Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday opened the 2023 Great New York State Fair, joining state and local officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to kick off the 13-day run of the country’s oldest state fair. The Governor also cut the ribbon on Asian Village, the newest cultural Village at The Fair.
“The Great New York State Fair is an incredible opportunity to celebrate our farmers, products, culture, and diversity,” Governor Hochul said. “New York’s farmers and agricultural industry are essential to our identity, and I encourage New Yorkers and visitors alike to make the trip to this wonderful tradition and celebrate the Empire State’s bountiful treasures.”
Located in near Gate 4 on the Fairgrounds, Asian Village recognizes the contributions, history, and experiences of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander communities through music, dance, food, and a number of other special events. Asian Village continues through Saturday, August 26 at 10 p.m.
During the Governor’s visit, she also toured streetscape improvements made to Restaurant Row, a new 2,500 square foot Goat Pavilion – which is solar powered and offers an open-air space for goat shows – and a new 1,600 square foot concession stand, adding to The Fair’s array of permanent structures. These improvements are a part of $34.7 million in investments that the Governor announced for The Fair during her visit last year. A Greenhouse and Horticultural Education Center, a new Sheep Barn and Wool Center, and new Horse Stables are also in the works, projected to be complete by the 2025 Great New York State Fair. These improvements build on more than $125 million in renovations and new construction since 2015.
New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “It’s always great to be back at our Great New York State Fair, celebrating this beloved New York tradition that spotlights the very best that our state has to offer. From delicious food and fantastic music to exciting agricultural exhibits that highlight the hard work of our agricultural communities, the Great New York State Fair offers something special for every type of visitor. I am grateful to all of our partners who come together, year after year, to put on a Fair that truly showcases all there is to love about New York State.”
New York State Fair Director Sean Hennessey said, “This year, the Great New York State Fair has so many exciting new offerings for fairgoers – from increased accessibility measures to expanded cultural exhibits – to help more New Yorkers make new and beloved memories on our Fairgrounds. I look forward to sharing these new initiatives, and celebrating time-honored traditions, with fairgoers for another great year at the Fair!”
In addition, the Governor also visited The Youth Building, which recently gained a new addition of an accessible ramp, providing convenient stage access to those who use wheelchairs. The Youth Building is the home of 4-H Shows and Competitions during The Fair. The Governor participated in Cornell Cooperative Extension’s 4-H program throughout her childhood, and is the first sitting governor to be honored with the 4-H Distinguished Alumni Medallion, an honor bestowed upon her last year.
The ramp is one of two accessibility improvements that The Fair’s administrative team prioritized this year. In addition, The Fair also paved a gravel area in Suburban Park, to allow for accessible seating. In prior years, accessible seating in Suburban Park was provided in a platform style; however, those who use wheelchairs had to sit further from the stage.
As citizens/neighbors plan their visit(s) to the 2023 Great New York State Fair, The Fair provides a variety of accommodations for those living with disabilities. Accommodations are outlined in an Accessibility Services Map, provided on The Fair’s website as well as on digital kiosks placed throughout The Fairgrounds during The Fair.
State Senator John W. Mannion said, “Opening day at The Fair is a cherished tradition as we celebrate New York State, make new memories, and enjoy all of our old favorites. The fair is an economic driver for Central New York and it’s a special privilege and responsibility to represent the fairgrounds. Since taking office, I’ve supported tens of millions of dollars in capital investments and new amenities for fairgoers. As Chairman of the Disabilities Committee, I am especially proud of the new accessibility upgrades that will help all New Yorkers attend and fully enjoy the fair. Thank you to Governor Hochul for her leadership and commitment to Central New York.”
State Senator Rachel May said, “The Great New York State Fair is one of my favorite annual traditions here in Central New York. It’s a time to show off all of the wonderful sights, sounds, culture, and food New York has to offer. This year is especially exciting because of several highly anticipated additions to the fairgrounds, including the new Asian Village and a state-of-the-art goat barn. These improvements ensure the diversity and vitality of the fair well into the future, and it couldn’t have been done without Governor Hochul’s leadership and her commitment to keeping the Great New York State Fair the best fair in the country.”