New at the 2018 Great New York State Fair – Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades

NY Lighthouses & Lifesaving Exhibit, Boat Building Demonstrations, Name that Boat Contest and Boat Launch



More than 70 lighthouses across New York State still exist as working beacons, museums of America’s maritime history, a hostel or overnight stay. All the lights will be featured in a new exhibit at the August 22-September 3 Great New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY.

Visitors through the “Path Through Maritime History: Lighthouses and Lifesaving” exhibit will discover the fascinating history and lifesaving service of unique structures still standing from Long Island to Lake Erie, in the Finger Lakes, in New York City, and along Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, Hudson River and Lake Champlain.

“This exhibit endeavors to promote New York’s historic lighthouses as significant heritage tourism destinations with information on how people can visit and support each site,” noted exhibit designer Michael R. Pittavino, curator of the H. Lee White Maritime Museum, Oswego, NY.

New York Sea Grant, the Central New York Boating Industries Association, Central New York Boat Show, Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway, and Great New York State Fair are sponsoring the exhibit that includes:

  • Interactive kiosk with 70-plus lighthouses searchable in five regions: Finger Lakes, Great Lakes, Hudson River-Lake Champlain, New York City-Long Island, and Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Seaway
  • Interpretive panels, including a STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics-based look at how lighthouses function and a glimpse of Lighthouse Lifesaving Stations as the forerunner of the modern U.S. Coast Guard service
  • Recognition of NY’s female lighthouse keepers
  • Maritime artifacts including the uniform of a Syracuse man involved in the ill-fated rescue attempt of fellow US Coast Guardsmen in 1942 at Oswego West Pierhead Lighthouse and a small collection of items used at Galloo Island Lighthouse built in 1820 on Lake Ontario
  • NY Clean & Safe Boating exhibit and mini-lessons with U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary personnel
  • An underwater “fish cam” and the real-time remote sensing weather data buoy courtesy of the Great Lakes Research Consortium
  • Daily 2-4 pm, try operating an underwater drone with Great Lakes Research Consortium and ESF: College of Environmental Science and Forestry students
  • Boat building demonstrations of a strip-built kayak: boat builder Richard Bush will demonstrate and discuss his techniques daily 11am-12 pm, 1pm-2pm, 3pm-4pm daily; sponsored by H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego
  • Name the Boat contest: daily winners receive family pass to H. Lee White Maritime Museum; overall winner receives the dory built at last year’s Fair, and
  • Labor Day, 10:30 am boat launch into the State Fair Pond.


“The Fair and its pond in the New York Experience festival grounds provide a perfect showcase to highlight New York’s maritime history and waterfront tourism resources in a fresh, fun outdoor setting to encourage travel statewide and a resulting positive economic impact for our coastal communities,” said Acting Director Troy Waffner.

The Great Lakes Research Consortium, H. Lee White Maritime Museum, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, Oneida Lake Education Initiative, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Empire Dock and Lift are providing exhibit artifacts and hardware, funding, and staffing support.

“There is no better venue than the Great New York State Fair to put the unparalleled history and modern-day maritime resources of New York State on display and engage the public in experiences unique to New York’s waterfront,” said New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist David G. White.

New York Sea Grant has coordinated a waterfront recreation, safe boating or maritime history-themed exhibit for the Great New York State Fair since 2014.

For ticket information, directions to the “Lighthouses and Lifesaving” exhibit at the western end of the Fairgrounds and more details about the 2018 Great New York State Fair, visit

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog,

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