The New York State Fair today announced attendance at privately-run events held at the Fairgrounds is on pace to break 2018's record number of visitors. Attendance through the first six months of 2019, estimated using vehicle counts, is 644,184. That is up 9.4% from the 604,239 visitors who attended events in the first six months of 2018. Attendance at events outside of the annual State Fair rose 29% in 2018, to 1,074,909. The increase comes as the Fairgrounds' new Exposition Center continues to attract new events and allows others, such as the Syracuse Nationals classic car show coming to the Fairgrounds this weekend, to expand. The growth coincides with the state's investment of more than $120 million to revitalize the 129-year-old Fairgrounds as part of the CNY Rising strategy to boost the regional economy.
State Fair Director Troy Waffner said, "The upgrades to the Fairgrounds and the addition of the Expo Center has attracted new events and allowed some of our annual major shows to grow, accommodating more people and larger crowds. With attendance figures ahead of the number of visitors we had this time last year, I can't wait to see what the rest of 2019 brings."
The revitalization, which began in 2015, represented the first major investment in the Fairgrounds in nearly 80 years. The project removed non-performing facilities, replacing them with an appealing new main entrance, open spaces for year-round programming, an RV park and, in 2018, the new Exposition Center. The 110,000 square foot building is the largest clear-span facility north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland and has attracted several new events while allowing others to grow. Among them, the new Winter Fair festival, a major horse show, a college and a high school commencement ceremony, the Salt City Comic Con and others. The Syracuse Nationals classic car show, the largest classic car event in the East, will expand its programming into the Expo Center with the show opening today, Friday, July 19.
The renovation also assisted the Great New York State Fair to reach record levels of attendance. Attendance in 2018 of 1.27 million represented a 41% increase over three years. The Fair is now the largest state fair in the East and the third largest in the nation.
The Syracuse Nationals
The Syracuse Nationals classic car show will be back to the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse this weekend for its 20th year. The show opened today and runs through Sunday, July 21. It is one of the nation's largest classic automobile shows, providing an estimated $13 million in visitor spending. It is expected that 90,000 fans will turn out for Nationals weekend, continuing to boost attendance of non-Fair events taking place on the Fairgrounds. In 2016, the Nationals were the first to use the transformed Fairgrounds.
Complete information about the Syracuse Nationals can be found here.
Department of Motor Vehicles Participation
During Nationals weekend, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will again have an exhibit in the Center of Progress building to promote vintage and historical license plates and assist customers with a variety of DMV transactions. DMV staff will also be providing information and answering customer's questions about the REAL ID. According to the federal REAL ID Act, beginning October 1, 2020, anyone flying within the U.S. will be required to have a REAL ID or another form of compliant identification such as an Enhanced Driver License (EDL) or passport. Customers who are renewing or obtaining a license or non-driver ID for the first time are encouraged to get a REAL ID or an EDL now to avoid a second trip to the DMV. For more information about the REAL ID and Enhanced documents, visit dmv.ny.gov/REALID.
A limited number of commemorative Syracuse Nationals exhibit plates will also be available at the DMV exhibit. Visit the DMV website for more information on vintage and historical plates.
DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder said, "The Syracuse Nationals Classic Car Show is a great event for the entire family, and we are happy to again take part. We urge all attendees to stop by and take advantage of all the services our mobile office has to offer. We'll also be glad to answer any questions people have about REAL ID."
Accelerating CNY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.
About the Great New York State Fair
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 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]