It was an opening day to remember for Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the New York State Fair.
Cuomo opened the fair this morning with a ribbon cutting at the dairy cattle building. Standing next to politicians, goats and cows, he declared the 2014 edition of the fair open.
“On three, don’t cheat, don’t cheat," Cuomo said to those surrounding him. "One, two, three."
The skies opened up shortly after Cuomo left the Dairy Building to make his way to Dinosaur Barbecue for the traditional sausage sandwich.
The governor ordered the sandwich to go, and then reporters, along with state fair officials and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney, huddled under umbrellas to make their way to the Empire Room.
It got so bad that at one point that Mahoney had to take her shoes off and run through the puddles.
After drying off, Cuomo spoke to reporters.
“We didn’t let the rain dampen our spirits,” Cuomo said.
The governor says he's bullish on this year's exposition of all things New York state.
“This fair, I think, is in many ways one of the best fairs the state has seen in a long, long time," Cuomo explained. "We have a lot of innovations. When you first come you see a new sign, which is emblematic of the changes we’ve made.”
Cuomo says success at the fair is one of the signs of an energized upstate New York. He says a booming yogurt industry has helped dairy farmers, and the state’s investment in upstate tourism has paid off.
"We said if people see upstate New York, they will come back to upstate New York, because there is nothing like it. And the advertising campaign did just that. We’ve increased tourism revenue by $4 billion in the state of New York.”
Cuomo noted that at the same time, the state is trying to modernize the fairgrounds.
“Our goal is to keep making it better, getting attendance up higher and higher," Cuomo said. "More and more attractions to get more people to the fair. Whatever that takes. We’re exploring partnerships with private sector companies to see if that makes sense economically. So we’re open to everything, we’re working through it.”
After the 40 minute rain-drenched visit, Cuomo left, with aides saying he’d eat his sausage sandwich on the way back to Albany.