At least 10 new public events and festivals will come to Upstate New York’s home of great events, the New York State Fairgrounds, in the first half of 2022 as the special events industry stages a robust economic rebound. In all, more than 50 public events are tentatively scheduled to take place on the Fairgrounds through June, with inquiries for open dates coming in almost daily.
New events coming to the Fairgrounds include:
- The Cavalcade of Cars, March 26 – 27, a huge indoor classic car show that is expanding from its Buffalo base;
- The international Taste Festival, April 9 – 10, featuring food, music and culture from around the world;
- Two dance competitions – The Royal Dance Competition in April and the Imagine Dance Challenge in May; and
- The Iroquois Empire Volleyball Association Icicle Challenge, February 19 – 21, followed at the end of April with their Boys/Girls Regionals tournament.
State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, “The year-round business of the Fairgrounds is to support the economic growth of the region. These events will bring many new people to Central New York. We’re pleased that these events have chosen the Fairgrounds as their event venues.”
Iroquois Empire Volleyball Association Commissioner Hazel Goldstein said, “IREVA was so pleased to be able come to the New York State Fairgrounds and the Center of Progress Building for our tournament in 2021. Every staff member at the Fairgrounds was easily accessible, happy to help and pleasant to deal with! We loved being there and look forward to a long and continued relationship.”
International Taste Festival promoter Stephanie Pestillo said, “With the International Taste Festival being a new event in the Central NY area in April 2022, the Fairgrounds is the perfect fit. It offers the largest open events space in the Northeast, state of the art accommodations and services to the public, and plenty of free parking for all. The partnership with the Fairgrounds has been instrumental in creating the perfect environment for an event that will offer the culturally diverse cuisine and entertainment that the area has to offer.”
In addition to the new events, the Fairgrounds’ largest regular shows, such as the New York Farm Show, Winter Fair, Jurassic Quest, the Central New York Home Show, and the Syracuse Nationals will return in 2022. Various promoters have also made plans to bring back perennial events such as RV shows, indoor auto racing and racing-related shows, outdoor sports shows, graduations, and craft shows. In addition, promoters of the New York State Blues Festival plan to return in June after moving their longtime festival to the Fairgrounds in 2021. The new season of events has already begun, with the opening of the Wegmans Ice Masters drive-thru ice sculpting event, taking place now through January 2.
The Fairgrounds remained a vital and busy place during the pandemic, even as its normal business had to be put on hold. The Exposition Center became Upstate New York’s largest mass vaccination center, providing at its peak more than 10,000 vaccinations in a single day as it operated around the clock to become the second largest vaccination site in America. The Horticulture Building became a drive-through COVID testing facility, operated by Upstate University Hospital. Promoters adapted to the changes, holding drive-through food events and drive-in movies and, in good weather, socially distanced outdoor carnivals. Vaccinations and testing remain available even as public and private events have returned.
Event spaces on the Fairgrounds range from smaller rooms suitable for meetings to mid-size and large buildings for craft and trade shows to the 110,000 square-foot Expo Center, the largest clear span building north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland, for the largest events. Huge parking lots are available so event managers can offer free or paid parking, in line with their business models, with shuttle service available from distant lots. A full-time events and security staff cleans and secures buildings and other services are available a la carte. Event promoters and meeting planners seeking more information can call or email Events Manager Todd Dupell at 315-728-4380. Building floor plans and other information are available on the Fairgrounds website.
The New York State Fairgrounds is the home of great events for Upstate New York. More than 10 million people live within about a three hour drive of the Fairgrounds, which sits near the intersection of two major interstate highways. A year-round schedule of events is available here. Find the Great New York State Fair on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and enjoy photos from the Fair on Flickr.