SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — With just a few days left, there are some things you might want to know about The Great New York State Fair before it starts Wednesday, Aug. 23.
That’s why NewsChannel 9 has gathered a list from the Fair of frequently asked questions to help give you answers.
The Fair questions have been divided into six different categories including the following:
- General Information & Admission Related Questions
- Parking, Transportation, Ride-Share & Accessibility
- What’s New and What’s Coming Back?
- Midway & Entertainment
- General Policy
Read along to see if this guide can answer any of your burning questions.
General Information & Admission-Related Questions about the Fair
1. What are the hours of operation?
The Fair opens on Wednesday, Aug. 23, and continues through Labor Day, Sep. 4. Gates open at 9 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. every day except for Labor Day, which the Fair closes at 8 p.m.
2. What are the Fair building hours?
Buildings are open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Exceptions include:
- The Art & Homes Center, which closes at 8 p.m. daily
- The Daniel Witter Parish Agriculture Museum, which closes at 7 p.m. daily; and
- The Exposition Center, which closes at 9 p.m. daily
3. How much is admission?
A fair ticket costs $6 and is free for those who are 65 years old and older and for children 12 years old and younger. The guide on how to purchase tickets can be found here.
4. Do I need to bring ID with me to get into the Fair?
Fairgoers 65 and older getting into the fair for free need to bring IDs with them to show at the gate. Children are permitted free on the honor system.
5. Do I have to purchase a ticket in advance?
Yes, tickets must be purchased online. No cash sales are allowed at the Fair’s entrance gates or in parking lots.
6. Will there be a $1 admission day?
No, there will not. The Fair states, “At $6, admission to The Great New York State Fair is the most affordable state fair admission in the United States.”
7. Will there be free admission on “Special Days?”
Information for “Special Days” can be found in the Fair Daily Events Guide.
8. Do I have to print out my ticket?
No, you don’t have to, although if you don’t have a smartphone where you can bring up your ticket then you should print it.
Parking, Transportation and Ride-Share questions
9. How do I purchase parking for the Fair?
Parking tickets can be purchased online in advance through Etix. All you have to do is show your ticket to parking attendants electronically on your phone or print a copy. In the Orange and Brown lots, parking may also be paid for using E-ZPass Plus. Parking may also be purchased in person in the parking lots using a debit or credit card but cash is not allowed.
10. Where do I park?
A parking guide can be found here.
11. Where can I find accessible parking?
Fairgoers living with disabilities may park in either of the Fair’s two paved accessible parking lots: The Pink Accessible Parking Lot or The Gray Accessible Parking Lot. A limited number of parking spaces are also reserved for those living with disabilities in the Orange Lot and unpaved Brown Lot.
12. Where are the Centro pick-up and drop-off locations?
Fairgoers will recognize the Centro drop-off and pick-up points, which are just to the left of the Main Gate. The Centro locations can be found here.
13. Are there designated Ride-Share locations?
Yes, Ride-Share locations can be found here.
14. What about transportation on the Fairgrounds?
At the Fairgrounds, trams run continuously, stopping at nine stops from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
A dedicated ADA shuttle runs continuously between the Gray Accessible Parking lot, located outside Gate 10 to Tram Stop #3 at the rear entrance of the Horticulture Building from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Midnight).
15. Where are the accessible restrooms?
The State Fair’s Accessible Restrooms are depicted in blue, and its All-Gender/Family Restrooms are depicted in purple on the State Fair map found here.
16. Are there wheelchairs available to rent?
There are scooter and wheelchair (standard and HD) rental services available at The Fair. Rental hours are from 9:00 am until close and the wheelchairs can be found inside the Main Gate (Gate 1), Inside Gate 3, and outside Gate 10. You may also rent a scooter or wheelchair by reserving online at this link or by calling 888-441-7575. Early reservations are recommended.
17. Which entertainment areas have reserved accessible seating?
Reserved accessible seating areas are available at Chevy Court, Suburban Park, Talent Showcase/Regional Showcase Stage, and inside the Toyota Coliseum, Youth Building, and Empire Theater.
18. Are there interpreters available for deaf and hard-of-hearing persons?
The Fair has interpreter services at many of the scheduled events and activities, including the major concerts. Fairgoers are encouraged to visit the Guest Services Center (located behind the Chevy Court Stage at Gate 1) to inquire about interpreter events and how to contact/reserve an interpreter.
What’s new and what’s coming back to the 2023 Fair?
19. What’s new this year at the Fair?
There’s lots to see at the 2023 Fair, including construction on a new Goat Pavilion and new pedestrian-friendly streetscapes along Restaurant Row. There’s also a new permanent restaurant stand for Tully’s. The following are also new:
- Asian Village: At the Fair’s Asian Village, fairgoers can immerse themselves into Southeast Asia, as they experience the smells, flavors, and experiences that Asian and Pacific Islander communities are known for. Asian Village, located closest to the Gate 4 entrance, not far from the Youth Building (and identified as #40 on the accompanying map), opens Wednesday, August 23, and continues through the first Saturday of The Fair, August 26.
- Dinosaur Expedition Exhibit: The Dinosaur Expedition Exhibit will feature more than 60 true-to-life-size, prehistoric, life-like dinosaurs fill The Expo Center. The must-see exhibit features dinosaurs that range in size from babies (still 3 feet tall!) to 35-foot tall mammoths, spanning as long as 80 feet. You can find these pre-historic creatures inside the Expo Center for the entirety of The Fair.
- Voice of the Farmer Garden: At the Voice of the Farmer Garden exhibit, visitors can learn about the variety of crops grown here in New York State and across the county and gain an appreciation and understanding of the economic and environmental impacts of Agriculture in America. Located near the Goat Pavilion, kitty-corner from the Family Fun Zone, the Voice of the Farmer Garden offers opportunities to see and smell what’s “growing on.”
- Digital Kiosks: Ten new interactive kiosks will be located throughout the Fair, designed to make wayfinding and schedule planning a little easier. Touch the screen to access maps, and daily schedules outlining concerts, agriculture attractions, and grounds entertainment acts. Visitors are encouraged to use The Fair’s Showcase of Stars Entertainment Map as a planning tool as well. Stars mark the locations where to find your favorite performers, while music notes denote places to listen to live music.
20. What’s coming back to the Fair that hasn’t in a while?
The following things will be coming back:
- Talent Showcase & Regional Showcase: After a three-year hiatus – in part because of the pandemic – The Fair is excited to announce the return of both showcases.
- Talent Showcase will bring dozens of the brightest young stars from 10 counties to perform in a competition that kicks off on August 24 and continues through August 29. Then, fairgoers are encouraged to cheer for their favorite aspiring stars during the Talent Showcase Finals scheduled for September 1 and 2.
- Regional Showcase shines a spotlight on some of the best well-known regional acts spread throughout the state. Sing and dance along to your favorite hometown celebrities.
- Full Flower & Produce Show: For the first time since 2019, the Daily Flower and Produce Show is back in the Center Court of the Horticulture Building. Each day, a different theme will be highlighted, enhanced with demonstrations and talks led by representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension, regional Flower Societies, and Future Farmers of America (FFA) groups. Click here to see the full flower show and demonstration schedule.
Midway and Entertainment questions?
21. How much is it to ride the Midway rides?
All information on the Midway can be found here.
22. Are there more discounts planned or special deals?
More information on Dollar Day and Two Dollar Day can be found here.
23. How many rides does the Wade Shows Midway have? Anything new this year?
The Wade Shows Midway has more than 60 rides, with two new rides this year, the Double Deck Carousel and the Bertazzon Wave Swinger. This year will also feature the newly refurbished Mega Drag Strip Slide. More information can be found here.
24. How many tickets do the rides take?
Each ride is between two and five tickets to ride.
25. Where is the Chevrolet Music Series Concert Schedule posted?
The music schedules can be found here.
26. Will more concerts be announced?
Any additional concert announcements will be posted here.
27. What’s the difference between Chevy Court and Suburban Park?
- Chevy Court Stage is located in front of the Fairgrounds, not far from Gate 1. Concerts at Chevy Court are set for 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily, except for Labor Day*.
- The Suburban Park Stage is located in the rear of the Fairgrounds in the Experience Area, closest to Gate 10 and 11. At Suburban Park, concerts start at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., except on Labor Day*.
*On Labor Day, Chevy Court concerts start at 12 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Suburban Park concerts start at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.
28. Where can I find a list of other entertainment at the Fair?
Fairgoers can use the Entertainment Finder QR code found on the map that’ll direct them to a list of all Grounds Entertainment at The Fair. Entertainment locations are marked on the map with a star, and any place that hosts live music is marked with a music note.
There are also stages located in the Asian Village (August 23 – August 26), Pan-African Village, Latino Village (September 1 – September 4), and Indian Village.
Daily Schedules are continuously updated, and provided here, accessible under the “Your Visit” tab on the Fair’s website.
29. When and where are Special Ceremonies scheduled?
Special ceremonies can be found here.
30. Where and when are parades scheduled?
Parade information can be found here.
31. Will there be any horse shows this year?
There are many horse shows planned throughout The Fair, taking place almost every day in both the Toyota Coliseum and the 4-H Youth Arena.
Some popular shows include:
- Barrell Racing is scheduled to take place all day Saturday, August 26 in the Coliseum. The show starts at 8:00 am but come at 9:00 am when the gates open.
- Western and English Dressage is scheduled, starting at 9:00 am Friday, September 1 and 9:00 am Saturday, September 2 in the 4-H Horse Arena
32. What are the best values at the Fair?
One of the best values are the Midway deals which can be found here. The others are specialty-priced food items and free entertainment at the Fair.
Those include the following:
- A family of four can enjoy four perfectly chilled cups of milk for $1 at the Dairy Products Building. The tradition of $.25 Milk continues thanks to the New York State Milk Bar Operated by Cornell Cooperative Extension. White Milk and Chocolate Milk will be poured daily during The Fair. On the Fair’s Final Weekend, White Milk will be swapped out for Strawberry Milk.
- Fairgoers can enjoy a $1 Baked Potato or Sweet Potato with all the fixings at The Great Potato Booth, located in the Horticulture Building.
- Free Entertainment: Between international and national recording artists at Chevy Court and Suburban Park, grounds entertainment, and live music at various bars and restaurants located throughout the Fairgrounds, there are ample opportunities to enjoy free, world-class entertainment.
General Policy Questions
33. What is the Fair doing to help ensure the safety of visitors and provide peace of mind?
“The Fair takes matters of safety and security very seriously. Year-round, The Fair’s Emergency Management Office holds exercises with partners at the local, state, and federal levels to identify ways to make a strong system even stronger. Keeping fairgoers, vendors, and all Fair staff safe is the top priority. Click here to read The Fair’s Rules of Conduct policy,” stated the Fair.
34. What is the Fair’s policy on smoking?
“Smoking is prohibited by law inside all Fair buildings and under tents on The Fairgrounds, and by policy throughout The Fairgrounds. This policy is consistent with the experience visitors have at other large, outside public spaces including New York State public parks and beaches. The Fair has five “Designated Smoking Locations” outside Pedestrian Gates 3, 4, 9, 10, and 11A, 50 feet from gate entrances, identified in green on the master map. Signs and smoking receptacles will be placed at these locations. Any product that is legal to smoke in New York State can be smoked in those designated areas,” stated the Fair.
35. With the Canadian Wild Fires still top of mind, what precautions is The Fair taking in regard to monitoring Air Quality Index?
According to the Fair, there is regular contact with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Division of Air Resources and partners in Emergency Services Management, closely monitoring Air Quality.
In the event that Air Quality is deemed unhealthy, The Fair will have masks available to distribute to fairgoers. At this point, there are no plans to cancel/postpone activities, but if there are changes, the Fair will post details on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.