New York State Fair

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The New York State Fair broke attendance records this year, in the wake of a $50 million state-funded renovation of the Syracuse-area fairgrounds. Attendance for the 12-day fair was 1,117,630, according to fair officials -- up 23 percent over last year.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials literally smashed the attendance record to the New York State Fair, taking an ice pick to a sculpture that had the former attendance records engraved on it.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

A group of advocates for veterans want New York state to allow marijuana to be prescribed to service men or women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. 

Randi Weathers of the “We Are Listening” campaign says some other states allow marijuana for treatment of PTS. The group is collecting petition signatures to ask New York to do the same. Hundreds of visitors to the state fair have signed the petitions.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Dairy farmers at the New York State Fair are trying out a new technology to help them determine when a calf is about to be born.

The big white tent at the end of the midway with a giant cow balloon in front is where fairgoers can watch the miracle of birth.

One cow delivered a healthy calf in front of hundreds of fairgoers. If they looked carefully, they would have noticed a bright green plastic contraption around the cow’s tale. It’s called a “moo-call.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

If attendance is any indication, New York’s $50 million investment into the state fairgrounds is an early success. According to New York State Fair officials, the fair is substantially ahead of last year's attendance numbers, with the final weekend coming up, which generally has the largest crowds of the 12-day exposition. Fair officials believe there are a couple of reasons why.

First off, Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner says there have been the curiosity seekers, who wanted to see how $50 million changes a more than century-old fairgrounds.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

There’s a new sound at the New York State Fair in Syracuse this year. The Upstate Medical University booth in the Science and Industry Building offers cancer survivors a chance to ring a bell to mark their accomplishment.

Nine-year old Madeleine Pointer was the first to ring the bell, a seven-year survivor of kidney cancer.

"It’s exciting to be the first to ring it,” Pointer said. 

Matt Capogreco of the Upstate Cancer Center said the bell sends a message.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

After cutting the ribbon yesterday to open this year’s edition of the New York State Fair, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the $50 million renovations that have gone into the New York State Fair this year is just the beginning. The Democrat says he will be asking state lawmakers to help with more changes at the more than century old fairgrounds.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

IndyCar racing will have a home at Watkins Glen International at least for the next two years. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal to return the open car racing to the famed speedway while visiting the New York State Fair Thursday.

Track President Michael Printup says this is a landmark moment for the famed track.

"We now host every racing series in the country,” said Printup. “So it’s great to bring it back to the fans. It’s the pinnacle of racing. These are rockets on wheels.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The 12-day New York State Fair begins today in Syracuse. And it will be a different experience for everyone, after a $50 million state-funded renovation of the fairgrounds.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Preparations are almost complete for the New York State Fair, which starts Thursday. Things will look different at the fairgrounds this year, following a $50 million renovation. One of the biggest changes will be at the midway.

There is simply a lot more room for rides and attractions at the fair’s midway this year. The demolition of the grandstand and the race track has created a 15-acre rectangle that operator Wade Shows will fill with rides, games and attractions. Owner Frank Zaitshik admits it creates somewhat of a challenge.

The New York State Fair takes place in Syracuse from August 25-September 5. This week on the Campbell Conversations, Grant Reeher speaks with the fair's acting director, Troy Waffner. They discuss the history of the fair, why it's located in Syracuse, the renovations that have taken place over the past year, and some of the things fairgoers can expect to see at this year's fair. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated his positions on some major issues facing central New York while giving a speech in Syracuse on Thursday. Cuomo gave a positive outlook for upstate and double downed on his commitment to investing in the region.

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Preparations are underway to ready Oswego Speedway to host the annual Super Dirt Week in October. The major racing event was supposed to take place at the new Central New York Raceway Park in Hastings, but New York officials had to shift gears because of construction delays.

"You’re always going to get the people who don’t like change," said World Racing Group director of events Jeff Hachmann. "The unfortunate thing is they have no choice. We were dealt change and now it’s our job to make Super Dirt Week what it was before."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Car lovers of all stripes converge on the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse this weekend, for the Syracuse Nationals car show, which has become a mecca for classic car lovers.

Ken Zoanetti of Bridgeport has always been interested cars. But one of the vehicles he’s displaying at the Syracuse Nationals is extra special. It’s a 1957 Chrysler Windsor.

“It is identical to what my mom and dad bought in 1957. Same color, same interior, same everything,” said Zoanetti.

So for him, fixing up and maintaining classic cars, has become a kind of sentimental journey.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

New York State Fair officials say the first half of a massive redevelopment project at the fairgrounds in Geddes will be done by the end of June.

It was just last summer that Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state would sink $50 million into the aging fairgrounds -- half this year and half next. Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner says the project has come together quickly, and it will mean big changes at the facility by the time the Syracuse Nationals car show comes to town in mid-July.

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Flickr

New York State government could be getting out of the fair business. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has launched a privatization task force to look at the ways a private sector developer can help run the New York State Fair.

In a stop at the Geddes Fairgrounds Wednesday, Cuomo admitted that the state had apparently been trying to find a top-tier private sector company to run the state fair, but couldn’t find a taker.

The Libertarian Party is growing in New York state. This weekend, Onondaga County becomes the latest county to join this party that challenges the idea of an omnipresent government, instead looking to individual sovereignty as the way to peace and prosperity.

Onondaga County will be the 15th county chapter the party has chartered in New York state and the fourth this year.

Shawn Hannon of Syracuse is leading the central New York effort.

"Libertarian people try to keep the government out of your wallet and out of your bedroom,” he said.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

The implosion of the grandstand at the New York State Fairgrounds this weekend signals the start of big changes at the aging facility in the central New York. 

With a push of a button the grandstand was reduced to a pile of rubble. Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined local dignitaries for the event, which really starts the ball rolling for a $50 million plan to renovate the aging fairgrounds into an updated year-round facility. 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said 2016 is going to be a big year for upstate New York. Cuomo made an appearance at the implosion of the Grandstand at the New York State Fairgrounds on Saturday. He said he wants to continue to "focus like a laser" on upstate New York this year.

“It’s a beginning of a new year," Cuomo said. "It’s a beginning of a new environment, a new economy in upstate New York.”

The governor announced a new proposal to invest $200 million in upstate airports. Several northern and central New York airports would be eligible for grants.

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.

NYSFair/flickr

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.

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