LocalSYR

New fair director ready to make changes

The State Fair’s new director says he’s ready to take on the daunting task of righting the ship at the beleaguered Fair. Just a week ago, the Inspector General’s Office released a scathing report that led to the removal of four people including former fair director Dan O’Hara.
Geddes (WSYR-TV) -- The State Fair’s new director says he’s ready to take on the daunting task of righting the ship at the beleaguered Fair. Just a week ago, the Inspector General’s Office released a scathing report that led to the removal of four people including former fair director Dan O’Hara.

Attendance was down quite bit last year, but there were far bigger problems behind the scenes that were cited by the Inspector General. Steering contracts to certain vendors, favoritism with others and two fair workers were secretly living on the Fair grounds, among other things.

“There are a number of individual items that will be addressed over the coming weeks and months. You are going to see a very different administration of the fair,” State Fair Director Tom Ryan told NewsChannel 9.

We’ve heard that before. Last week’s report was the third in 27 months ripping the fair, which is why Ryan says privatizing is not out of the question, long term.

“That’s a possibility,” Ryan said. “It’s not under active discussion right now, but as we look forward, we’ll recommend the best model for the best fair.”

While there has been a tremendous focus on Chevy Court and getting as many free acts as possible, the last few years. Ryan says they’re refocusing on putting as many acts as they can at the grandstand, too.

"Schedules are very important because you have to catch on to the right tours at the right time. We want to have as many grandstand acts as we can, we want to have acts that people really want to see,” Ryan continued.

Ryan says the ultimate goal is to make sure they deliver the best, for both fairgoers and taxpayers.

As of now, we’re exactly six months away from the Great New York State Fair. As for the theme this year, that’s up to you. The fair is asking for input on this year’s theme. Last year’s theme was “A Smile a Minute.”

Email your theme idea to statefairideas@agriculture.ny.gov. You have until March 15 to submit your ideas.

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