$5 million to be shared among all county fairs in NY
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $5 million is being awarded to county and youth fairs across the state through the Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program.
Fifty-six local fairs, including the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Orleans County, can receive more than $89,000 to offset the cost of improvement and renovation projects, including new construction.
This is the first time in nearly a decade that the state’s more than four dozen local fairs will receive critical infrastructure improvement funds.
“These fairs are a part of New York’s rich tradition and help showcase the pride and heritage of communities in every corner of this great state,” Governor Cuomo said. “These investments will help these fairs attract more visitors, raise the profile of local vendors and businesses, and help spur economic growth across New York.”
The $5 million has been divided equally among the State’s local fairs. Each fair will be eligible for an award of $89,285. To receive the funding, fairs must submit the scope of work and estimated budget for proposed projects.
Projects must be submitted to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which is administering the program. The funding can be used to build, repair, replace, acquire, or install fairground buildings, facilities or equipment that are used to house or promote agriculture. The Department will contact local fairs with instructions on how to submit projects for proposals in the coming weeks.
Once projects are approved by the Department, a contract will be developed and completed through the New York State Grants Gateway. Projects must be finished and the awarded funds must be spent by March 31, 2021. Any money remaining after that date will be divided equally among the awardees who can then submit plans for additional projects.
“For years, many of the State’s local fairs struggled to make the necessary improvements to stay up-to-date and attractive to visitors,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball. “This funding will help mitigate those challenges and provide better opportunities to spotlight the State’s diverse and exceptional agricultural community. I thank Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for being great partners and recognizing the value of this grant program. I look forward to seeing how it enhances the local fairs across the State.”
More than 50 county and youth fairs operate from July through early October, with the Long Island Fair closing out the season. Local fairs provide visitors with family- friendly fun, great music and delicious food. They also offer a unique opportunity to learn about local agriculture, including where our food comes from, how it is grown, harvested and marketed to the public.
President of the New York State Association of Agricultural Fairs Gary Newkirk said, “Our local county fairs have been tradition for generations of families. Mom and dad bring their kids to enjoy the fair as their mom and dad brought them years before. Most of the fairs in New York have been around for over 100 years, several over 175 years. Unfortunately, with that comes aged infrastructure. This money will be like a breath of fresh air to allow our fairs to keep up this great tradition, continue to provide great entertainment, build family memories, and provide an economic impact to local communities.”