Trained sea lions are an attraction at the New York State Fair, August 1999. Photo: Michael Okoniewski
New York State Fair
This state fair is the largest and most historic
exposition of its kind in the Northeastern United States. With 107
structures and 21 permanent buildings on 375 acres of land adjacent
to interstate highways, it is the largest and most accessible show
in the state.
Each year, during twelve days, ending on Labor Day,
nearly one million people flock to the fair. During the rest of the
year, the facility hosts another million people for a variety of
shows, such as concerts, expositions and conventions.
In 1841 the New York State legislature appropriated
$8,000 for the "promotion of agriculture and household
manufacturers in the state" through an annual fair, the first of
its kind in the young nation. The Village of Syracuse, which was
the center of farming in New York and well located on the Erie
Canal and railroad lines, was selected for the two-day event.
Despite rainy weather, the first fair attracted between 10,000 and
15,000 people, who were mostly farmers. The fair moved to different
locales until Syracuse became its permanent home in 1890. Over the
years, more entertainment activities have been added, such as auto
racing and concerts that fill the 16,000-seat trackside
The New York Fair continues to focus on the people
and products of New York, with its main priority to serve the
agricultural community. In 1999, fair organizers received more than
32,000 entries for competitions in categories ranging from cows,
pigs, horses, sheep, llama, to photos, painting, flower
arrangements, to apples pies, pumpkins, fruits and wines.
Documentation includes a text report, a video
diskette holding photographs, color slides, and eight archival
Originally submitted by: James T. Walsh, Representative (25th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.