Annual Fairgoer Survey Finds Record Levels of Satisfaction for Family-Friendliness, Affordability and Positive Change
Fairgrounds Investment Complements "Central NY Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the annual Great New York State Fair survey found record satisfaction levels among fairgoers in 2017 on measures such as family-friendliness, affordability, and on the positive nature of changes made to the nation's oldest state fair. The Governor's historic investment in the fairgrounds complements Central NY Rising, the region's strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy.
"New York has made significant investments that have helped revitalize all 365 acres of the Great New York State Fairgrounds," Governor Cuomo said. "The best is yet to come as we continue to build the Fairgrounds into a year-round economic engine for Central New York region and with phase one of this revitalization complete, we invite everyone to come back and enjoy the Fair again in 2018."
The annual fairgoer survey involved sit-down interviews with 604 people and interviews took place every day of the fair. More than half of fairgoers surveyed traveled more than 50 miles to attend the 2017 Fair. Other findings included:
- 90 percent viewed the Fair as very family friendly, an increase of five percentage points from 2016 and four points above the previous record high.
- 87 percent said the Fair was either very affordable or somewhat affordable, four points higher than last year's record high.
- 95 percent view the overall changes to the Fair in 2017 as either very positive (79 percent) or somewhat positive, eight points higher than the previous record high.
- 85 percent of those surveyed who rode the new Broadway Skyliner said their ride was a very positive experience.
- 97 percent of those attending a Chevy Court concert found their experience to be very positive or positive. The very positive rating of 88 percent was 13 points higher than the previous high in 2015. Additionally, 26 percent said they attended one of the Fair's 26 Chevy Court concerts by national touring acts.
- 93 percent say they are likely to attend the Fair next year, including 88 percent who say they are very likely to return.
The survey also found that the most visited attractions were the agricultural exhibits: 85 percent visited the Dairy Products Building, 84 percent visited the Butter and Cheese Sculpture; and 70 percent visited the Horticulture Building, which includes the Taste NY Marketplace and Taste NY Store, the Potato Booth and other agricultural exhibits, such as the New York Apple Association. The next most popular attractions included the New York Maple Center (56 percent), the NYS Police Exhibit (56 percent) and the I LOVE NY Exhibit (50 percent). Food and beverage continue to lead the way in what survey respondents like most about the Fair. Additionally, the New York State Police exhibit received a 92 percent satisfaction rating, and 94 percent of those surveyed gave the Wade Shows Midway a positive rating.
The 2017 New York State Fair set a record in attendance of 1.16 million for its expanded 13-day run. This year, fairgoers experienced the debut of the new New York State Police exhibit, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the State Police, and the new Turtle Mound, which was revitalized for traditional and sacred dances in the Iroquois Indian Village. Both projects were completed as the final pieces of the Governor's $50 million first phase of redevelopment of the 365-acre Fairground, the first major investment in the grounds in generations. In addition, Midway operator Wade Shows installed the Broadway Skyliner, a chairlift ride that ran the 1,400-foot length of the Midway.
Phase two of the revitalization project is underway, and will result in the construction of a 133,000-square foot expo building, creating the largest exposition building between Boston and Cleveland. The project also involves paving the Fair's largest parking lot, the Orange Lot, to create more parking spaces, eliminate spaces lost during rainy periods and improve traffic flow. As part of that project, a new on-ramp to Interstate 690 will be created.
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "Governor Cuomo's efforts to revitalize the Fair and the western shore of Onondaga Lake are working and Central New York is clearly on the rise. These results show that the hard work of reinvigorating our State Fair is paying off with increased attendance, which leads to greater economic growth for Onondaga County and the entire region."
New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "With a record number of fairgoers attending the 2017 Fair this year, the fact that they are recognizing the great changes we've made under the Governor's leadership is proof positive that we are improving the overall visitor experience, which will help us attract even more fairgoers next year. I'm proud that the State's Dairy Products Building, Butter and Cheese Sculptures and other exhibits continue to be a draw for so many fairgoers who want to learn more about the State's thriving agricultural industry."
Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "We work hard to improve the State Fair every year, so it is gratifying to see that fairgoers are citing our family-friendliness, affordability and the positive changes we've made. We are already working on plans to expand on our successes and are excited about what we have in store for next year."
About the New York State Fair
The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 22 to September 3, 2018. 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 365-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair's website.
Accelerating Central NY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.7 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.