There’s a reason they call it the GREAT New York State Fair. That’s because great food, great rides, great music, and great fun are around every corner at America’s oldest and very first state fair. Here are 10 of the 2015 Fair’s greatest hits:

Music Is in the Air

The Great New York State Fair can lay claim to being the greatest free music festival among all state fairs. The Chevy Court stage hosts 23 performances by national acts that are free with your gate admission. In what is likely the greatest lineup in its history, nighttime shows feature Nick Jonas, The Steve Miller Band, Snoop Dogg, Cole Swindell, Melissa Etheridge, Nate Ruess, Fifth Harmony, and more. The paid-admission Grandstand features Eric Church, among other great shows. The Fair’s many stages will present more than 500 musical performances over 12 days—an amazing amount of free music for a $6 pre-sale admission ticket.

Meet (or Meat) the Defibrillator

At a Fair full of fun and crazy food, this new burger is the most fun and the most insane. It’s a half-pound of Angus beef, deep fried. On top: Six strips of bacon, deep fried; melted cheese; and a pile of pickles that have been (you know this is coming) deep fried. But wait—there’s more! This sandwich has no ordinary bun. Two grilled cheese sandwiches hold this heart-stopping burger. Consult your physician before eating the Defibrillator, available at the Fried Specialties booth, which has all kinds of deep-fried candy for dessert and some brand-new deep-fried coffee to wash it all down. The Fair’s more than 200 food vendors have an amazing array of tasty and crazy choices, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.

Life Begins Here

The Fair’s Cow Birthing Center does exactly what its name says it does. Come on in, grab a seat in the bleachers, and watch the miracle of birth. Several times a day, veterinarians help a pregnant mom to bring her calf into the world. This is one of the most popular exhibits at the Fair and a wonderful way to see the circle of life in person.


Every year, the Fair’s most ardent fans begin a guessing game about two signature sculptures: “What will the butter sculpture be?” And “what will the theme be for the sand sculpture?” The butter sculpture, in the Dairy Products Building, always takes some kind of a dairy-related theme. The exact design is a closely-guarded secret until the unveiling the day before the Fair. Even then, some fans avoid the news that day—they want to be surprised when they come to the Fair. In the Center of Progress Building, two talented artists shape an 18-ton mound of sand into, well, something. The theme becomes apparent as the days of the Fair go on. Two sculptures you have to see to believe!

The State of Food

Just inside the Main Gate, the Taste NY tent offers the very first surprise of the Fair. Here, some of the state’s best and most interesting food and beverage makers provide free samples of their products. If you find something you like, you can buy it. Taste NY is Governor Cuomo’s program to promote the best products grown and made in New York and the proof is in this tent. Just across from the tent, the Taste NY Marketplace offers an entire store full of amazing products from New York companies. Long after the Fair is over, you’ll still be tasting the products you buy here as they become kitchen staples.

Animals Everywhere

Love animals? The Fair has thousands of them. Horses and their riders compete every day in the Toyota Coliseum and give you a chance to get up close in the new Equine Avenue exhibit. Sheep and llamas and goats, oh my! Then there are the animal shows. Sea Lion Splash shows us what these amazing animals can do. Wolves of the Wild helps us understand why they’re worth saving. We’ve got a circus full of animals and a butterfly garden in the Horticulture Building.

Vegan OK

For vegans, the thought of navigating fair food to find diet-friendly options is a daunting task, right? Wrong! This year, the New York State Fair is bringing in multiple vegan/vegetarian vendors to cater to people of all diets and tastes! Even if you do eat meat, you should stop by between corndogs and sample some of the veggies options!

What Goes Up...

Among the more than 60 rides on the Wade Shows Midway is one custom-made for the big-time thrillseeker. Strap yourself into the Mega Drop and you’ll get a smooth ride to the highest point at the Fairgrounds: 135 feet above the ground. Enjoy the view while you can, because in a few seconds you’ll be watching the world blur as you drop straight back to earth. Powerful magnets slow you down safely, but the ride in between is something you won’t forget anytime soon.

Be A Part of History in the Making

With the SCOTUS ruling to legalize gay marriage nationwide occurring just months ago, this year is a big year for the LGBT community—and the New York State Fair is bringing out all the stops to show its support! This year is the first ever year that the New York State Fair will hold a day devoted to supporting the LGBT community. Pride day will be held Friday, August 28—don’t miss out!

Wash It All Down

Last, but never least at the Great New York State Fair is the best value at any fair in America: A cup of perfectly chilled white or chocolate New York State milk, for just 25 cents. You’ll belly up to the Rainbow Milk Bar again and again. And not far away, the Great Potato Bar offers a hot baked potato with all the fixings for just $1. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, we’ll be offering sweet potatoes for the first time this year, too.

Don't forget to post photos while at the New York State Fair on Instagram and Twitter with #ILoveNY and #NYSFair and tag us on Facebook!