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Governor Cuomo Announces Attendance at New York State Fairgrounds Events Soars More than 50 Percent

Combined Attendance at Year-Round Events and the State Fair Nears 2 Million

Announcement Complements "Central New York Rising" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that attendance at New York State Fairgrounds events other than the 13-day State Fair soared to an estimated 832,048, an increase of more than 57 percent over 2016's estimated attendance of 529,000. The Fairgrounds hosted 189 privately-operated events in 2017, up more than 16 percent from 2016, generating 732 event days of activity, up more than 12 percent.

"In recent years, the Great New York State Fair has experienced a true renaissance - from breaking attendance records to the addition of new world-class attractions, the Fair is helping Central New York continue to rise," Governor Cuomo said. "This year, we shattered Fair attendance records and with our continued investment in the Fairgrounds, we ensure that this region will continue to grow and thrive for years to come."

The Fair is in the midst of a multi-year, $133 million investment in new and upgraded facilities designed to increase the Fair's year-round business and contribute to the growth of the Central New York economy as part of the Governor's "Central New York Rising" strategy. The second phase of renovations, which includes a huge new building for major events and reconstruction of the Fair's largest parking lot, is underway.

The Fairgrounds hosted more than a dozen events in 2017 that were new to the facility, including a Chinese Lantern Festival, Jurassic Quest, Syracuse Stadium Cross, the Salt City BBQ Festival, a centennial celebration for the New York State Police, the Family Motor Coach Association motorcoach rally, and other public festivals, trade shows and meetings. The Fairgrounds played host to more than 30 equestrian competitions in a season that stretched from early April to the end of October. State and local government agencies also made frequent use of the Fairgrounds for trainings, workshops and meetings. Non-Fair event attendance is estimated using vehicle counts.

Among new events to be held at the Fairgrounds in 2018 are a day of family fun with the arts hosted by Symphoria, Syracuse's professional symphony orchestra; the Syracuse Wedding Bridal Show; a new rock concert series in the Science and Industry Building; and new national horse and rabbit competitions.

In addition to the year-round events held at the Fairgrounds, the 2017 State Fair attracted a record crowd of 1,161,912. When combined with the non-Fair attendance figures, nearly 2 million (1,993,960) people visited the Fairgrounds in 2017.

Construction is now underway on a 136,000 square foot Expo Center on the Fairgrounds. The building, featuring 110,000 square feet of open, flexible event space, will be the largest such facility north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland. Located in an area of open space created during the first phase of renovations, the Expo Center will attract very large agricultural, consumer and trade events that otherwise would have bypassed Upstate New York, delivering significant economic benefits to the region.

The Department of Agriculture and Markets recently published a Request for Proposals seeking a private company to market the new Expo Center and the Fairgrounds' other event spaces to potential customers, event promoters and organizers. RFP submissions for the private booking company are due January 31, 2018 and more information is available here.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "The initial investments in the Fairgrounds and the Onondaga lakefront have already drawn hundreds of thousands of visitors. This is a partnership that is benefitting everyone in the region and the best is yet to come."

New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, "The Governor's plan has helped to push the great work of the Fairgrounds staff to another level. We look forward to achieving at an ever higher level in the year to come."

State Fair Acting Director Troy Waffner said, "We are very pleased that so many event promoters and organizers bring their business to us. We are ready to capitalize on the new Expo Center and realize the Governor's vision for the Fairgrounds and Central New York."

Accelerating Central NY 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 nearly $4.7 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.

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.