Milk to Stay at 25 Cents; New Vendor Looks to Shorten Long Lines
Two companies with significant ties to New York State agriculture will sponsor the signature attractions at the Great New York State Fair’s Dairy Products Building. Tully’s Good Times restaurants will sponsor the milk sold at the Fair’s famous Milk Bar, while Wegmans Food Markets will sponsor the American Dairy Association’s Butter Sculpture, Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner announced today.
This year, the Tully’s logo will appear on each of the seven-ounce cups of perfectly chilled white or chocolate milk sold at the Milk Bar. Last year, 398,059 cups of milk were sold at 25 cents a cup, representing a complete sellout of the milk available. All of the milk and buttermilk products sold at Tully’s come from Central New York dairy processor Byrne Dairy. Byrne Dairy also supplies the milk for the Milk Bar. In addition to dairy, Tully’s buys produce from local farms in-season. The long-time Fair vendor operates restaurants across Upstate NY under the Tully’s, CopperTop Tavern and Good Buddy’s Pub brands.
The Butter Sculpture is created and operated by Syracuse-based American Dairy Association North East, which represents all dairy farmers in New York State. The butter used to make the iconic sculpture comes from New York sources. It was a first stop for many of the Fair’s more than 1 million visitors in 2016 and veteran fairgoers eagerly await its unveiling the day before the Fair opens each year. This year’s sponsor of the Butter Sculpture, Rochester-based Wegmans is a leader in the grocery industry in selling and using locally grown and made products and is annually rated among the nation’s very best employers. Wegmans is a long-time partner with the Fair, sponsoring activities including the Fair’s Lost Kid tags and cooking demonstrations in the Wegmans Demonstration Kitchen in the Art & Home Center.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "These new partnerships are an exciting addition to this year's Fair and to the Milk Bar, which is a long-standing tradition for fairgoers. We are pleased to continue our mission of promoting the very best of New York agriculture and shining the spotlight on our dairy industry at the Great New York State Fair."
“We are proud to bring these first-ever sponsorships into the Dairy Products Building as they will support our long-term plan to reenergize this vital piece of the Fair. We thank them for their investment and want fairgoers and dairy farmers to know that our goal going forward, as stewards of New York agriculture, is to find new ways to link more New Yorkers to our great dairy products as we have done with other New York products at the Fair,” said Waffner.
“On behalf of the state’s dairy farm families, we’re pleased to present a butter sculpture every year that showcases the dairy industry,” said Rick Naczi, CEO of American Dairy Association North East. “We’re looking forward to continuing this long-standing tradition with Wegmans as a sponsor.”
“We at Tully’s Good Times restaurants are proud to support New York’s dairy industry and dairy farmers at the Fair. We proudly serve their delicious products in our restaurants every day. Tully’s is also pleased to play a role in securing a strong future for the Dairy Products Building and all of its activities,” said Sam Bregande, spokesman for Tully’s Good Times.
“Wegmans feels it’s important to support the community and to support products made in New York. The Fair impacts the entire state of New York and we have had a long and successful partnership with the Fair for many years. Expanding our sponsorship to include the Butter Sculpture is another indicator of our support and we are excited to be a part of it,” said Evelyn Carter, Wegmans Director of Community Relations.
The Fair today announced that longtime Fair vendors Wahid Akl, David Tadros and Michael Tadros will operate the Milk Bar on behalf of the Fair in 2017. Milk will remain 25 cents a cup. The new operators are looking at ways to speed up the historically long lines for milk. They will also take over operation of the yogurt vending booth with an eye towards diversifying the products available there.
“We are pleased and honored to be operating one of the best-known elements of this great Fair. I promise that fairgoers will get the same great cup of milk at the same price they’ve been paying for generations now. We are also working hard to make the long lines move faster and are thinking about ways to highlight New York milk even more in the future,” said Wahid Akl.
The vendors’ connection to the Great New York State Fair stretches back to the 1980s. They operate two stands in the Dairy Products building, selling Belgian waffles and the New York Hot Beef Sundae, the New York Brew Pub and Distillery in the International Building, and several roasted corn stands.
This year’s efforts mark the beginning of a multi-year process to provide significant upgrades to the Dairy Products building and its programming in order to strengthen the promotion of New York dairy products. Fair officials have met with vendors in the building to assess their needs and have begun work on a plan to renovate stands in the building and improve the infrastructure. This year, the building will operate as it has in the past. The building’s music stage will move to the other side of the Butter Sculpture to reduce congestion in the area where people line up for milk. The Fair is purchasing the Milk Bar equipment and all other Dairy Products Building assets offered by the former operator, Dairy Exhibits, Inc.
New York’s dairy industry is the state’s largest agricultural sector. With more than 5,000 farms, the majority of which are family-run operations, the dairy industry supports the framework of the agricultural economy. The dairy community brought in $2.5 billion in sales, and the dairy industry hired almost 20,000 people in New York in 2015. New York’s dairy products also account for at least 50 percent of all New York State agricultural commodities exported internationally.
About American Dairy Association North East
American Dairy Association North East (ADANE) is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council® and the regional consolidation of three promotion organizations including the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, Inc., Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program. Committed to nutrition education and research-based communications, ADANE provides science-based nutrition information to, and in collaboration with, a variety of stakeholders committed to fostering a healthier nation, including health professionals, educators, school nutrition directors, academia, industry, consumers and media. Funded by dairy checkoff dollars from more than 12,000 dairy farm families in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and northern Virginia, ADANE works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™ to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the North East region. For more information, visit www.dairyspot.com.
About Tully’s Good Times
Established in Batavia in 1991, Tully’s Good Times are locally owned and operated, sports-themed, casual dining restaurants with a family atmosphere. With 11 locations throughout New York State and northern Pa., Tully’s is proud to be a staple of life in Western New York, Central New York and the Southern Tier and Scranton.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 92-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 20 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2017.