Following concerns about a New York State Fair extended schedule, state officials met recently with representatives from the affected county fairs about the change.
In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the State Fair in Syracuse will increase its 13-day run to 18 days, running Aug. 21 to Sept. 7.
But those additional days overlap with nine county fairs, including the Washington County Fair, scheduled for Aug. 24 to Aug. 30.
“The state fair has always overlapped us,” said Rebecca Breese, marketing and sponsorship manager of the Washington County Fair. “This change makes us overlap completely.”
Officials from the county fairs throughout the state expressed concerns about the overlap, especially related to agriculture competitive exhibits, youth development programs and the routing of carnival, midway and concessions operators.
During the Jan. 31 meeting, state fair officials agreed to work with the counties to resolve concession routing issues on a case-by-case basis, including letting the vendors arrive after the state fair begins.
Additionally, they said that the scheduling of competitive events would not be in the earlier opening dates of the state fair.
“I think anytime there is communication between groups, it is a good thing,” said Breese. “What makes the fairs so special is that we do all work together to create an experience to help all succeed.”
State and county fair officials need to continue discussions, said Jason Lawrence, president of the county fair delegation.
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“Although there are still details to be addressed, the entire county fair delegation feels the meeting was extremely productive,” he said in a news release.
County tourism effort
The first Washington County tourism “Meeting of the Minds” is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at RS Taylor & Sons Brewery in Salem.
The “We are Washington County” initiative is a yearlong crusade to bring local businesses together for networking, brainstorming and sharing ideas about how to bring more people to the county.
During a Washington County Board of Supervisors Agriculture, Planning, Tourism and Community Development Committee meeting in January, marketing consultant Andrew Meader announced the initiative.
According to Meader, the county is working with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Washington County to offer networking and educational opportunities for anyone interested.
“This is going to be a great partnership and the first thing we will be working on are tourism workshops,” said Meader, during the January meeting. “That’s to engage the attractions and the agritourism attractions of the county and sharing information. What do you have that we can shout to the world and how can we help you market yourselves better?”
During the January meeting, the supervisors approved the county’s $10,000 match for the Cooperative Extension’s tourism-related work.
“Together we are stronger,” said Jessica Ziehm, agricultural marketing educator with the local Cooperative Extension in a news release. “This campaign will help unify the independent strengths found in the county, build on the success of existing businesses and mentor less-established ones for the greater good of all businesses here in Washington County. It will be fun to see what we can accomplish when we all work together.”
To become part of this initiative, Washington County-based businesses should go to https://washingtoncounty.fun/tourismmeeting/ to register for the meeting or to sign up for news on the initiative.
Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli is a reporter and photographer covering Washington County, arts and life, features and breaking news.