DUNKIRK – Organizers with the Chautauqua County Fair are keeping their eye on how state leaders plan to host the New York State Fair this summer.
Chautauqua County Fair President Dave Wilson tells WNY News Now as of today, he believes the fair will not take place this summer, however, did not rule out reopening if the state adjusts their guidance on the matter.
After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Andrew Cuomo joined state fair organizers in Syracuse to preview what festivities at the New York State Fair could look like this summer.
The fair, Cuomo says, will go on for the full 18 days from August 20 to September 6 in a limited capacity.
“We want to keep the crowd size at about 50 percent, so we’ll have four separate areas,” said Cuomo. “Food and beverage, amusement rides, concerts, and the agricultural exhibit, and that will give us the ability to control the number of people who are coming and going.”
These general operating principles will remain in place and will be revised between now and August depending on the positivity and vaccination rates.
The fair saw a record attendance of more than 1.3 million people in 2019 before having zero people show up last year. Still, Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli took on an optimistic tone.
“It was painful, but that was what we had to do to keep everyone safe during the pandemic. In that time, the New York State Fair never stopped its programming,” said Magnarelli. “There was drive-thru fair food, there were fair-at-home contests, and of course, the famous annual butter sculpture. Still, nothing beats being able to visit the state fairgrounds in person. With the vaccine, we can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
In the meantime, the fair will be open, a point Cuomo made very clear.
“Mark it on your calendar,” said Cuomo. Start to plan to buy tickets, and vendors, start to get ready, and then as we get closer to the date, as I mentioned, we’ll have more specifics.”
Admission to the fair is $3 per person, with children under 12 admitted free of charge.
Back in Chautauqua County, fair staff plan to meet next week to discuss the future of the summertime festivities.