What’s Growing on this Spring? Flower Shows to Return to The Great New York State Fair

2017 Competition Results 2

As gardeners around New York State plan their flower and produce gardens this spring, the Great New York State Fair hopes to “plant seeds” as well. To master and amateur gardeners around the state, the Fair encourages horticulturists to consider participating in one or more of the Fair’s competitions designed to show off the fruits (and flowers) of their labor.   Meanwhile, for fairgoers, the message is this: Flower shows are back! Each day during the Fair, visitors will have an opportunity to see “what’s growing on” in the Horticulture Building as a full slate of flower shows will be presented for the first time since 2019.

During the Fair, the flower shows are a staple sight – and smell – at the center court area within the Horticulture Building, and the featured plants and specimen are visible during building hours. Led by Flower Show Superintendent Fred Miller, a group of a dozen volunteers are planning nine shows throughout the duration of the 2023 Fair. Each show will highlight a different theme, outlined in the table below. For planning purposes, educational exhibits will complement many of the shows. More details related to this will be provided later.

2023 Flower Show Schedule:

=== Date === === Theme & Exhibit ===
Wednesday, August 23 Gladiolus Show
Thursday, August 24 Outdoor Grown Garden Fruits & Vegetables
Friday, August 25 Hosta Cut Leaf Show
Saturday, August 26 Trees & Shrubs Show

Ornamental Grasses & Grass-Like Plants Show

Sunday, August 27 Trees & Shrubs Show

Ornamental Grasses & Grass-Like Plants Show

Monday, August 28 Dahlia Show
Tuesday, August 29 Dahlia Show
Wednesday, August 30 Gladiolus Show
Thursday, August 31 Gladiolus Show
Friday, September 1 Gladiolus Show
Saturday, September 2 Garden Flowers & Roses Show
Sunday, September 3 Container Grown Plants Show
Monday, September 4 Container Grown Plants Show

Held concurrently with the volunteer-led flower shows, three “Artistic Design” flower shows will also take place during the Fair. Presented by the Federated Garden Clubs of Central New York District VI, the overall theme of the Artistic Design Flower Show shines a spotlight on “The Power of Flowers.” Exhibitors will be able to showcase displays in categories including Tables, Creative Style and Traditional Flower Designs, as well as in Artistic Crafts, and Photography.

2023 Artistic Design Show Schedule:

=== DATE === === SHOW ===
Wednesday, August 23 – Monday, August 28 Life in Bloom
Tuesday, August 29 – Monday, September 4 Floral Therapy
Wednesday, August 23 – Monday, September 4 Botanical Arts: Photography

Any gardener - master or amateur – or floral artist may enter any of the competitions. “As the old adage goes, ‘April showers bring May flowers’ and we can’t wait to see those flowers – and other floral delights – back at the Great New York State Fair this summer,” said Interim Fair Director Sean Hennessey. “So many people, of all ages and backgrounds, have fond memories of walking through the Horticulture Building, literally stopping to smell the roses and an array of other beautiful scents. As we continue to bounce back from the pandemic and plan the 2023 Fair, it’s encouraging to see this sign–a return to normalcy–sprouting up. We are incredibly thankful to our dedicated volunteers, like Fred Miller, for bringing this treasured tradition back to life.”

“As a gardener here in Central New York, it is meaningful to be able to give back to the community in this way. I’d like to thank the State Fair for giving me the opportunity to work in the Horticulture Division at the Great New York State Fair,” said Flower Show Superintendent Fred Miller. “It’s exciting to work with exhibitors and fair officials to showcase all of the incredible horticulture that New York State has to offer and be able to share that with Fair visitors. I hope that everyone will think of us while you plant this spring, and that you’ll  consider showing your flowers at the Fair this year. Be sure to stop by the Horticulture Building to see the new and improved horticulture exhibits, on display every day of the 2023 Fair.”

The Fair starts Wednesday, August 23, and runs through Labor Day, Monday, September 4. The Flower Shows are just one component of agriculture attractions that help bring nearly one million people to the Fairgrounds each year and one element of the competitions that attract thousands of participants from each region of the state.

A full list of all flower-related categories and how to enter the competitions will be posted under the “Competitions” heading on the Fair’s website (accessible from the home page) by the end of the month. In addition to flower shows, competitive New Yorkers are encouraged to enter a variety of categories, including culinary and desserts related, fine arts, dairy products, and several livestock related categories. As competitions are announced and finalized, Fair staff will update schedules on the Fair’s website at a section dedicated to competitions.

“Whether you win a premium cash prize, a coveted blue ribbon, or good old-fashioned bragging rights, we wish you luck and encourage you to participate,” Hennessey said.

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. It is the oldest fair in the United States and is consistently recognized as being among the top five state fairs in the nation.

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, browse photos on Flickr, and follow the fun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.