MA Residents: Plan Your Trip Out West Next Year! Here’s Why!
Forget about The Big E. My vote for the BEST exposition is located west of us in Syracuse, New York as my annual pilgrimage to The GREAT New York State Fair is an annual ritual. My personal nickname: "The Grand Daddy Of Them ALL". Yes, I admit it takes me about 5 hours (I include stops in my itinerary), but the end result is magical and phenomenal in nature. After all, this has been a tradition of being there front row and center since 1989.
This year, I decided to attend the FINAL 2 days of this extravaganza as over 104,000 people crossed the gates on Sunday and due to the rain about 48,000 (including me) were present and accounted for. The exhibits STILL offer education of The Empire State as one building in particular housed photos of New York-based themes. My friend Buddy Belensoff received a yellow ribbon for his COOL snapshot of the Empire State's bird (The Bluebird).
On the other side of this edifice is a display preserving some artifacts from the vintage RKO Keith's Theater in Syracuse and downstairs in The Empire Theater, a priceless 1925 Wurlitzer pipe organ remains intact, however, officials want this antique removed from the property and the reason is unknown as this classic instrument has been in the property since 1967. Its keeper, a lovely woman named Geraldine even treated me and a handful of other walk-ins to an exclusive mini-concert as a campaign to keep the organ in its proper place is ongoing. (More on that subject in a future article)
OK, I am NOT a fan of rides, but many people were on the fair's midway taking their usual twists and turn each and every day, and let's not forget the food as you can indulge in the usual fair staples (my favorite is the classic Pizza Frite, fried dough with a taste of Italy) and the soft serve ice cream is worth the trip out west. Don't forget your 25-cent cup of chocolate milk and check out the butter sculpture while you are in the dairy building.
The Center of Progress Building has plenty of New York-based information and is home to the popular sand sculpture which saluted 50 years of women in professional sports. The 4-H Building highlights creativity from youngsters in all 62 counties. I was impressed with the display from neighboring Columbia and Greene counties.
The Horticultural Building has a plethora of agricultural-based exhibits and the brand new Exposition Center has been a mandatory stop as this year's theme had an array of military vehicles and proudly highlighted the accomplishments of our men and women in uniform. One of the fair's highlights is a visit to Indian Village as you can learn about the cultures of various upstate New York tribes and they also perform a dancing ritual on the big stage showcasing their customs which is not only entertaining but informative in nature.
Let's not forget the FREE concerts at Chevy Court as I caught the 80's rock group Night Ranger performing their RAD top 40 hits on their 40th anniversary together on Labor Day. The show stopper was their follow-up to "Sister Christian" as they delivered the goods on their hit single "When You Close Your Eyes" as the video clip is a TRUE stroll down memory lane. Plus, the bonus was hooking up with guitarist Brad Gillis after their terrific concert.
To sum it all up, my trip to The New York State Fair was a success as we look forward to next year's line-up and we'll keep you posted on the details when they become available. Once again, "The Grand Daddy of Them All" lived up to its name as ALWAYS.
This article is dedicated to the memory of the late GREAT Joe La Guardia, who was the quintessential Promotions Manager as I was PROUD to know him and he was very accommodating to me during the good ol' days as The Fair was a well-oiled machine during his tenure in the Salt City. He is sorely missed for sure!