The Great New York State Fair-well to Summer

The fair ran for 12 days and captured an array of the Empire State's culture from livestock, to Native American Heritage, to fried tasty treats.

The Great New York State Fair is a buzzing, wonderfully chaotic place, where hundreds of thousands of people from all across the Empire State gather to celebrate all that this glorious state has to offer. Whether you’re a city-dweller or making your way in from the country, whether you’ve come to claim a blue ribbon for your prized cattle or come to eat deep-fried Oreos and ride the tilt-a-whirl until you hurl, the fair has something for everyone.

Photo: Sydney Rey Franklin
A couple holds hands while enjoying the New York State Fair.

That is what I love most about the fair: These 12 days have such different meanings for everyone who walks through the gates.

As someone who grew up in the city of Syracuse, I was raised attending the fair every year. It is easy to blow off the fair as a crowded, over-priced carnival. But the lights and sounds of midway do not reflect the true spirit of the fair.

The spirit of the fair can be seen in the Iroquois Indian Village, where you have the opportunity to experience the traditional music, dance and crafts of the Iroquois people. 

The spirit of the fair is in the livestock buildings, where people sleep in cots and sleeping bags next to their animals for days, and proudly display their ribbons when they have won. The spirit of the fair is in the dairy building, where you can drink the creamiest chocolate milk on the planet from the Rainbow Milk Bar for 25 cents a cup - a price that has not risen for as long as I have been alive.

The spirit of the fair is in Chevrolet Court, where thousands of people gather to watch free concerts or wait in line for a pulled pork sandwich from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

The spirit of the fair is in the people who attend; whether they are there for their first time or annual attendees; whether they are young or old; whether they are from near or far.  These people breathe life into a vast compound, and for those 12 days, the fair is an organism; it is a city within itself.

And then those 12 days pass, and the fair’s magic is gone.

When Labor Day ends and the ferris wheel becomes beams and bolts in the back of a truck, when the animals leave their buildings like some scene from Noah’s Ark, we are left with a starkly deserted fairground and an undeniable feeling: Summer is at an end.

Great job, Seamus! This story

Great job, Seamus! This story made me feel like I was reliving my visit to the fair.

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