Nation's 3rd-largest state fair postponed due to COVID-19, will still have its annual butter sculpture
Fair fans can enjoy virtual contests and activities from the fair & its partners: Drive-thru fair food events on fairgrounds to continue through Labor Day
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday announced a full slate of virtual Great New York State Fair special events and activities allowing New Yorkers to safely enjoy the fair until its return in 2021. Fans can enjoy the event’s food drive-thru on the fairgrounds, virtual visits to farms to witness live dairy cow births, and livestream the annual butter sculpture reveal. Activities include online contests and virtual celebrations to mark some of the fair's traditions.
The Great New York State Fair is the nation's first and oldest state fair and the largest state fair in the East.
"The Great New York State Fair is a cherished tradition for which many New Yorkers build their summer vacations and travel plans around," Cuomo said. "Though COVID-19 has postponed our great fair, New Yorkers have found a way to put a new spin on this 178-year-long tradition to continue to virtually enjoy the fair during these challenging times."
One of the State Fair's most anticipated attractions, the annual butter sculpture, is being created inside the Dairy Products Building. Once the sculpture is completed on Sept. 1, the American Dairy Association North East (ADANE) will release a time-lapse video of its creation, here. The State Fair will host a make-your-own butter sculpture contest for fans online through its Facebook page. Details on the contest can be found here. ADANE is also running a butter sculpture contest; details can be found here.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "The Great New York State Fair is a tradition that fairgoers from near and far look forward to every year – from the agricultural exhibits to the great food and entertainment. This year, we have faced a difficult year, unlike any other, but we stand with New Yorkers in our resiliency and are proud to share with fairgoers, in this new way, some of their favorite events and activities. We look forward to celebrating with everyone again soon."
New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "We know that people are going to miss the fair this year. We've received so many phone calls, emails and text messages from people for whom the fair is a tradition. We know these activities won't replace the fair, but will remind us all of why we love the fair and keep us going until we can meet again. And rest assured, we are using this time to plan the greatest fair in our long history."
The State Fair will award prizes in virtual contests covering people running “State Fair At Home” parties, visiting brick-and-mortar stores of vendors, creating wild food or drink offerings and offering great stories of their State Fair fandom. All contests are on Facebook.
In addition, the State Fair is marking the centennial celebration of Women's Suffrage with photos on its social media sites of the movement in New York history, including an effort at the State Fair.
Other State Fair partners are creating their own virtual events. The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition, which operates the popular dairy cow birthing center during the State Fair, will visit many barns to show live dairy cow births in the field via the group's Facebook page. The State Fair is working with trade groups to keep alive the traditions of days of celebrations for agricultural products such as Beef Day and Dairy Day, with plans in development.
Those in search of State Fair-style food can visit the venue’s Orange Lot on weekends through Labor Day. Several vendors have come together to offer drive-thru food service and, in the evening, socially distanced drive-in movies.
This is only the second time since the State Fair was founded in 1841 that the annual event has been canceled. The event was canceled from 1942-48 because the site was in use as a military training facility during World War II.