The Great New York State Fair

Cows - NYS Fair

It may be the glittering lights, the coasters or the promise of new memories that attracts thousands to the State Fair. Whatever your reason, there's a lot of fun in store. What started as a nod to the agricultural community in the 1800s has evolved into a colorful 12-day celebration of New York's outstanding food, entertainment and technology. So whether you're here for a cultural awakening or just to eat some fried Oreos, the Great New York State Fair will take you on a journey. Buy your tickets now!

Jump to: Things you need to see | Day-by-day guide | Where to stay | Getting there | Deals

Things you need to see

Canadian Lynx - NYS Fair

Taste NY events & samples - Farm-to-fork cuisine is at the heart of Taste NY where free samples of food and beverage products are available daily in the Horticulture Building. Meet the people behind the products and learn from the experts with daily cooking demos presented by Taste NY and Wegmans Food Market. Find the full cooking schedule and event list here

Wildcats - "Ensuring the Future of Wildcats," this exhibit by Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, a feline conservancy, will introduce fairgoers to endangered cats like the Canadian Lynx, Geoffroy Cat, Serval and Cougar. Learn from the experts and get an up-close view at these amazing creatures.

Sea Lion Splash - Dancing, singing and dashing through the water, sea lions are nature's comedians. See these amazing ocean creatures in action at daily shows at 12:45, 3:30 and 6pm in the Family Fun Center.

I Love NY Sand Sculpture - NYS Fair - Photo Courtesy of The Great NYS Fair

Butter sculpture - We recommend trying everything on Dairy Day, except for this work of art. Carved from hundreds of pounds of butter, this sculpture has been a fair must-see for 45 years.

Sand sculpture - The amazing sand sculpture will return for a eighth year at the center of the Center of Progress Building. This year you can watch 180 tons of sand (that's 360,000 pounds) sculpted into a work of art by the people from Team Sandtastic!

Day-by-day guide to the State Fair


Day 1 - Thursday 8/25: $3 Thursdays | Opening Day | Governor's Day
All day admission for only $3, that's a pretty sweet deal, right? Thanks to the fair's Three Dollar Thursday special, you'll enjoy attractions and live musicians without breaking your wallet! Head to Chevy Court to hear Big Bad Voodoo and bring out your inner animal when Kesha hits the stage at night.

Pride Day - NYS Fair - Photo Courtesy of The Great NYS Fair

Day 2 - Friday 8/26: Pride Day | Law Enforcement Day
If New Yorkers are one thing, they're proud of who they are. And this fair has a lot to boast. The only state fair to host its own Pride Day, Friday is bursting with colorful events including the Special Day parade and guest speaker Candis Cayne of I am Cait who will discuss the meaningfulness of finding your happy, authentic self. And to honor those in public service, Law Enforcement Day allows free admission to active and retired law enforcement personnel. Celebrations continue on the live stage with performance from Braiden Sunshine and Chance Pena in the afternoon and Toto at 8pm.

Day 3 - Saturday 8/27
With a seemingly endless list of activities and attractions, you could walk the fairgrounds for days without exhausting your to-do list. Use this weekend to explore all of the State Fair and be sure to catch live musical performances from MAGIC! at 2pm and Dashboard Confessional in the evening at Chevy Court.

Day 4 - Sunday 8/28
Whether you're feeling an adrenaline rush from carnival rides or rocking out to a beat, Sundays at this fair are built for fun. Follow the sound of music to Chevy Court where Air Supply as well as Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers will be performing live.

Minions Cheese Sculpture - Photo by the Great NYS Fair

Day 5 - Monday 8/29: Dairy Day | Midway Monday | Senior Citizen's Day
Chocolate milk and thick shakes are, to any dairy-lover, the crème de la crème of beverages. And as the state's official drink, "Milk" is center stage on Dairy Day. Delicious events include the celebrity milkshake contest, New York "Big Cheese" auction and, of course, the famous butter sculpture and cartoons carved out of cheese. With events running all day and the Midway Monday 10 rides for $10 deal, make sure you carve out time to hear Herman's Hermits and Brian Wilson's notorious "Pet Sounds" perform live at Chevy Court.

Woman Feeding Cow - Photo by the Great NYS Fair

Day 6 - Tuesday 8/30: Beef Day | Fire & Rescue Day | Senior Citizen's Day
Let the sizzling grill and mouth-watering smell of juicy burgers guide you to the Chevy Court pavilion, where Beef Day is in full swing. Celebrating New York's beef industry and farmers, the annual grill-off has top chefs competing for the title of "Iron Chef," followed by the always-tasty "Create the Perfect Burger" competition. Looking for more hype? Who will make the greatest burger? Get a taste and find out for yourself. Active or retired fire department personnel as well as senior citizens. Plus, Survivor and The Commodores hit the stage at Chevy Court.

Girls on Ride - Photo by the Great NYS Fair

Day 7 - Wednesday 8/31: Ride for $5 Day | Women's Day
Whether you're an avid cyclists, or just dusting off the training wheels, this day is for you. Ride for $5 lets you ride your bike to the state fair and gain full admission for only $5, click here to learn about the group cycle from the Salt Museum to the Fairgrounds at 9:30am. Channel your inner artist on Women's Day with special fine arts and photography exhibits; plus, musical performances from Macy Gray and Three Days Grace.

Veteran Dog - NYS Fair - Veteran Day - Photo Courtesy of The Great NYS Fair

Day 8 - Thursday 9/1: $3 Thursday | Armed Forces Day
Some may think this bargain is too good to be true, but let us assure you, it's the real deal--Three Dollar Thursday is back so you can get full admission for just $3! And for those active or veteran military personnel, admission for the day is free with a valid ID in honor of Armed Forces Day. Join the community in honoring our Armed Forces with ceremonies at the Veterans Memorial at 11am and the Special Day Parade at 6pm. Live performances include Natalie La Rose and Flo Rida. "Champions Day" at the Fair in honor of the team, which will be congratulated for its victory at a special ceremony on Chevy Court. Free tickets to the Fair are available to members of the Maine-Endwell community to take part in the celebration. The Maine-Endwell team is the first New York team to win the Little League World Series since 1964.

Day 9 - Friday 9/2: Six Nations Day | Student's Day
Let this Friday launch you into a holiday weekend packed with fun--for free. On this day, all Native Americans gain free admission, no ID required. Plus, students gain free admission with a valid student ID. Take advantage of the sweet deal to see live performances from A Tribe Called Red and Culture Club at Chevy Court.

Bass Master - NYS Fair

Day 10 - Saturday 9/3: Grange Day | B.A.S.S. Nation Fishing Competition
Any fisherman would agree, Onondaga Lake is the place to be this Saturday. Early this morning, Bassmaster pros and B.A.S.S. Nation pros will face off in a friendly competition at the lake, then they'll head over to the fairgrounds to show off their catches with a weigh-in and fan meet-and-greet from 11am to 3pm at the Family Fun Center. Also on this day: Grange Day takes over with events celebrating New York's rural communities and agriculture industry. And if you're looking for some new beats, X Ambassadors as well as Rachel Platten will be performing live! *Get a free day pass to the State Fair when you participate in the fishing clinic on Onondaga Lake!

Food Truck - NYS Fair - Photo Courtesy of The Great NYS Fair

Day 11 - Sunday 9/4: Taste NY Food Truck Competition 
If you thought the 13 foods you can't miss was enough to fill your stomach, make some room for this foodie fest. September 4th marks the annual Taste NY Food Truck Competition where over 20 vendors dish up the best snacks,  entrées and deserts, all made with New York ingredients. With $2 samples and the chance to cast your vote for the People's Choice winner, make sure you bring your appetite. For live music, head to Chevy Court to hear Robert Cray and Daughtry perform live.

Rides at Night - NYS Fair - Photo by The Great NYS Fair

Day 12 - Monday 9/5: Labor Day | Summer Send Off "Dollar Day"
Happy Labor Day! The Summer Send Off "Dollar Day" makes the holiday that much sweeter with $1 adult admission all day. If you haven't had your dose of adrenaline, head to Wade Shows Midway jump on any ride for just $1. With seven new rides, from the heart-pounding Street Fighter 360, a massive claw that spins and riders 50 ft. in the air to the kid-friendly Wiggle Worm, you'll have plenty of thrills to fill your day. And if you're looking for bursts of color and music that night, you've come to the right place, the closing firework show and Chicago's live performance will have you mesmerized.

Where to stay

Find hotels near the Fair and more places to stay in Syracuse!  

Clarion Inn & Suites
Less than 5 miles from the fairgrounds with complimentary shuttle service to and from the State Fair, this hotel's edge is all in its location. A full service hotel offering comfortable accommodations and complimentary hot breakfast, it's an ideal place to enjoy many nights in 'Cuse without breaking your wallet.

Best Western
Everything you need for a comfortable overnight in Syracuse to explore the fairgrounds, Syracuse University and city attractions. It's convenient location and unpretentious atmosphere makes this hotel an ideal stopover to explore the area.

The Maplewood Suites'
Conveniently located off the New York State Thruway, its proximity to the Fairgrounds makes this perfect fit for travelers and fairgoers alike. Enjoy a hot deluxe continental breakfast, hot coffee, hot chocolate and tea, complimentary shuttle service from 5:00am-11:00pm daily, safety stove tops, state-of-the-art 24 hour fitness center, indoor heated pool .

Embassy Suites by Hilton Syracuse
It's easy access to I-90, I-69 and the Great New York STate Fair make it a perfect place to indulge in comfort while exploring the area.r travel 

Holiday Inn Express & Suites
Easily accessible from I-690 and the State Fairgrounds, this hotel's modern decor and luxury rooms ensures comfort and convenience. Enjoy access to the heated indoor swimming pool, fitness center, 24-hour business center and complimentary hot breakfast at this homey, no-frills hotel.

Jefferson Clinton Hotel
Discover a unique blend of elegance, history and personalized service at the Jefferson Clinton Hotel. Perfectly nestled in downtown Syracuse's historic Armory Square district, and just 5 short minutes from the NYS Fairgrounds, our luxury accommodations provide the ultimate in comfort for both business and leisure travelers.

Marriott Syracuse Downtown
Walk in the footsteps of JFK, Elvis Presley and John Lennon at this historic hotel in the heart of downtown Syracuse. Guest rooms and suites are furnished with exquisite Stickley pieces and designed with comfort in mind. Make memories at the State Fair and sleep in the exquisite comfort of this architectural beauty.

Genesee Grand Hotel
If you're looking for spacious suites, chic decor and a central location to downtown Cuse, look no further than the Genesee Grand Hotel. So whether you're making a week long stopover to enjoy the State Fair or hunting for a wedding venue, this luxury spot is the place.

Getting there

By train
Amtrak makes special stops to Fairgrounds (Gate 11) and kids ride free! Get your Amtrak tickets and free kids ticket here.
*Note: The "kids ride free" promotion for travel to and from the Fair must be booked online. The State Fair stop is only active August 25th - September 5th. Taxi service is available from the station to downtown attractions.

• Westbound trains originating in New York City stop at the Fair at 12:50 p.m. (Train 63), 3:56 p.m. (Train 281) and 6:51 p.m. (Train 283).
• Eastbound trains from Niagara Falls and points west stop at 9:13 a.m. (Train 284), 2:55 p.m. (Train 64) and 5:33 p.m. (Train 288 - Sunday only) en route to Albany and New York City.

By car 
• From NYC: 4 hours
• From Albany: 3.5 hour
• From Buffalo: 2.5 hours
• From Boston: 3.5 hours
• From Philadelphia: 4 hours
• From Montreal: 4.5 hours

Get 10% off your car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car with the I LOVE NY discount and drive to the State Fair! 

By bus 
Trailways to Adirondack Trailways Bus Stop or Greyhound to Syracuse Regional Transit Center.

By plane  
Syracuse International Airport, 1000 Col Eileen Collins Blvd, Syracuse, NY 13212


Free admission with Destiny USA
Enjoy free admission to the State Fair when you purchase your Destiny USA Summer Fun Day Pass! Get to the park with Park-n-Ride at Destiny USA where the Centro provides direct service to and from the New York State Fair. Buy your pass and learn more here

Free admission with Lakeview Amphitheater
Show your ticket to the Lakeview Amphitheater and enjoy free admission to the State Fair! Lakeview performers include Keith Urban (8/25)Korn & Rob Zombie (8/27)Florida Georgia Line (9/2) and ZZ Top & Charlie Daniels Band (9/3)! Buy your Lakeview ticket now.

10% off Enterprise Rent-A-Car   
10% off your car rental at Enterprise Rent-A-Car with the I LOVE NY discount. Drive your Enterprise vehicle to the New York State Fair and experience the wonders of Syracuse! Enterprise offers free pick up service from your home, Amtrak (SYR) station and Syracuse Airport.

Save with Zipcar
Join Zipcar for only $35 (a $60 saving) and head to the State Fair! For the first time ever, Zipcars will be on-site at the Fair, capitalize on this opportunity and explore downtown attractions throughout 'Cuse! Zipcars are available across the tri-state area, so no matter where you are, the Fair is just a quick zip away. 

Free Amtrak kids tickets
Kids ride free with Amtrak for the State Fair! Amtrak makes special stops to Fairgrounds (Gate 11) August 25th through September 5th. Get your adult ticket and free kids ticket here!  

• Westbound trains originating in New York City stop at the Fair at 12:50 p.m. (Train 63), 3:56 p.m. (Train 281) and 6:51 p.m. (Train 283).
• Eastbound trains from Niagara Falls and points west stop at 9:13 a.m. (Train 284), 2:55 p.m. (Train 64) and 5:33 p.m. (Train 288 - Sunday only) en route to Albany and New York City.

*Note: The "kids ride free" promotion for travel to and from the State Fair must be booked online. The State Fair stop is only active August 25th - September 5th. Taxi service is available from the station to downtown attractions.

Free fair admission September 3rd with Bassmasters
Join the Bassmaster fishing clinic at Onondaga Lake on Saturday September 3rd from 8am - 10am and get free admission to the State Fair all day!  

Sign up to win
Visit the I LOVE NY booth at the State Fair Pavilion and enter to win prizes including I LOVE NY gear and lifetime passes to the NY State Fair! 

More to love at the State Fair

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