The Midway is being packed away, the Fairgrounds are being cleaned up, and we’re reading through feedback provided by fairgoers to help inform possible future changes and improvements. As we wrap up the 2022 Fair season and look ahead to next year, the Department of Agriculture and Markets and the State Fair division want to thank the 888,110 patrons who passed through the gates, and recognize the work of state agencies and other partners who helped deliver a memorable experience – and the first full fair experience since 2019 – for all attendees.
The following statistics solidify the Fair’s established presence as a hub of entertainment and support its status as a showcase of the best of New York State agriculture, food, beverage, and fun family experiences.
The Power of Music brought big crowds once again to Chevy Court and Chevy Park as part of the Chevrolet Music Series, featuring 51 concerts. In total, factoring in 43 performing acts at Pan African Village and 19 performances at Latino Village, the Fairgrounds were host to 113 concerts. The top three crowd-drawing concerts occurred at Chevy Park, and of this year’s concerts, four performances rank among the top 20 all-time audiences at The Fair. All occurred at the Chevy Park Stage, now the Fair’s prime concert venue for its ability to hold big crowds in a more spread-out, park-like setting.
- Nelly’s performance on August 31 attracted 43,000 fans – the largest concert crowd in the history of the Great New York State Fair.
- City Girls’ performance on September 4 drew 39,000 fans (#3 rank in all-time audience);
- Foreigner, who performed on August 28, brought 38,000 fans (#4 rank in all-time audience); and
- TLC, who performed on August 26, drew 30,000 people to Chevy Park (Tied for #17 all-time audience)
The Magic of the Midway was also a draw for New Yorkers and their families. According to Wade Shows, ridership was strong. Rides were ridden a total of 1.5 million times! Wade Shows also reports selling 50,000 pounds of onions – to accompany sandwiches, make up bloomin’ onions, and more fried foods – 15,000+ fried dough, 10,000+ corn dogs, and 8,000 smoked turkey legs at its array of Midway concessions.
Satisfying Cravings for New York’s Bounty: Year after year, fairgoers say that the food is one of the things they most look forward to trying at the Great New York State Fair. In addition to trying creative, innovative fried concoctions, each Fair presents ample opportunities to buy and sample some of the best homegrown and homemade New York food and beverage products from across the state:
- 285,650 cups of perfectly chilled milk were poured at The New York State Milk Bar, operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Strawberry Milk sold out within 36-hours of making its debut on the second weekend, but Chocolate Milk continues to be the most popular selection. An estimated 12,500 gallons of Chocolate Milk were poured over the course of 13 days in the Dairy Products Building.
- At the Great Potato Booth in the Horticulture Building, staff served up 33,629 Baked Potatoes and 4,224 Sweet Potatoes.
- The Taste NY Pop-Up Market, located just steps away from the Great Potato Booth, showcased 138 products from more than 50 vendors. Here, fairgoers rediscovered beloved flavors and found new favorites. The proof is in the 2,200+ transactions tracked at the Taste NY Pop-Up Market.
- Across the Horticulture Building, the New York Pure Maple Booth was also a popular destination, where ten 40-gallon barrels of Maple Syrup were used to make favorite treats, including Maple Ice Cream (9,810 cones were served!), Popcorn (1,300+ bags were sold!), Maple Sugar candies (1,000 pounds were sold!), and an assortment of other Maple products featured. In addition, patrons purchased 54-dozen Maple frosted donuts and 520 packages of Maple Dog Biscuits for their furry family members.
Animals and Agriculture: Bringing back the animals – one of the most missed traditions of the Fair in 2021 – was an integral component in being able to present a full Fair experience in 2022.
- The Dairy Cow Birthing Center welcomed 35 “uddermiracles,” or baby calves.
- Dozens of goats and chickens dressed up to strut their stuff in various animal parades; and
- The Agriculture Office at the State Fair filed 10,000+ competitive entries for youth, animals, and fine arts competitions.
Getting Around: Centro Bus, which provides shuttle service to and from the Fair from Downtown Syracuse and two Park-N-Ride locations, and the Fair’s tram service, which offers nine stops positioned around the perimeter of the grounds, helped hundreds of thousands of patrons navigate transportation.
- An estimated 141,943 Central New Yorkers used Centro buses to travel to and from the Fairgrounds.
- The Fair’s Tram Service, led by Jean Boyce, provided 1,898 rides throughout the Fair, carrying fairgoers 3,796 miles. To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of driving from Syracuse, NY to Miami, FL – three times!
Missing Something? The New York State Police report keys, wallets, and cell phones are the most popular items in its Lost & Found Collection. Right now, 321 items are waiting to be claimed. Patrons who believe they may have lost something at the Great New York State Fair are encouraged to call the North Syracuse State Police Barracks at 315-455-2826 during normal business hours.
"We hope these statistics help to tell stories of the many happy memories made at the Great New York State Fair this summer,” said interim director Sean Hennessey. “And, we’ll have more numbers to share with you soon! Our team is still tallying up other items, such as the gallons of trash removed from the Fairgrounds and the number of bottles redeemed to help fund breast cancer research. Once that data is quantified, we’ll share that with you upon request. In the meantime, we hope you’ll participate in our survey, if you haven’t already done so. Your feedback means a lot to us. It will help us as we start to plan next year’s Fair.”
The Fair continues to collect feedback on fair experiences, and welcomes perspective from all who attended this year’s run. A link to participate in the survey is provided here, as well as on the homepage of the Great New York State Fair’s website. Participants will have an opportunity to win lifetime admission to the Fair, and one of several $100 Amazon gift cards. Feedback provided will help Fair staff inform future programming and events. Of course, New Yorkers are encouraged to send suggestions along anytime, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now just 348 days away, the Great New York State Fair returns for its 2023 presentation on Wednesday, August 23. New items fairgoers can look forward to seeing include a new permanent concessions facility, streetscape improvements to Restaurant Row, and a new pavilion for goats. The 2,500 square foot pavilion will be solar powered and serve as an open-air space for goat shows. Further down the road, in 2024, new horse stables and a sheep barn and wool center will make their debut. More information about Governor Hochul’s $34.7 million project to improve agricultural facilities at the Fairgrounds is provided here.
Founded in 1841, the Great New York State Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of the state’s CNY Rising strategy of growing the Central New York economy through tourism. It is the oldest state fair in the United States, and the third largest fair in the country.
The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. Audiences are encouraged to learn more about the Great New York State Fair online, and follow the fun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Guests are invited to see photos from the Fair on Flickr.