GEDDES — This year’s edition of the New York State Fair kicks off Aug. 21 at the state fairgrounds in Geddes, just west of Syracuse.
Fair Director Troy Waffner and his crew have made numerous improvements to the fairgrounds and are adding new things to see for the 2019 fair.
In addition to new items at the fair, the 13-day event includes many highlights that people enjoy year after year. Those include the many animal barns where people can see and touch farm animals (beef and dairy cows, pigs, goats, horses, poultry, llamas) from across the state and even talk to the farmers about the animals.
And yes, in the swine barn there will be numerous sows with lots of piglets to see.
If there are certain animal competitions you want to see, go to https://nysfair.ny.gov/your-visit/agriculture/ to check out the schedule.
In the Dairy Products Building are two of the most popular attractions on the fairgrounds — the butter sculpture and the Milk Bar with cups of white or chocolate milk for just 25 cents. Be sure to check out the Agricultural Museum to see displays of how things were done in yesteryears, the Horticulture Building filled with beekeepers, maple producers and apple producers and the ever popular baked potatoes.
The bovine moms-to-be will be back to give birth live in the Dairy Cow Birthing Center located in the Family Fun Zone near the Youth Building.
There’s the ever-popular Midway filled with games, food and rides by Wade Shows and there are two money-saving opportunities on the Wade Shows Midway. On Midway Monday, Aug. 26, fairgoers can purchase a wristband good for 10 rides for $10. On Labor Day, all Midway rides are $1. The Broadway Skyliner is not included.
Wristbands are not recommended for children under 36 inches tall as there are a limited number of rides they can safely ride. Parents with children under 48 inches tall should check the height requirements before purchasing to make an informed decision about whether wristbands are the best value for their children.
There is also the food truck competition in which 40 food trucks from across the state compete from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 1 and 2 at the New York Experience festival area on the west end of the fairgrounds. Twelve trucks are new to the competition this year, as people visiting the fair get to bop from truck to truck sampling food made mostly with New York state agricultural products.
n The State Fair Pin to collect this year is a white llama with a state fair hat on.
n Goat Park, where the old sheep barn was located. Young goats frolicking in a designated area outside. There will also be a nice grassy area for fairgoers to enjoy some rest.
n Sheep Tent. Due to the sheep barn being taken down as a result of the Dec. 31 storm, the sheep will be located in two tents next to the Dairy Cattle Birthing Center and Circus.
n 4-H and FFA will have a bigger presence in the Horticulture Building with a booth for the full 13 days near the potato booth.
n The rabbits barn is having new educational demonstrations on the care of rabbits and cavies at 2 p.m. most days of the fair.
n Horse shows in the Coliseum continue to offer fairgoers a headset through which they can listen to a commentator that will explain what is going on, such as what breed of horse is in the ring, how they get trained, what the judge is looking for.
n The New York Christmas tree displays are being moved back to their previous location in front of the Horticulture Building
Parking — The New York State Fair will begin using a large parking lot near the Main Gate and expand the spaces available in some of its highest-use lots as efforts continue to improve parking for the fair.
Parking will remain $5 per vehicle for fair lots, including the new Willis Lot. Parking is free at Centro Park-N-Ride lots.
Three Park-N-Ride lots, the busiest and largest ones served by Centro for the Fair, will add spaces this year. The lot at Farrell Road and John Glenn Boulevard, just off I-690, will grow to about 2,300 spaces, the Destiny USA entertainment destination will provide 3,100 vehicle spaces this year and the lot at ShoppingTown Mall will increase to 1,600 spaces.
In all, about 24,851 parking spaces will be available this year, compared to 25,963 in 2018.
Riders will enter through the new bus terminal area in the Gray Lot adjacent to Gate 10. Trams to all points of the fairgrounds are available inside and four new trams will provide express service between Gate 10 and the Chevy Court area without intermediate stops.
All fair trams are free.
In addition, parking is available for $5 per vehicle in the fair’s Orange, Brown, Pink and Gray lots. E-Z Pass Plus is accepted in the Orange and Brown lots while cash is accepted in all Fair lots.
Free shuttles run continuously from the Orange Lot to the Main Gate.