New York State Fair

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A human trafficking and prostitution sting operation between federal, state and local law enforcement yielded multiple arrests during this year’s New York State Fair, according Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. Many of the women arrested apparently became involved in prostitution because of drug addictions.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) encouraged New York State Fair attendees to build on the legacy of women’s rights in New York state. Gillibrand was the keynote speaker for the fair's Women's Day on Wednesday. She said 87 percent of the American workforce has no access to paid leave in the case of a medical or family emergency.

Gillibrand has introduced a bill that would give every worker access to paid leave. It would be an earned benefit that workers and employers pay into at a rate of about two dollars a week.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

There is about $14 billion in lost money or unclaimed funds owed to residents in New York state. People attending the New York State Fair can check out the new state comptroller's booth to see if they have any unclaimed funds.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo made his yearly visit to the New York State Fair yesterday. Between the sausage sandwiches and glad-handing, the Democrat made one stop that was profoundly personal.

It was just in front of the International Building that Cuomo, flanked by politicians, security and the media, heard the voice of Judy Rice of North Syracuse.

"How’s your girlfriend?” shouted out Rice.

“She’s doing better, thanks for asking,” replied Cuomo

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

SUNY’s latest strategy to try and help students graduate on time with less debt is a guarantee that credits will be transferred from one school to another

SUNY students begin the academic season this year with a promise from the state: they can transfer any general education requirements as well as some discipline-specific courses from one school to another in what Chancellor Nancy Zimpher calls the “guaranteed seamless transfer of credits.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Politicians are a familiar sight at the New York State Fair. But it’s mostly central New York or statewide representatives that show up -- usually for an event, or the traditional eating of a hot sausage sandwich. But this year, the state’s new speaker decided to bring a downstate delegation to take in the fair.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

It may have been the most momentous sausage sandwich moment at the New York State Fair since Senate candidate Rick Lazio refused to eat the state fair staple the year he ran against Hillary Clinton. Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul bought a sandwich for one of the protesting teachers trailing her on the fairgrounds opening day Thursday.

Dozens of educators dogged Hochul around the fairgrounds yesterday chanting and repeating many of the concerns they’ve had about the Cuomo administration’s education policy for years now. And communication seems to be a big part of the dispute.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Today is the opening day of the New York State Fair which always has a great impact on central New York at this time of the year.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced on Tuesday that construction is now complete on the new Lakeview Amphitheater along Onondaga Lake. Country singer Miranda Lambert will be the opening act, scheduled to perform on September 3.


One of the biggest changes at the New York State Fair this year involves something everyone visiting the exposition will have to deal with -- tickets. This year, the fair in Geddes has started selling some tickets electronically.

Selling tickets at the state Fair hasn’t changed much over the years: you need a paper ticket to get through the turnstiles on any given day of the 12-day fair. And to figure out attendance, the fair counts them by hand, according to interim director Troy Waffner.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The final piece in the Onondaga County's Lakeview Amphitheater project is in place. Country singer Miranda Lambert has been inked as the first artist to play the venue. It’s taken just a little over year to get the sometimes controversial project ready for prime time.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Country music superstar Miranda Lambert will be the inaugural act at Onondaga County’s newly constructed Lakeview Amphitheater.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced Wednesday that Lambert will appear September 3. Even though that leaves promoters with five weeks to sell tickets, Mahoney is optimistic there will be a full house.

Onondaga County

Onondaga County Legislature Chairman Ryan McMahon says he is optimistic there will be an announcement soon regarding an opening act for the county’s new amphitheater on Onondaga Lake.

“We’ve had a much shorter time period to put one together than what most other venues have.  They usually have a year and a half to get things booked.  We’ve only had 60 days.  But it’s going to happen.”  

McMahon also points out that the New York State Fair has had difficulty finding acts for the Grandstand at the fair this year.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Central New York Vietnam Veterans of America held their annual watchfire at the New York State Fairgrounds last night. Thousands of people came to honor the memory of those who have served.

Ryan Somma / Flickr

There won’t be any crowing contests or poultry competitions at the New York State Fair this year. The decision is a proactive one, in response to the spread of a strain of avian flu.

The directive comes from the New York State Department of Agriculture, which is watching the spread of strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza, according to state veterinarian Dr. David Smith.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The New York State Fair began public meetings on Wednesday to discuss how it will spend $50 million in state funds to renovate the fairgrounds. So far, proposals for the renovations would require tearing down a piece of Syracuse history.

At stake is about 70 acres of land where the Grandstand at the New York State Fairgrounds currently sits.

County Executive Joanie Mahoney unveiled a plan back in March to replace the Grandstand and the oval-shaped Moody Mile dirt race track that surrounds it with an equestrian park, multi-use indoor ice complex and new RV park.

State officials begin the master planning process for a new look State Fair next week. Armed with $50 million of state funds from the recently approved state budget, fair officials can get the ball rolling on proposed fair improvements they hope will transform the aging fairgrounds into a premier, multi-use facility.

The New York State Fair is having trouble signing acts for the Grandstand Stage this year. Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner says usually by this time of the year, the fair has the lineup for the grandstand pretty much in place. While several big name acts have been announced at Chevy Court, like Nick Jonas and Meghan Trainor, only country singer Eric Church has committed to the grandstand so far. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and New York State Fair officials have Gov. Andrew Cuomo squarely in their corner as they advance plans to make dramatic changes at the fairgrounds in Geddes.  

Onondaga County

For the first time since Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed spending $50 million to update the New York State Fairgrounds in Geddes, central New York is getting a look at some of ways that money could  be spent.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a stop in Syracuse Wednesday he cares more about upstate New York than previous administrations.

Cuomo says investments in nanotech in Albany and the Buffalo Billion are paying off for those regions. He’s put forward a competition plan for other regions, like Syracuse, to compete for a half billion in aid. And he wants to expand broadband internet coverage across upstate.

Cuomo spent a significant amount of his speech at SUNY-ESF talking about education reform.

governorandrewcuomo / via Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo laid out a sweeping agenda for 2015, in today’s joint State of the State and budget address. The two yearly presentations were combined following the death of Cuomo’s father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo on Jan. 1.

Many of the proposals the governor emphasized in his speech, have been rolled out in recent weeks, like the $1.7 billion tax relief proposal, and the $500 million project to expand broadband across the state.

Cuomo offered a shout-out to one central New York institution, the New York State Fair, which he said needs a state-supported update.

Fate of leftover state fair goldfish: the dumpster

Sep 4, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

By goldfish standards, a massive rescue mission was carried out once the midway lights went dark on the 2013 run of the New York State Fair.

Well after midnight, Janice Wilson and others rounded up a few hundred of the goldfish that hadn’t been won over the previous two weeks.

"Transporting was very difficult," she said. "Even getting containers that we could travel in because they are very sensitive to motion and a lot of them we knew would not even make the transfer."

State fair in the books and into the record books

Sep 2, 2014
Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The 2014 edition of the New York State Fair is in the books – and in the record books.

Attendance at this year’s fair beat the previous run. Including two all-time single day records set on the final weekend. That’s a good bounce back after a 20-year low in 2012.

This year saw also a new midway company for the first time in six decades and the first ever “Dollar Day” to mark the end of the fair on Labor Day.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A steady stream of patients visit the infirmary at the New York State Fair each day. Though most people have minor maladies, one fairgoer did have a heart attack early in the fair's run and is recovering. Upstate Medical University Hospital ER Physician Erin Wirths isn’t surprised. She says the fairgrounds has all the pieces in place to deal with an emergency situation. For the most part the infirmary handles small things, and sometimes fairgoers who need a few minutes to rest up.

Operation WALK Syracuse

For the first time ever at the New York State Fair, there will be a running event at the fairgrounds. The Bubble Blast 5K run will take place Sunday.

One of the beneficiaries of the fundraiser is a group of central New York medical professionals who take their skills to third-world countries.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

As New York state continues to boost the craft brewery and distillery business, brews and spirits pushed into the wine court at the New York State Fair.

David Tadros has been collecting brews and spirits from Clayton to Brooklyn to sell at his stand on the edge of the wine court. State Fair Showstopper Ale, a brew concocted only for the run of the fair, by Empire Brewery, is sold here, along with other New York state beers. And for the first time distilled spirits are available outside, opening them up to a bigger audience.

Those visiting the New York State Fair might stumble into some money, thanks to the state comptroller and the Office of Unclaimed Funds.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli says there's about $13 billion in lost money throughout the state.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

It’s a common procedure at the state fair: step right up and try to win a prize at one of the midway’s many carnival games.

Pop a balloon with a dart; sink a basketball shot; hook a ring around a bottle. Do so, and spend the rest of a day at the fair slinging an oversized plush gorilla over the shoulder, or carrying a stuffed monkey under an arm.

But one game, and an iconic fair prize, is missing this year.

via New York State Tax Department

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is back at the New York State Fair this year. They had a very positive experience last year signing homeowners up for the STAR tax credit.

This year, Department Commissioner Tom Mattox says they’re taking it one step further by providing private assistance to resolve tax issues on the spot.

“Yesterday alone, we worked with a couple dozen taxpayers to resolve issues in real time," Mattox said. "Everything from eligibility for certain veterans exemptions to certain sales tax collection related issues."