Sea Lions Return to The Great New York State Fair as Part of Roster of Free, Entertaining Shows

Sea Lions Return to The Great New York State Fair as Part of Roster of Free, Entertaining Shows

Fan Favorites Including Hilby, Bandaloni, Circus Hollywood and Racing Pigs Return Too!


A perennial fairgoer favorite, the Sea Lion Splash Show, heads this year’s list of free entertainment at the 2022 Great New York State Fair. This is the first time since 2016 that the Sea Lions have been part of the Fair’s entertainment.

The show features sea lions performing in a presentation that is equal parts funny and educational. Many fairgoers have fond memories – and pictures – of themselves and/or their children posing with a sea lion at the end of a show. Starting on Opening Day, Wednesday, August 24, the sea lions will perform three times daily during the week (Monday through Friday), at 11 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. with four shows on weekends (Saturday & Sunday), at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Fair fans can also look forward to the return of entertainers, including Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy and Bandaloni the One Man Band.  A full list of entertainers is provided below, and linked here, on the State Fair’s website.

Eco-magician Steve Trash is new to the entertainment line-up this year. His mix of comedy, music, and magic makes use of recycled or discarded items to weave a unique ecological message throughout his show. The Rockin’ Eco-Hero and host of the PBS series “Steve Trash Science” will perform three times daily in the Empire Theater of the Art & Home Center, at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

State Fair interim Director Sean Hennessey said, “We love to introduce new performers like Steve Trash to the Fair audience, and it’s a treat to be able to bring back long-missed favorites like the Sea Lion Splash Show too! Fairgoers have raved about the show for many years, and I admit, I can’t wait to get my picture taken with a sea lion either!”

Great shows and street-level surprises are spread throughout the Fairgrounds. Fair visitors can look forward to the following free shows with their $3 Fair admission:

  • Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy is arguably the favorite of all the Fair’s entertainers. The hilarious and sarcastic juggling comedian performs at 11:30 a.m., 3:15 p.m. and 5 p.m. outside the Science and Industry Building along Chevy Court, starting Monday, August 29;
  • Bandaloni, the One Man Band, rockin’ and rollin’ with the full band he carries on his back, joins the Fair line-up starting Thursday, August 25. Crowds will gather for Bandaloni at 2 p.m.., 4 p.m., and 7 p.m. daily along Restaurant Row;
  • The Strolling Piano, a big hit in its first year at the 2021 Fair, will perform at 3 p.m., 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. around the Expo Center;
  • Mighty Mike’s feats of strength and comedy return for a second year as well, with shows at 11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily. Look for Mighty Mike on the end of Chevy Court closest to the State Park at the Fair;
  • Circus Hollywood, a Fair mainstay, returns with performances showcasing amazing skill and strength at 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. every day behind the Expo Center;
  • The Hollywood Racing Pigs speed back to the Fair for another season of porky pace. Watch the Racing Pigs at the Family Fun Zone, across from the Youth Building, at 12:00 p.m., 3 p.m., and 6 p.m. each day.
  • Birds of Prey land in the State Park at the Fair for a new season of amazing education, at 11:00 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. daily;
  • Team Sandtastic’s Sand Sculpture returns to the Center of Progress Building with a sculpture of...well, we can’t tell you, yet. You’ll have to see it for yourself, and if you come in the early days of the Fair, you can watch the sculptors work as they complete the masterpiece.
  • Finally, fireworks return to the skies over the Fairgrounds on the first and last days of the Fair. Look up after the evening show on the Chevy Park stage ends.

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