The 2023 Great New York State Fair will hold its 46th annual Dairy Day celebration with a full slate of events and opportunities for fairgoers to enjoy New York’s high-quality dairy products and learn about the state’s largest agricultural sector. Held Thursday, August 31, Dairy Day features a variety of activities to educate fairgoers about the State’s largest agricultural sector, recognize New York’s top dairy processors, and taste the very best of New York dairy.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Dairy Day at the Great New York State Fair is consistently a highlight for many fairgoers. From getting to sample world class dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream, to learning more about the farmers, processors, and dairy cows who fuel the industry, there is no better way to showcase New York dairy.”
Every year, Dairy Day features several events and activities to showcase New York State’s dairy industry. The annual awards ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m. in the banquet room of Daniella’s Seafood and Pasta House. The awards ceremony will recognize honorees with the Dairy of Distinction Awards, the PRO-DAIRY Service Awards and the winners of the New York State Dairy Products Competition. Then, fairgoers can check out the winners of the competition in a slideshow presentation on two screens in the Dairy Products Building near the Butter Sculpture.
At 10:30 a.m. at the Chevy Court Pavilion, media teams from Central New York will “shake it up” in a competition to see who can create the best looking and tastiest milkshake in the Undeniably Dairy Shake-Off Milkshake Contest.
While they’re in the Dairy Products Building, fairgoers are encouraged to admire the Butter Sculpture, sculpted by artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, who constructed the sculpture using more than 800 pounds of butter from O-AT-KA Milk Products in Batavia, New York. This year’s theme is “Dairy Every Day is a Healthy Way – Keeping Kids’ Health on Track,” and depicts a train being conducted by a cow and carrying young passengers fueling up on dairy foods like milk, yogurt and cheese. The Butter Sculpture, presented by American Dairy Association North East, was revealed on August 22, the day before The Fair officially opened to the public. Sponsored by Wegmans Food Markets Inc., it will be on display through the Fair. This is the 55th year of the tradition.
Fairgoers are also encouraged to participate in a fun, interactive social media exercise where they can see what they’d look like as a Butter Sculpture. By scanning a QR code, which is accessible on signage in the Dairy Products Building, fairgoers can cue up a “Butterizer” filter, which will superimpose their face onto a bust of butter. Fairgoers will see what they look like on display and will be able to share the results on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags, #NYSFair and #ButterizeMe.
Fair Director Sean Hennessey said, “Throughout Dairy Day, and for the run of the Fair, visitors can learn about all aspects of dairy as we celebrate New York State’s largest agricultural sector and enjoy the many delicious foods and beverages that our dairy farmers and processors make every day.”
Fairgoers visiting the Dairy Products Building will also be able to sample and purchase a variety of cheeses from across the State, as well as products from NYS Grown & Certified processors. Fairgoers will also have the chance to meet the State and county Dairy Princesses and buy a cup of perfectly chilled 25-cent white or chocolate milk at the Milk Bar, a beloved tradition at the New York State Fair. Run by Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Milk Bar will serve white and chocolate milk, from Upstate Farms Dairy, on tap every day during the Fair. On the final weekend of the Fair, the white milk will be swapped out for strawberry milk, for the third year in a row.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of what has become another fan favorite activity at the Fair: the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, where visitors can learn more about the dairy industry by watching live births of baby cows. More than 200 farmers, veterinarians, business representatives and agricultural students volunteer to assist with the births and explain the process to the public. The exhibit also offers calves for petting and educational exhibits about the dairy industry. The Dairy Cow Birthing Center is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The Dairy Cow Birthing Center also offers a live web stream found here, and a text messaging option to be notified when a birth is about to happen.
The Dairy Cattle Barn, which houses all the dairy cattle showed at the Fair, will also be open to visitors. Here, fairgoers may observe cows being milked and learn how milk gets from cow to glass. The Dairy Cattle Barn is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Labor Day, all barns and buildings close at 9 p.m.
The dairy celebration culminates with a parade to celebrate the dairy industry and Armed Forces Day at 6 pm. The parade steps off from The Exposition Center, and follows the perimeter of the building, expands around Central Park, and runs parallel to The Midway. The parade route is highlighted in the Showcase of Stars Entertainment Map, found on the State Fair’s website.
John Chrisman, CEO of American Dairy Association North East said, “We’re pleased to take part in Dairy Day, honoring the State’s hardworking dairy farmers. We’re excited to host the ‘Undeniably Dairy Shake-off’ media milkshake competition and encourage fairgoers to come to the Dairy Products Building to check out the remarkable Butter Sculpture.”
Eileen Jensen, Executive Director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition said, “The New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) is excited to take part in Dairy Day at the 2023 New York State Fair. As we celebrate our 10th anniversary of the Dairy Cow Birthing Center, we take pride in having provided the opportunity for fairgoers to witness the miracle of life for an entire decade. We are grateful to our Host Farms this year, one of which includes a cow that was born at the State Fair in 2013 at the first Birthing Center. The Birthing Center is a pivotal component of the State Fair experience, allowing visitors the chance to meet a farmer, see an uddermiracle, and learn about the benefits of dairy products in their daily diet. For 10 years, Host Farms, volunteers, and sponsors have provided more than 15,000 hours of their time to ensure the public understands more about the NY dairy industry.”
Kevin Ellis, CEO of Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Inc. said, “We are honored to be an integral part of both the butter sculpture project and the Milk Bar, year after year. Our cooperative’s hardworking dairy farmers and highly skilled team members take great pride in creating healthy, delicious products to nourish consumers near and far. We are looking forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come!”
About the Dairy Industry in New York
New York’s dairy industry is a critical sector of the state’s economy and as its leading agricultural sector, dairy accounts for approximately one-half of New York’s total agricultural income. New York State has nearly 3,200 dairy producers that produce over 15 billion pounds of milk annually, making New York the nation’s fifth largest dairy state. New York’s unique and talented dairy producers and processors provide significant contributions to New York’s agriculture industry, the economy, and to the health of our communities.
About The Great New York State Fair
Founded in 1841, The Great New York State Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of the state’s CNY Rising strategy of growing the Central New York economy through tourism. It is oldest state fair in the United States, and the third largest fair in the country. The Fair runs Wednesday, August 23 through Monday, September 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, and follow the fun on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Guests are invited to see photos from the Fair on Flickr and ideas are always welcome. New Yorkers are encouraged to send suggestions via email to [email protected].