Becoming a Vendor

Daily Attendance 1

Important Information for Potential Vendors

2023 New York State Fair • August 23 - September 4

So you sell food, drinks or merchandise and you are thinking you’d like to become a vendor at the Great New York State Fair? We receive many, many more applications each year than we have space for, so it’s important to know a few things about us before filling out your first application.

  • For many vendors, moving up to a major festival such as ours is a very large step. Think about where you are working now. How big is the event? Are there levels between you and the Fair? If so, consider moving up carefully to a bigger event, such as a regional festival.
  • What can you afford? Rental rates are by the square foot and prices for a 10’ by 10’ space for example, are between $13 and $35 per square foot, depending on where you are placed. You can see rates here.
  • Staffing is always a concern. The Fair runs for 13 days, with several days of setup before opening day. You’re required to be open every hour the Fair’s buildings or grounds are open, which can be 11 hours or more per day. You’ll need enough staff to cover all those hours while working within state labor laws.
  • What are you selling? You have the best chance to be accepted if you are offering something the Fair doesn’t have. We reject many applications because they’re selling products our returning vendors are already selling.
  • What does your setup look like? This isn’t a neighborhood crafts show – a table and tablecloth isn’t enough. We’re looking for colorful, well-designed displays that are fun for fairgoers to look at and which entice them to check out your stand.
  • If you’re selling food, think about how complicated your menu is. The most successful vendors have a limited range of offerings that they can prepare quickly. You are competing against more than 100 other food vendors and fairgoers won’t wait a long time for food. Simplify your menu and your cooking process.
  • If you cook in a tent, that’s a problem. The Fair cannot allow cooking under tents due to fire regulations.
  • How are your marketing skills? You’re in what you might call a massive shopping mall, with nearly 400 food, beverage and merchandise competitors. It’s not the Fair’s job to make you a success; it’s yours. Think about how you’d stand out, especially because new vendors can take a few years to become established with fairgoers who may stick to patterns they have used for decades.

 

Those are some of the major issues you need to consider before applying as a vendor to the Fair. We wish you the best of luck and are happy to answer questions anytime. Contact the Concessions & Exhibits Office at geneanne.k-smith@agriculture.ny.gov or kelli.wolfe@agriculture.ny.gov.