Everything you need to know about the 2021 New York State Fair before buying a ticket


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The Great New York State Fair returns on August 20, after a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

After a record 1.3 million people visited the show in 2019, this year’s staff expect to see even more business due to the increased duration of the show this year, said show spokesperson Dave Bullard.

With the fairground operating at 100% capacity and with concert halls expected to attract up to 20,000 people, COVID-19 precautions will be in place throughout the fair to mitigate the spread of the virus. Troy Waffner, the fair manager, doubts the fair will have to close or reduce capacity at any time during the event.

“I am convinced that we can organize the fair safely,” he said.


This year’s festivities will last 18 days – several more days have been added this year – and feature a star-studded lineup of musicians of all genres. While guests can still find the showcase of local agriculture and food on display, some classics like Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Tully’s Good Times will be missing from the fair scene this year.

Onondaga County Director Ryan McMahon on Tuesday signed an executive order requiring masks inside all buildings at the fair. The fair also made many changes to the structure of the fair in accordance with CDC guidelines, Waffner said.

“We have spaced out vendors a lot more than in the past in buildings and outdoors, just to give a little more social distance between the vendors and to make sure the lines don’t collide,” Waffner said. .

Pictured here in 2019, attendees will once again be able to attend agricultural events and concerts when the fair returns on August 20.
Daily Orange File Photo

New to the fair this year is the vaccination center. The fairground will continue to administer free vaccines during the fair and will also have free COVID-19 rapid tests for vendors and fair visitors available at all times, Waffner said.

Attendees will not be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter the fair, but there will be signage and fair representatives to enforce mask mandates inside, a said Waffner.

Syracuse University plans to provide free shuttles from campus to the fair over the Labor Day weekend, said Butch Hallmark, deputy director of the Office of Freshman and Transfer Programs. But for students looking for daily routes, the Centro de Syracuse bus line will also run directly to and from the fair every day of the fair from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Students can take the Centro bus at any of the following three stops: the Centro Transit Hub, Destiny USA, and Long Branch Park, for $ 2 each way.

Musical entertainment this year will be presented on the two stages of the fair, Chevy Court and the larger Chevy Park. Concerts at both stages are free with a daily entrance fee of $ 3 to the park, and seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

On opening night, Crown Heights rapper Nas will take the Chevy Park stage for a performance. The last time the artist performed at the fair, it drew 30,000 people.

Syracuse native rapper Scorey will perform on August 27, while YG, Sheff G and Sleepy Hallow will all perform over Labor Day weekend. Tickets for SU students will be reduced to $ 1 throughout Labor Day weekend, Waffner said in a Q&A with syracuse.com.

“That’s why I always book hip-hop – students from Syracuse flock to it,” Waffner said.

Additionally, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Foreigner and The Beach Boys are just a few big names in classic rock who will be stopping by the fair this year. There will also be performances of country and pop music, including Noah Cyrus and Jesse McCartney.

“I think it’s mostly the food and the music that really draws people in,” Waffner said.

There will be around 200 food vendors at the fair, Waffner said. The fair has secured restaurants like the Toss & Fire Wood-Fired Pizza restaurant and Oh My Darling, which is new to the fair.

Food vendor at the Great New York State Fair 2019

The fair, seen here in 2019, will welcome both new and old food vendors.
Daily Orange File Photo

Toss & Fire’s food truck is adding six fair-trade-inspired pizzas to the menu this year, like the Caramel Apple Pizza topped with wood-roasted New York apples, frosting and caramel sauce. Customers can also try one of six pizzas at any of Toss & Fire’s North Syracuse or Camillus stores during the duration of the fair.

“It was not a difficult decision for us to come back to the fair,” said Nick Baiamonte, director of Toss & Fire. “The show is probably one of our favorite events of the year, and we are delighted to return to all of our loyal customers.”

CNY classics Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Tully’s Good Times won’t return this year, both citing staffing issues amid a greater labor shortage in New York City. While fairground enthusiasts may not be able to enjoy Tully’s Good Times food, its Draft House will be available at the Beer Garden, stocked with cold beers of all varieties on tap for $ 4 and mixed drinks for 8. $.

In addition to food, drink and music, the fair hosts several arts and agricultural competitions that are a historically important part of the events, Waffner said.

“Animals and competitions are really the central mission that we emphasize,” he said.


In addition to the many dairy cow shows and competitions in the ox and cattle barns, festival-goers can also attend events for goats, horses and llamas. Also on display will be photography and other fine art competitions that feature the work of New York State residents.

The return of the fair will have a huge financial impact on the central New York area, Bullard said.

“We provide economic benefits to the region of over $ 100 million per year when we are open,” Bullard said. “It’s a way to leverage this investment over a longer period and deliver greater economic benefits to the region. “

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