Milk Bar Taps Open In Four Days to Pour Perfectly Chilled Tradition and Highlight Future Student Leaders

Celebrate New York's Dairy Industry at The Great New York State Fair's 41st Annual Dairy Day, August 31

Cornell Cooperative Extension to Operate Milk Bar, Featuring 4-H and FFA Student Volunteers from Around New York State

Strawberry Milk to Return for the Fair’s Final Weekend


Keeping with tradition, fairgoers will enjoy perfectly chilled cups of $.25 cent milk, when the New York State Fair kicks off later this week. The New York State Milk Bar Operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension will serve White and Chocolate Milk, from Upstate Farms, on tap every day during the Fair, except for the Fair’s final three days... That’s when White Milk will be swapped out for Strawberry Milk, following a successful experiment last year.

Strawberry Milk was most recently served during the 2021 Fair after a lengthy hiatus. Now, back by popular demand, Strawberry Milk will be poured starting Saturday, September 3 through Labor Day, Monday, September 5.

“The New York State Milk Bar continues to be one of the most affordable food finds at the Great New York State Fair. A family of four – or a group of four friends - can enjoy four glasses for just $1. How can you beat that?” said Interim director Sean Hennessey. “And, thanks to the important work of our friends at Cornell Cooperative Extension, when fairgoers enjoy cups of milk, they’re also supporting future farmers and food industry leaders.”

Throughout the Fair’s 13-day run, fairgoers will see young volunteers (ages 13 to 17 years old) from the Broome County 4H and the Lewis County 4H, as well as volunteers from the New York State Future Farmers of America (NYS FFA) chapters in Middleburgh (from Schoharie County), and Stockbridge Valley and Hamilton (both from Madison County) pouring at the Milk Bar. This is in addition to volunteer support being provided by staff and faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension, and temporary employees of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cayuga County.

“By providing workforce development and opportunities to youth in Central New York, Cornell Cooperative Extension Cayuga County is also helping to train the next generation of employees and leaders in the food system,” said Dan Welch, executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension Cayuga County. “We are proud to partner with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Fair. This is a great venue to teach consumers about how milk gets from local farms to their cups. Cayuga County dairy farms are an important part of the local and regional economy.”

Many Cayuga County based farms supply the milk for the New York State Milk Bar Operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension. Cayuga County is the second largest producer of milk in the state, and the 36th largest producer of milk in the United States. New York’s dairy industry is the largest agricultural sector in New York State. Dairy accounts for approximately one-half of the state’s total agricultural income. With nearly 3,600 dairy producers that produce over 15 billion pounds of milk annually, New York is the nation’s fifth largest dairy state. New York’s unique and talented dairy producers and processors provide significant contributions to New York’s agriculture industry, the economy, and to the health of our communities.

“Cornell Cooperative Extension is delighted to partner with the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets to operate the Milk Bar at the New York State Fair,” said Dr. Christopher Watkins, Director of Cornell Cooperative Extension. “This initiative provides opportunities for our youth to educate New York’s consumers about the great dairy industry, while gaining customer service experience and important workforce skills.”

How to Pay: Since 2017, fairgoers redeem milk tokens to purchase their $.25 milk. They receive milk tokens by inserting coins and bills ($1, $5, $10) into various token machines set up around the Dairy Products Building. While astute observers will notice the design on the token changes each year, “old” tokens may be redeemed.

The Fair begins this Wednesday, August 24, and continues through Monday, September 5. 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. The 2022 Fair begins Wednesday, August 24, and continues through Monday, September 5.  

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 FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Guests are invited to see photos from the Fair on Flickr and ideas are always welcome. New Yorkers are encouraged to send suggestions via email to