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New York State Fair opens this week with price increases for admission and parking

Tom Magnarelli
WRVO News (file photo)

The New York State Fair starts this week with some changes in ticket and parking prices.

For the last few years, the price to get in to the fair has been as little as a dollar in some cases, but the 2023 edition of the fair will cost more to get in. Acting Fair Director Sean Hennessy said they’re going back to price points seen several years ago: $6 a ticket. Hennessy said it’s still a deal.

"If you look at our pricing structure, we are roughly $10 under any other state fair in the country," Hennessy said. "You get a lot of bang for your buck. A lot of freebies when it comes to the State Fair."

The increase was part of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2023 budget, and also doubles the price to park from $5 to $10. The Hochul Administration cited the increases as an attempt to deal with recent financial losses at the fair.

The fair hasn’t reached its record level attendance numbers in the wake of the COVID years. Hennessy hopes that changes.

"We are expecting a good turnout," Hennessy said. "Weather is really the key factor here. Hot and cold, really people can accommodate that. When rain hits it can affect gate, so we're literally forecasting forward with National Weather Service to find out when, or if we see those types of storms rolling through that we've seen in the last week or two.”

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New York state has had to supplement fair finances, especially after post-pandemic losses in attendance and other revenues. Hennessy expects things to turn around soon.

"We've got a great plan going forward," Hennessy said. "We are still depending on funding from Department of Budgets, but as we go in the outer years, the next three, four, five years, we'll see that diminish over time."

Hennessy says in the end, half of the attendees don’t pay anything. People over the age of 65 and under the age of 12 get in free along with some other promotions for groups like students and Native Americans.

The Fair opens Wednesday, August 23 and runs through Labor Day.
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Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.