The New York State Fair will return this summer after it was canceled in 2020, but there will be several adjustments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biggest change: The 18-day fair will be conducted outdoors, with separate areas for agriculture, entertainment, food and drink, and games and rides. Popular facilities like the Center of Progress and Dairy Products buildings won't be open to the public. Bathrooms are the only indoor facilities that will be open during the fair.
Tickets will cost $3. The fair has offered discounts over the years, but the regular price at the gate was $10. Children under age 12 will receive free admission.
Operating capacity will be limited to 50%, which is approximately 50,000 people. (State Fair Director Troy Waffner told The Citizen the fair's capacity is 100,000.) Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday the capacity and other restrictions could change if the statewide COVID-19 numbers continue to improve.
Attendees won't be required to get vaccinated before visiting the fair, Cuomo said. But fairgoers must wear masks and maintain social distancing. The exception to the mask mandate is when visitors are eating or drinking.
Anyone who buys beverages and food at the fair will be asked to sit while they drink and eat. There will be "ample tables and dining spaces" available, according to the governor's office.
The entertainment at the fair will include concerts. Five acts have been announced, including Dropkick Murphys, The Oak Ridge Boys and REO Speedwagon. Cuomo said the concerts must follow the guidelines for music venues, which includes limits on how many people can attend the shows.
There will be rigorous cleaning protocols for games, rides and other frequently used surfaces at the fair.
The fair will run from Aug. 20 through Labor Day, Sept. 6. This will be the first year of the fair's 18-day schedule. The fair expanded to 13 days beginning in 2017, and that continued for the next two years.
Last year, Cuomo announced that the fair would be held for an additional five days, making it one of the longest state fairs in the country. But the cancellation of the fair delayed the implementation of the 18-day run.
Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.