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More parking, new rides and exhibits expected at 2017 NY State Fair

Tom Magnarelli
Acting Director Troy Waffner.

The New York State Fair opens its 2017 edition Wednesday. The fair has some new features, fixed some problems from last year and is getting ready for the second part of a major expansion.

Phase one of the fair’s revitalization included a new entryway and larger midway. Phase two will begin after this year’s fair with the creation of a new Expo Center which Acting Director Troy Waffner called the gem of the expansion.

“It’ll give us this flexible modern space that we’ll really be able to market to whether it is the make and model auctions of the world or big truck shows or other types of facilities that really need big open spaces, lots of parking and lots of exhibit space,” Waffner said.

This is Waffner’s fourth year as the acting director of the fair and he said being the permanent director is something he “absolutely” wants.

He said the biggest problem last year was parking and this year there are more than 400 new spots.

Credit Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo
WRVO News File Photo
One of the more recent features of the New York State Fair is a new opening gate at the front entrance to the fair

“What happened last year is we ran out of parking," Waffner said. "State police and DOT would circulate cars. There’s actually a strategy to that and I understand it. But if you’re the guy or the girl trying to come to the fair, nothing upsets you more than driving by the place your trying to go to twice.”

Waffner said there are also a variety of other new features.

"Whether its paving the gravel areas, programming the western end of the grounds with entertainment and more vendors, the Latino weekend, the new sky ride," Waffner said. "The horticulture building will also include industrial hemp this year now that it's expanding."

This year’s fair will feature a new chair lift ride. That’s not to be confused with the proposed aerial gondola, which would bring people from the fair to the Lakeview Amphitheater. While plans for the gondola are on hold, Waffner said it could be a solid investment.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.