MA Residents: Head West This Summer To the GREAT NYS Fair!
Forget about The Big E. My vote for the BEST exposition is located west of us in Syracuse, New York as my annual pilgrimage to The GREAT New York State Fair is an annual ritual. My personal nickname: "The Grand Daddy Of Them ALL". Yes, I admit it takes me about 5 hours (I include stops in my itinerary), but the end result is magical and phenomenal in nature. After all, this has been a tradition of being there front row and center since 1989.
And this time around I'm bringing "my little bro", "The Ry Guy" for his very first visit to this yearly excursion.
I already told him, I'm NOT going on any rides, so he's on his own. But we will indulge in that AWESOME fair food as he will truly bring his voracious appetite to central New York. I plan to take him to The Wegman's cooking demonstration and he will have the BEST sausage and pepper sandwich on the planet, coupled with a traditional Greek gyro for dinner. Snacks include the classic Pizza Frite (fried dough with a taste of Italy) and that soft serve ice cream is well worth the trip out west (2 cones for $5) with a 25-cent cup of chocolate milk and he will see his VERY FIRST butter sculpture while you are in the dairy building.
The exhibits will truly fascinate him including this special trip down to memory lane: A display preserving some artifacts from the vintage RKO Keith's Theater in Syracuse and downstairs in The Empire Theater, a priceless 1925 Wurlitzer pipe organ remains intact, however, officials want this antique removed from the property and the reason is unknown as this classic instrument has been in the property since 1967. Its keeper, a lovely woman named Geraldine Speck even treated me and a handful of other walk-ins to an exclusive mini-concert as a campaign to keep the organ in its proper place is ongoing. Hopefully, we have some optimistic news regarding this sensitive and delicate matter as the vintage instrument should remain intact.
The Horticultural Building has a plethora of agricultural-based exhibits and the brand new Exposition Center is a mandatory stop. One of the fair's highlights is a visit to Indian Village as you can learn about the cultures of various upstate New York tribes and they also perform a dancing ritual on the big stage showcasing their customs which is not only entertaining but informative in nature.
Let's not forget the FREE concerts at Chevy Court. So far, this year's line-up will NOT disappoint. Here is what we know so far on who will take center stage:
Chubby Checker will kick things off on August 23rd at 1 pm SO let's do "The Twist"
George Thorgood & the Destroyers ROCK the house on August 26th at 8 pm
Peter Noone and Herman's Hermits will bring you back in time with a 1 pm matinee on August 28th and REO Speedwagon will return for another FREE show that Monday evening beginning at 8 pm.
Poison's lead singer, Bret Michaels will perform on August 29th at 6pm. We will update you on more concerts when the information becomes available.
"The Grand Daddy of Them All" lives up to its name. The New York State Fair kicks off on August 23rd and runs consecutively until September 4th (Labor Day). For more details on planning your visit, log to their web site. Bay State residents are conditioned to attend the Big E, but trust me, you will find this experience a lot more rewarding and there is more terrain to cover with room to walk around on these grounds. You need to attend this extravaganza at least once in your life.
Once again, this article is dedicated to the memory of the late GREAT Joe La Guardia, who was the quintessential Promotions Manager as I was PROUD to know him and he was very accommodating to me during the good ol' days as The Fair was a well-oiled machine during his tenure in the Salt City. He is sorely missed for sure!
(Photo images of Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits and Bret Michaels courtesy of their Facebook pages)
LOOK: The best minigolf in every state