SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– If you head out to the New York State Fair this year and wonder where many of the fan-favorite animals are, you won’t be alone.
Fairgoers have been asking for days where all the livestock is, so NewsChannel 9 went out to the fair to find out.
Fair Director Troy Waffner says it’s a mix of reasons why so many animals and their farmers are missing from the fair this year, starting with the pandemic.
“Attendance is down some because fairgoers are nervous to come to the fair, we have the same issue with animal exhibitors as you can imagine,” Waffner said.
Charlie Luchsinger, Co-Superintendent of the Dairy Cattle Barn said planning for these big state shows takes nearly eight to nine months, and with only about eight weeks to prepare, many of the farmers decided to sit out this year.
“Well this year with the uncertainty with COVID we really didn’t get the go-ahead that we were going to have a show here until sometime in July, there were a lot of other shows that were already set up and planned that people chose to go to,” he said.
But for some farmers, coming to the New York State Fair is family tradition.
Christine Reed, one of the farmers showing two of her cows at the fair this year said she does it for the kids.
Reed and her husband raised sixth-generation farmers on their dairy cattle farm in Clifton Springs and loved taking their kids to the fair each year to show off the cattle. Now she’s helping to keep that tradition alive with her grandchildren.
“I think it’s important to be out here showing people that we care about our cows, they are our livelihood,” she said.
Tradition is also the reason fairgoers Alicia Letta and Shawn Degrand come back year after year to see the animals.
Letta said she and her husband Shawn came to the fair before they had their two children, and now they come every year to show them the animals.
“We were really missing the pigs, there was only six goats in the goat building so that kind of hit us a little bit,” Degrand said.
However, they tried to make the most of what was available this year. They’re also looking forward to what the fair will have in store for next year.