State Fair to reopen at 100% capacity

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ALBANY — The good news is that the New York State Fair will reopen to 100% capacity, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, announced on Monday. The bad news is that this means a return to the omnipresent lines for the Midway, chocolate milk and a front row spot to observe the annual butter sculpture.

The fair, an end-of-summer celebration, will be held Aug. 20-Sept. 6 at the State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.

Cuomo said the move for a larger reopening — which includes plans to reopen many popular buildings with additional vendors— is a result of the significant progress New Yorkers have made against COVID-19.

In accordance with the State’s evolving health guidelines, indoor spaces will be subject to capacity limits to allow attendees to be socially distanced within each building.

“The State Fair is New York’s signature end-of-summer fest, and thanks to our ongoing efforts to follow safety guidelines and get more people vaccinated, the 2021 New York State Fair will be even bigger and better,” Cuomo said.

“This is a testament to our remarkable progress against COVID, making it possible for thousands more visitors from across the country and all over the world to enjoy the Fair’s unique attractions and experience the best of what New York has to offer.”

“I congratulate New Yorkers for having made this possible, and I encourage everyone to make the trip to Central New York this summer and support our New York vendors as we continue to reopen our economy and bring back beloved big events across the state,” the governor added.

In the 49 days since Cuomo announced the return of the State Fair on April 26 at 50% capacity, the public health condition has dramatically improved with more New Yorkers vaccinated and far fewer new COVID-19 cases, Cuomo said. This progress has allowed for the State Fairgrounds to be prepared to reopen many indoor buildings, allow more vendors to return, and increase the number of attendees while still adhering to the State’s health guidance.

Under the expanded State Fair model announced Monday, more New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the State’s best live music and entertainment, Midway amusement rides, agriculture education and awareness, as well as food and drink, including the Fair’s most iconic culinary experiences which include the Pizze Fritte, 25-cent New York milk, sausage sandwiches, and wine slushies. The Fair will run for 18 days, which is the longest duration ever for this annual event.

So far, the following State Fair concerts have been announced, with large concerts taking place at the Chevy Park stage in the New York Experience Stage for proper distancing, and the smaller ones taking place at Chevy Court: LoCash, Friday, Aug. 20, time to be announced; Nas, Friday, Aug. 20, 8 p.m.; 98 Degrees, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2 p.m.;

RATT, Saturday, Aug. 21, time to be announced; Brothers Osborne, Sunday, Aug. 22, 8 p.m.; Bishop Briggs, Monday, Aug. 23, time to be announced; Foreigner, Monday, Aug. 23, 8 p.m.; Dire Straits Legacy, Tuesday, Aug. 24, time to be announced; Train, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 8 p.m.; REOSpeedwagon, Wednesday, Aug. 25, 8 p.m.; Three Dog Night, Thursday, Aug. 26, time to be announced;

BellBivDevoe, Thursday, Aug. 26, at 8 p.m.; Sister Sledge, Friday, Aug. 27, 2 p.m.; Melissa Etheridge, Friday, Aug. 27, 8 p.m.; Vixen and Great White, Saturday, Aug. 28, time to be announced; Noah Cyrus, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2 p.m.; Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Sunday, Aug. 29, time to be announced;

DropkickMurphys, Sunday, Aug. 29, 8 p.m.; Pat Noone, Monday, Aug. 30, 2 p.m.; Grandson, Monday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m.; The Oak Ridge Boys, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2 p.m.; Halestorm, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 8 p.m.; Sheena Easton, Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2 p.m.; Blue Oyster Cult, Wednesday, Sept. 1, time to be announced; Starship featuring Mickey Thomas, Thursday, Sept. 2, time to be announced, UncleKracker, Friday, Sept. 3, 2 p.m.

Tickets will be $3 per person, with children under 12 admitted free of charge. Attendees will be required to follow COVID-19 health guidance from the Department of Health that is in effect at the time of the event. Further details on Fair ticket sales and on specific rules for guests will be announced by mid-July and are subject to change with the State’s health guidance.

“New York’s farmers and producers were hit as hard as any industry in the state but managed, with help from programs like Nourish New York, to keep food coming and to get food to people in need,” said state Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball. “The Fair is our state’s celebration of agriculture and I know that this year’s celebration will be like no other.”

“We are excited to be able to reopen our buildings and welcome more New Yorkers to their state fair. This year’s Fair will be a testament to the hard work we’ve all put in to recover from this once-in-a-century crisis and it will be in many ways the best Fair in our long history,” said State Fair Director Troy Waffner. 

“The New York State Fair is both an important cultural tradition and an incredible economic driver for so many here in Upstate. Our communities felt the ripple effects of a closed Fair far and wide last year. I am very happy that we have reached a vaccination threshold that allows us to increase the attendance of the Fair safely,” said state Sen. Rachel May, D-53, Syracuse.

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