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Governor Cuomo Announces the Great New York State Fair Earns Nine Awards in International Competition

Brings Home Honors in Marketing, Sponsorship and Photography in Agriculture Categories

Rises in Annual Rankings of Top 50 Fairs to Third Largest State Fair in North America, With Attendance Above One Million

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the Great New York State Fair earned nine awards for the quality of its marketing, sponsorship and photography in the International Association of Fairs and Expositions' annual competition. IAFE is a trade group representing fairs, shows and expositions from around the world. The awards were presented at IAFE's annual convention.

"By sharing the unique stories of Central New Yorkers and other long-time fairgoers, as well as the Fair's growth and revitalization, New York's investments to market the Great New York State Fair have helped attract more visitors to the region than ever before," Governor Cuomo said. "By showcasing what Syracuse and the surrounding communities have to offer, these award-winning marketing strategies are helping turn the fairgrounds into a year-round economic engine, supporting the development of the entire region."

The individual and diverse stories of fairgoers were the focus of the Fair's advertising and marketing campaign, including a woman who has been coming to the Fair since she was a child and a teenager who takes part in the Fair's horse show. The campaign earned two first place awards for this year's radio advertisement and for the online advertising campaign. The Fair campaign also earned a second place award for its outdoor advertisement, and two third place awards for its black-and-white print ad and its social media campaign.

The Rochester-based ad agency Dixon Schwabl created the Fair's award-winning advertising campaign. The state's tourism agency, I Love NY, also created a separate campaign focused on the excitement of the Fair for more distant markets.

The Fair's sponsorship efforts earned second place in all three categories: sponsorship innovation, first time sponsorship, and sponsorship continuity. In addition, a picture of a young boy and his calf, taken by longtime Fair photographer Michael Okoniewski, earned a third place award in the photography category of the agriculture competition.

The judging of the competition is conducted by industry professionals both within and outside of IAFE membership. The Fair competed with other fairs and events in the category of fairs with attendance above 1 million. There were more than 1,100 entries across the advertising, sponsorship and agriculture categories.

"We are grateful for these awards. They go hand-in-hand with our growth and the overwhelmingly positive support of the people who attend the Fair each year, which is always our prime concern and greatest honor. These accolades reflect the quality of the work of our talented team. We look forward to improving on all fronts next year," said State Fair Acting Director Troy Waffner, who served as an expert panelist at one of the many learning opportunities provided at the annual convention.

The Great New York State Fair enjoyed the most successful year ever in 2017, setting a new attendance record at 1.16 million people. Fair attendees gave the Fair the highest marks ever for cleanliness, affordability and family-friendliness in the annual fairgoer survey. Since 2015, Governor Cuomo has invested more than $120 million dollars in a two-phase plan to revitalize the Fair and Fairgrounds, which had not had a major investment in at least 80 years prior to that. Phase Two of the Fair's transformation and modernization was announced in early 2017, and an RFP was released on December 6 seeking an agent to manage the Fair's year-round events.

The Fair retained its ranking as the 13th largest fair and rose one place to become the third largest state fair in North America in the annual rankings of the top 50 fairs published by Carnival Warehouse, an industry publication. Midway provider Wade Shows ranked third among all carnival operators, reporting attendance of more than 5.7 million people at seven fairs on the Carnival Warehouse Top 50 report. Wade Shows owner Frank Zaitshik was inducted into the Showmen's League of America Hall of Honor at the organization's trade show during the IAFE convention.

The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 22 to September 3, 2018. The Fair's mission, reflected in its theme, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.

The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair's website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair at Flickr.com/photos/nysfair. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at statefairideas@agriculture.ny.gov.