After drawing nearly 1.3 million visitors this year, the New York State Fair received its highest ranking ever in an industry publication's list of the top fairs in North America.
The fair ranked ninth overall and third among state fairs in Carnival Warehouse's top 50 survey. Only the Texas and Minnesota state fairs finished with higher attendance this year.
The ninth-place finish is the highest ranking for the New York State Fair since Carnival Warehouse commenced its annual survey 13 years ago.
The fair drew 1,279,010 visitors this year to set a new all-time attendance record. It's the third consecutive year the fair broke the all-time attendance record. The previous high was 1,161,912 in 2017.
Fair officials attributed the event's growth to recent investments at the fairgrounds in Geddes, Onondaga County. The state has spent millions to modernize the fairgrounds, including the construction of a new exposition center, an expanded midway and updated RV park.
Promotions have helped draw more visitors, too. The fair charges $3 for tickets on each of the two Thursdays during its 13-day run. There is $1 admission available on the opening and closing days of the fair.
The improvements and promotions have boosted the fair in the Carnival Warehouse rankings. Just five years ago, the New York State Fair ranked 11th among state fairs and 23rd among all fairs in North America for attendance. The fair drew 851,157 visitors in 2013.
Beginning in 2016, the fair's ranking improved. Two years ago, attendance was 1,117,630 — a new all-time record at the time. In Carnival Warehouse's rankings, the fair placed 13th. It finished in the same spot last year after setting another attendance record.
"We're proud of the growth that has happened here, between Governor Cuomo's investments in our facilities and our non-stop efforts to keep our programming exciting and new," Fair Director Troy Waffner said. "We're building something special here and we're making the Great New York State Fair greater year after year."
Other New York fairs landed in Carnival Warehouse's top 50 rankings. The Erie County Fair, an annual event held in the Buffalo area, finished in 13th place. The Dutchess County Fair was 49th overall.
The 2019 New York State Fair will run from Aug. 21 through Sept. 2.