Why You May Not Recognize the 2016 Fairgrounds
Thursday, August 11, 2016 11:12 AM by Elizabeth Judge
With the New York State Fairgrounds undergoing its largest construction project in the last 79 years and it’s most significant transformation since it first opened its gates in 1890 a lot of people are asking exactly what has changed this year. We all know by now that the grandstand has been demolished and the concerts moved to the Lakeview Amphitheater across the street, but what most people probably won’t notice are some of the largest ever improvements in overall Fair infrastructure.
The $50 million renovations include some much needed location changes that anyone trying to navigate down the narrow corridor to the Midway will appreciate. The Midway, now a full rectangular shape has shifted to the former race track and infield and in everyone’s best interest, those huge electrical lines have been moved underground, hiding those cables that used to criss-cross the grounds. The Midway also increased in size by 3 acres, to a full 15, offering more rides and less congestion.
Just beyond the Midway is the brand new RV camping area, built where the grandstand previously stood and large enough to accommodate 315 recreational vehicles. New LED teardrop lighting has been installed in all the updated areas as well as down Broadway St.
The Chevy Court quad area will also be more open this year to accommodate the large crowds, with fewer vendors lining the grounds and more available seating. (Don’t worry Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will still be there to satisfy all your post-concert hunger pains). Where have all the retailers gone (think hot tubs)? Most vendors will be located in the former Midway space this year, just past the new Kiddieland.
One of the year’s most noticeable update is the entrance itself. The front gate has been transformed into several arches, replicating the carriage arch from 1900. Wondering where to get your last minute tickets without that familiar box office? Don’t worry three booths stand in front of the main entrance to sell day-of tickets. In addition to the main entrance, a new pedestrian only gate will be open this year, located on Bridge St. between the Horticulture and Center of Progress buildings.
With all the changes visitors will be glad to hear that not much has been left out. Out of all the restaurants that were torn down during the grandstand and track demolition, only one will not be returning this year. The others have found new locations around the fairgrounds. Also still available this year is free admission with proof of purchase to a concert. While the large national acts have moved over to the Lakeview Amphitheater this year, you can still use your ticket to one of the four acts performing during the Fair for free admission any one day during Fair.
“The New York State Fair has delighted New Yorkers for over a century, and the $50 million transformation will ensure the Fairgrounds continue to attract top-notch attractions and visitors for years to come,” Governor Andrew Cuomo recently stated. While we at Visit Syracuse certainly agree with the governor’s sentiment we believe you will too after seeing all the changes for yourself this August 25 – September 5, 2016 at the Great New York State Fair.