ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Governor Kathy Hochul is taking the suggestion of State Fair Director Troy Waffner and returning the New York State Fair back to a 13-day duration next year.
Governor Hochul said, “Returning to a 13-day schedule next year ensures that fairgoers can once again experience all of their favorite shows, exhibits, vendors, and attractions around the New York State Fair while also supporting greater coordination with our county and youth fairs.”
The 2022 event will run from Wednesday, August 24 to Labor Day, Monday, September 5.
On Monday, Waffner told NewsChannel 9, “I think 13 days was a good run of the Fair. Like I said, very sustainable. I think it would be a wise move to go back to it.”
“I think if you took a straw poll,” said Waffner, “we’d vote overwhelmingly in favor of 13 days.”
Waffner said the overwhelming opinion comes from his conversation with Fair employees, vendors, exhibitors, and Fair visitors.
In early 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded the 13-day event to 18 days. Then, the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 Fair and delayed the 18-day premier year to 2021.
Despite the 18-day run, the 2021 Fair had an attendance of 798,095, the lowest since 1985. It’s the first Fair since 2015 to not attract more than 1 million guests.
The 2021 Fair’s daily average is 41,250 people, the lowest daily average since 1941.
Waffner had said one benefit of the shorter Fair was the ability for exhibitors and vendors to attend either the massive Erie County Fair or the Delaware County Fair and then travel to Syracuse for the State Fair. When the dates overlapped in 2021, some of those vendors backed out of the State Fair.
Governor Kathy Hochul, a native of Erie County, is also calling for a state-wide review of county fairs and the State Fair to increase marketing and promotion for smaller fairs.
The review will also include studying smoking policies at the State Fair. A common complaint of the 2021 event was the amount of marijuana smoked on the fairgrounds.