A girl resting with her cow during a County Fair.
April 25, 2024
Albany, NY

State Department of Agriculture Announces $500,000 Awarded to Boost Promotion of New York’s Local Fairs

State Department of Agriculture Announces $500,000 Awarded to Boost Promotion of New York’s Local Fairs

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that $500,000 has been awarded to 50 county and youth fairs across the state through the Agricultural Fairgrounds Advertising, Promotion, and Education Program (AFAPEP). The program supports marketing projects at each of the fairs to increase visitors and connect New Yorkers to agriculture. Funding for the program was provided in New York State’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget as part of Governor Kathy Hochul’s commitment to increase opportunities to improve youth and agricultural programming initiatives at fairs statewide.

Commissioner Ball said, “New York’s county and youth fairs are community landmarks, providing essential education – from local food specialties to cultural experiences – that connects more New Yorkers to the thriving agricultural industry at work all around them. Through our Agricultural Fairgrounds Advertising, Promotion, and Education Program, these local fairs are receiving critical funding to help boost these tremendous efforts. As the summer season approaches, I look forward to visiting fairs across the state to see these projects come to fruition.”

Administered by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, the AFAPEP is providing funding to agricultural and horticultural corporations and county extension service associations that sponsor an annual fair or exposition for the promotion of agriculture and domestic arts. Each eligible fair sponsor in New York State has been awarded $10,000 in funding under this program, with a total of 50 projects awarded.

The program’s goals are to:

  • enhance and encourage visitor participation and appreciation of agriculture and domestic arts,
  • expand on existing efforts to attract visitors and showcase agriculture, and
  • expose consumers to the fairs’ brands and create meaningful, long-lasting brand recognition.

Awarded projects will share stories and experiences of local agriculture to expand knowledge of the agricultural industry in New York, while bringing greater awareness to visitors that some of the best agricultural products in the world are produced right here in New York State. The project additionally aims to use educational endeavors to preserve and enhance the agricultural and historical legacy of New York State. All of this will translate into more fair visits, more revenue to New York State county fairs, and an increased economic benefit in New York State communities.

AFAPEP funds may be used for logo development, social media design consultation, app design, local artwork and design for promotions, consumer marketing campaigns, traditional or digital marketing campaigns, fair signage for main entrance and agriculture exhibits, online ticketing development and other website improvements, and more.

To further build on the promotion of our county fairs, Governor Hochul also announced a County Fair Passport Program as part of her 2024 State of the State Address. The Department of Agriculture and Markets is currently designing an agricultural fair passport program that will encourage attendance at the State’s county and youth fairs by allowing fairgoers to collect stamps at each fair they visit. The program will be launched ahead of the 2024 fair season. The State is additionally launching a $1 million marketing campaign aimed at driving New Yorkers and visitors to local fairs across the state, which will be kicked off later this spring.

Julia Reynolds, President New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs said, “The New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs appreciates this opportunity for fairs across New York State to receive funding for advertising, promotion, and education programs. This funding will support the continued efforts by fairs in connecting the public with agriculture.”

In addition to The Great New York State Fair, New York is home to more than 50 county and youth fairs that operate from July through mid-September, with the Long Island Fair closing out the season. Local fairs provide visitors with family-friendly fun, great music, and delicious food. They also offer a unique opportunity to learn about local agriculture, including where our food comes from, and how it is grown, harvested, and marketed to the public. According to a 2013 economic impact study, the State's fairs generate $6 million in economic activity and over 4,000 jobs in New York each year. A list of most county fairs across the state and the dates they are running is available here.