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The largest stage at the Great New York State Fairgrounds has been rebranded in response to fairgoers’ suggestions, and is now called Suburban Park.
Located on the western end of the Fairgrounds, beyond the Midway, the area – formerly referred to as Chevy Park and/or the Experience Stage – was first introduced in 2018. Four national-recording acts performed there that year: Eddie Money, All Time Low, John Kay and Steppenwolf, and Foghat.
The sprawling space was intended to support the Fair’s expanding concert crowds. With more luscious grass than the bleacher-style seats that line Chevy Court, the area has often been compared to a “lawn experience” at other well-known concert venues across the state. Enhanced with a pond and first-come, first-served Adirondack chair seating, the space provides a casual park-esque setting to enjoy concerts, offering a different vibe than the “center court” feel of Chevy Court, which is positioned closer to the Main Gate and Colonnade Entrance. However, as evidenced from some of the most frequently asked questions fielded by staff during Fair time, many concertgoers continue to have a hard time distinguishing between the main stages since their names are so similar.
“Our team had been brainstorming ways to help differentiate the spaces and names of the main stages at the Fair for the last couple of years. We take feedback from fairgoers very seriously, and we wanted to be thoughtful and logical about a name change,” said Interim Fair Director Sean Hennessey. “Suburban Park rose to the top of our list when we realized that there are fun connections that tie the name to The Great New York State Fair.”
First, renaming the stage to Suburban Park is a nod to nostalgia. It’s a symbol of summer traditions in Syracuse. Just as visiting The Great New York State Fair and experiencing the midway every summer is a staple activity for many people, and has been for decades, many neighbors who grew up in this area also reminisce about visiting Suburban Park Amusement Park. The park, which was located in Manlius, was established in 1898 and closed in 1973. Fifty years later, a Facebook page dedicated to the original park continues to populate with stories and memories.
The new name is also a nod to Chevrolet, the longtime presenter of the Fair’s epic concert series, the Chevrolet Music Festival. In 2020, the Suburban Sports Utility Vehicle – produced by Chevrolet since 1935 – became the first vehicle to hold the distinction of being in production for 85 years or more. It is the automobile industry’s longest-running nameplate, and its evolution spans twelve generations.
“Chevrolet and The Great New York State Fair have a lot in common. At the top of the list, both brands are deeply rooted in tradition, and have been a centerpiece of many family memories,” said Jason Murtagh, field marketing manager for the northeast region of Chevrolet and General Motors. “We all know that music is one of the most unifying ways to bring people together, and it’s an honor to have our brand play a small part in hosting these special moments. We look forward to continuing our partnership with The Fair, and we hope everyone reserves an evening – or several – to watch a show at the newly named Suburban Park Stage!’
The Chevrolet Music Festival Series features daily performances at Chevy Court and the newly named Suburban Park – and the entire entertainment line-up is included in the price of admission. So far, four acts have been announced for Suburban Park, which will host an 8 p.m. performance every day during the Fair. Most days, there will be a 2 p.m. performance there, as well. The State Fair continues to add acts to the line-up every week, and all of the acts announced thus far are provided on the Fair’s website on pages dedicated to Suburban Park and Chevy Court.
With admission priced at $6 for adults, and free for those who are 65 years old and older, and 12 years old and younger, the Great New York State Fair is the most affordable state fair in the country. In addition to providing high-quality entertainment, the Fair is a showcase of the best in New York state agriculture, and a key piece of the state’s CNY Rising strategy, which grows the Central New York economy through tourism. Established in 1841, the Great New York State Fair is the oldest fair in the United States and is consistently recognized as being among the top five state fairs in the nation.
The Fair starts Wednesday, Aug. 23, and continues through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4.
The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. Audiences are encouraged to learn more about the Great New York State Fair online, browse photos on Flickr, and follow the fun on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.