Horticulture Building is also home to the famous Potato Booth, Pride of New York Exhibit, NY Apple Exhibit and New York Maple Exhibit.
Use your taste buds to celebrate New York’s traditional role as a gateway for immigrants and a melting pot of diverse cultures. Explore the Fair’s renovated International Building and find specialties from around the world. Whether you crave Caribbean empanadas, German bratwurst, Japanese tempura, Greek baklava or some other ethnic dish, you’ll find it here.
Iroquois Indian Village
Come learn about and celebrate the culture and heritage of the original New Yorkers at the Iroquois Indian Village. You can experience every day the traditional music, dance, crafts and customs of the Iroquois. This section of the Fairgrounds has been dedicated to Six Nations programs since 1928.
James E. Strates Midway
For more than 60 years, the James E. Strates Shows, America’s only remaining railroad carnival, has provided Fairgoers with a thrilling and pulse pounding midway. There are more than 100 carnival games that you can try your hand and plenty of other sideshows to see. And there is a ride for everyone – whether you want to swing 125 feet above the ground on the Giant Wheel, be hurled upside down on the Top Spin or be twirled around on the Zipper your heart is sure to pounding afterwards. There are more than 100 carnival games that you can try your hand and plenty of other sideshows to see. Hit the Midway every day of the Fair 10:00am till midnight except on Labor Day when it closes at 10:00pm. (Midway closing time subject to change without notice)
All rides require various amounts tickets to ride. The price per ticket is $1.00 each for quantities of 1 to 39. Forty credits can be purchased for $30, which is a $10 savings and a 25% discount. There are no actual tickets, everything will be loaded onto an electronic “Funcard” which can easily be re-loaded with any amount.
The Strates Ride-All-Day program lets visitors buy $25 wristbands that will be scanned at all rides on the Midway & Kiddieland and gives them full access for the entire day on the following 2013 dates: Thursday, Aug. 22; Friday, Aug. 23; Monday, Aug. 26; Tuesday, Aug. 27; Wednesday, Aug. 28; and Thursday, Aug. 29. Wristbands are available at any Strates ticket booth on these days. Online ticket purchasing information coming soon.
An area for the younger crowd, set apart from the main midway in which families can relax and let their little ones try age-appropriate rides without the noise and excitement of the busier, older crowds. Make no mistake this area is still filled with exciting rides, games and attractions!
Midway Music Series
Started in 2011, this nightly concert features the best in local and national entertainment from the local Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Hollow to national touring acts like Jake Miller. This new nightly concert series is going to quickly become the place to be on Fairgrounds. For nine nights, the Midway Music Series is going to cater to the musical interests of all Fairgoers. This Concert Series, along with that offered on Chevy Court, is going to further prove that the New York State Fair is the best free concert venue in the country.
Be sure to visit the Dairy Cattle Barn’s newly renovated milking parlor observation room where each day except August 27th and September 2nd you can watch cows being milked and learn about milk’s journey from moo to you!
Monarch Butterfly Garden
Hundreds and hundreds of fluttering monarch butterflies will fill the main entrance to the Horticulture Building this year for an exhibit you’ll have to see to believe. Fairgoers will be able to learn about butterflies by walking through a netted exhibit and purchase nectar for a chance for the butterflies to land on them. If this experience is one you’ll want to remember, you can purchase your very own butterfly or larva so you can watch the metamorphosis.
New York State Christmas Tree Growers
Let the New York State Christmas Tree Growers Association get you in the mood for the Christmas holidays. Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces and heart-shaped novelties compete for prizes on opening day of the Fair. There are wreath-making demonstrations daily in the activity tent outside the Horticulture Building.
New York State Fair Museum
New this year. Be sure to stop in at the Grange building and wander through the new museum with displays that tell the story of where the Fair began, where it traveled, who came to the Fair, who entertained at the Fair and much more from 1841 to the present. Share your memories with us and purchase some Fair mementos at the museum store.
New York State Grange Building
Come in and see what programs the NYS Grange are involved with. In addition, enjoy performances on the Grange Stage by old-country party bands, line dancers and lots and lots of cloggers.
New York State International Horse Show
Literally, thousands of horses from across the Northeast and Canada come to the New York State Fair to compete in one of our many competitions. From Arabians to Quarter Horses and from the mighty Clydesdales to miniature horses, these shows highlight the rich heritage of our horse industry. Of course, who can forget the light and heavy horse pulls which will amaze and astonish everyone. Every day there is a new and different horse show to enjoy in the Toyota Coliseum.
New York State Lottery Players Pavilion
The Lottery Players Pavilion houses the Lottery’s expanded retail and prize payment operations throughout the duration of the Fair. The space is also used to showcase various programs sponsored by the New York State Lottery as part of the agency’s mission to support education. Located next to the Times Square Tower.
New York State Police Exhibit
Visit the State Police exhibit in front of the International Pavilion. Your jaw will drop as you watch the Mobile Response Team demonstrate “high angle rescue” and “tactical access” rappelling techniques from the 50-foot tower platform.
Located between the Center of Progress Building and the Art and Home Center, you can come of the Pan African Village to learn about New York’s African-American history while you listen to music with African roots, taste African and Caribbean inspired food in the food court sponsored by Total Care, sip southern-style lemonade and browse booths filled with ethnic items.
A steaming $1 baked potato with your favorite topping is still a favorite deal at the Potato Booth in the Horticulture Building. How do you like it? With butter? With sour cream? With cheese? Sponsored by Helluva Good & Crowley.
Pride of New York
New York State produces a bounty of fresh agricultural and processed food products that flirt with our taste buds and teases our senses. There are numerous opportunities for Fairgoers to taste, sample and purchase these sensational specialties.
- Pride of New York Marketplace: Located just inside of the main gate, this New York only market offers something for everyone, from homemade salsas to one-of-a-kind BBQ sauces to any kind of sauce, pasta or syrup you could ever dream. You’ll be surprised to see how easy and delicious it is to shop locally.
- The Fair Farmers’ Market: This old time Farmers’ Market located near the main gate will allow you to stock up on fresh sweet corn, carrots, peppers, plums and apples before you leave the Fair.
- New York Maple Center: Come enjoy the sweet tastes of maple syrup, maple cotton candy and other maple treats while learning about the fascinating and age old process that is used to make maple syrup. The Maple Center is located in the Horticulture Building.
- Dairy Products Building: A moo-moo here, a moo-moo there that’s the only way to describe the home of everything milk and dairy at the Fair which is meant to highlight the importance of the dairy industry to New York’s farm economy. While there you can check out the world famous butter sculpture made from 800 pounds of creamy, New York butter; you can have a 25 cent glass of cold white or chocolate milk; sample delicious cheese or have yummy in your tummy milk shake.
Quality Meats Display
Join us in the Dairy Products Building to enjoy demonstrations on the “Beef – It’s What’s for Dinner” Culinary Stage. Cooking demonstrations will begin on the hour from noon until 4 pm everyday. Discover some new recipes for your favorite beef cuts and learn about all aspects of beef production and preparation from New York beef farmers and the New York Beef Council staff. You can also prepare a sample of the “Mama Mia Spice rub” to take home and enjoy for your next beef dinner! While there, be sure to enter to win the super Gas Grill on display. Also at Quality Meats, you’ll find great ideas for preparing pork and lamb with recipes provided by the New York Pork Producers and the Empire Sheep Producers.
Regional Artists Variety Stage
12 Days of free entertainment is scheduled on the Regional Artists Variety Stage in the Adventure Zone (next to the Wine Tent). Six times a day the stage will feature a diverse lineup of talent and entertainment, all free to Fairgoers with your Fair admission. From line and Irish dancers, to today’s popular bands, to Polka, Gospel, Country and Folk music, there is certainly something for everyone on the Special Events Stage.
The amazing sand sculpture will return for a fifth year at the center of the Center of Progress Building. This year you can watch 180 tons of sand (that’s 360,000 pounds) sculpted into a work of art. Sponsored by National Grid.
Sea Lion Splash
These loveable animals are nature’s comedians. Their feats of balancing, retrieving, dancing and singing make them a hit with all ages. Located in the Youth Activity Center.
Just remember it’s never too early to shop for the holidays and birthdays as you pursue the aisles and aisles of unique vendors in the Center of Progress Building, the Marketplace Pavilion Tent, or at any of the hundreds of other Fair vendors selling cowboy hats, leather goods, spas and hot tubs, and handcrafted items.
If you are wandering the Fairgrounds, get ready to catch a show just about anywhere you look or go. From Hilby, the wise-cracking, unicycle riding German juggler to Bandaloni the multi-talented, one-man band and even the loveable, huggable Fritters, the 2013 New York State Fair promises to have entertainment at every twist and turn and around every corner.
New York State’s finest child, teen and adult performers sing and dance in the Fair’s version of “American Idol”. The performers – the winners of county fair competition across the state – take the stage daily in mornings and afternoons for a chance to compete in the finals over Labor Day weekend. Located outside the main entrance of the Youth Building.
The Trivia Trail is back again this year with all new stops and prizes. So you think you know everything about the Fair? Pick up a brochure with all the instructions and questions and see how much you really know, then travel the trail and learn something new. Each night a winner will be drawn from the completed brochures for that day.
Uncork New York Wine Village
New York wine, New York entertainment… The wine tent will once again be located at the intersection of the International and Horticulture Buildings at the gateway to the Grandstand. The wine tent will once again feature a variety of New York wineries sampling and selling some of the best in the country – there are also a few slushies available here as well. Right next door is the Regional Artists Variety Stage featuring local and regional singers, bands, dancers and other entertainers.
Some of New York State’s finest wines can be sampled and purchased in the Uncork New York Wine Village located between the International and Horticulture Buildings. Come find out why New York wines have won numerous national and international competitions all while enjoying a soft, smooth white, a pleasantly dry red or even a refreshingly cold slushie.
Veterans and 9/11 Memorial
Located in front of the Horticulture Building, the Veterans Memorial held its opening at the 1999 Fair and was expanded in 2001. It features an eternal flame, flag poles with bricks of all the wars at its base and stones for each branch of the service with individual bricks placed from the service branches. The 9/11 Memorial honors all those that lost their lives in the September 11th terrorist attacks. Unveiled at the 2002 Fair, the Memorial is located between the two phases of the Veterans Memorial.
Walker Brother Circus
The circus calls out the child in all of us with its mind boggling feats, animals thundering around the ring, dogs dancing, clowns cavorting and sequined costumes glittering under the bright lights of the Big Top. Keeping with its long standing tradition, the New York State Fair will once again be hosting a world class circus with this year’s being presented by Walker Brothers Circus. This circus features second- and third-generation circus performers from around the world that includes a lot excitement, thrills, comedy and animal antics. This is really tons and tons of family fun at its finest. Sponsored by Syracuse Pool & Patio.
Wegmans/Pride of New York Demonstration Kitchen
Plan to be at the Wegmans/Pride of New York Demonstration Kitchen in the Art & Home Center. Experience the bounty of New York throughout the day as chefs from across the State hold cooking demonstrations and prepare dishes using mouthwatering, regional ingredients.
In the Pride of NY Room located in the back of the Horticulture Building there will be wine & cheese tasting/seminars held at 2:30 and 5:30 every day except Labor Day. Each day will be hosted by a different NY winery. On Labor Day it will change to a beer tasting seminar at 2:30 and 5:30. To guarantee a seat for any of these free seminars you will need to preregister at 315-487-7711,1335. Otherwise it will be a first come, first serve.
The State Fair Wool Center is the home of statewide wool competitions and demonstrations. The center features old-fashioned wool-making, providing the fairgoer an opportunity to experience the proper preparation for market and/or hand spinning, and to show the various commercial grades as well as the best quality fleeces of the different breeds of sheep.
See displays and demo’s on how other fibers can compliment wool when blended and used:
- Sunday August 25 – Angora Fiber Day
- Monday August 26 – Alpaca and Llama Fiber Day
- Tuesday August 27 – Goat Fiber Day (Mohair, Pygora and Cashmere)