SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Governor Andrew Cuomo visited Syracuse Monday morning with a major announcement. New York State is planning to hold the Great State Fair for all 18 days in this summer beginning August 20.
“The New York State Fair is one of our biggest and most exciting tourist attractions that celebrates the spirit of New York and generates economic growth for the region and the entire state,” Governor Cuomo said. “I’ve said time and again that no one wants to open the Fair this year more than I do – and we are finally making it happen in a safe, responsible way with the 2021 Reimagined New York State Fair. This celebration is a unique reward for New Yorkers who have made so many sacrifices during this pandemic and will allow visitors from across the state and the country to enjoy some of the best attractions the Fair has to offer with all necessary safety guidelines in place. This is an important step towards the full return of New York’s largest events as we continue to reopen and reimagine our state’s economy.”
The state is considering the fairgrounds in four sections, food and beverage, concerts, amusement rides, and agriculture, to control the crowd sizes. As of right now, the fair will open at 50% capacity.
State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, “We’ve been honored to have served the state as one of the nation’s largest vaccination centers and are happy that our facilities have been used for blood drives, testing and other aspects of the fight against COVID-19. So it will be a special treat to welcome people back to the Fairgrounds so we can do what we do best – show New Yorkers a great time.”
Concerts at the fair will operate under New York State’s guidelines for outdoor concert venues. Among the acts scheduled this year are REO Speedwagon, Dropkick Murphys, Sheena Easton, Great White and Vixen, and the Oak Ridge Boys.
Tickets will be sold for each of the outdoor areas, so families can decide which areas they want to visit and plan their day accordingly. Admission will cost $3 per person. As always, children 12 and under will be free.
Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, “After a long and difficult absence, food and drinks grown and made in New York will be available again at the Fairgrounds. Families will once again be able to introduce young people to the animals that are an important part of our state’s agriculture. We are excited to welcome people back to the Fairgrounds as a sign that, through their hard work and sacrifice, life is slowly returning to normal.”
Buildings will not be open to the public with the exception of restrooms.
Gov. Cuomo says restrictions are all subject to change and could ease if New York’s COVID-19 data warrants. Updates will be posted to the New York State Fair’s website.
On Monday, New York’s statewide average infection rate was at 2.39% with hospitalizations at the lowest since before Thanksgiving. Forty-one New Yorkers died from the virus. “2.39% is great progress in reducing COVID but the deaths make the point we are not out of the woods,” said Cuomo.
The state has updated guidelines for specific industries outside of NYC, allowing them to increase capacity:
- Outdoor Stadiums: Increase from 20% to 33%
- Offices: Increase from 50% to 75%
- Casinos: Increase from 25% to 50%
- Gyms: Increase from 33% to 50%
The governor is not making a vaccination a requirement for the New York State Fair in August but did say the state is considering allowing more people to walk into clinics without an appointment and will focus on vaccine education for anyone hesitant to receive a shot.
Currently, those 60 years and older do not require appointments at state-run vaccination sites.