Sleigh bells ring, are you listening? It may be hard to hear them over the din of the Great New York State Fair, but Santa and his reindeer are going to jingle all the way to the Fair’s new “Christmas in August” event held, naturally, on Sunday the 25th. The one-day special event at the Expo Center celebrates the coolest holiday at the hottest time of the summer with special events, a display of antique sleighs, Christmas movies and more. Admission will be $1 for anyone donating a new toy in bins located outside each gate. The toys will be given to a non-profit agency that provides gifts for underprivileged children. The Salvation Army will also collect donations outside the Main Gate and Gate 10 that day.
“We were at our industry convention in Texas last fall on a hot afternoon when we saw a guy in a Santa suit riding a horse down the street. We said to each other, “That’s kinda crazy,” followed by, “We can do that!” We’re having some fun with the non-religious aspects of the holiday while trying to do a little good for the community, and if it makes you feel a little cooler on a hot August day, that’s even better,” said Troy Waffner, Fair Director.
Children will be able to see and take pictures with Santa from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. in the Expo Center. They’ll also be able to drop off letters to Santa in special mailboxes. Live reindeer will be on display at the same time. The classic Christmas movie “Elf” will be screened in the evening in the Expo Center. In the Art & Home Center, a special cookie decorating competition will take place, and at the Fair’s entrance gates, lost child tags will be adorned with Christmas-themed Fair stickers.
The highlight of the day is the Olympic-style competition called the Santalympics, taking place from 2 – 5 p.m. Entrants will wear Santa suits as they qualify by taking on a holiday-themed obstacle course that includes such holiday hazards as climbing over piles of presents and untangling Christmas tree lights. Qualifiers then move on to a present-wrapping race, pinning the snowball on Buddy the Elf, and Santa’s Feast -- a speed-eating contest consisting of cookies, fruitcake and (New York State Fair Milk Bar) milk. Finalists compete for the gold medal in a Christmas music karaoke competition with live celebrity judge reactions.
To enter the Santalympics, people must post pictures of themselves wearing a Santa suit here, in the contest entry section of the Fair’s Facebook page. Entries end Monday, August 21. The first 100 qualified entrants will be selected. Winners will be immediately notified and given admission tickets and parking for the day.
Founded in 1841, the Great New York State Fair is America’s third largest state fair. The Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of Governor Cuomo’s CNY Rising strategy of growing the Central New York economy through tourism. Fair attendance is up more than 40% since the beginning of more than $120 million in investments, with 1.27 million people attending the Fair in 2018. The 2019 Fair runs from August 21 to September 2. Information about the Fair can be found here.
The New York State Fairgrounds is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available here. Find the Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair on Flickr. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at [email protected].