Thunder, lightning and drenching rains might have made a bigger bang to open the New York State Fair then Andrew Cuomo did. But the governor did eventually cut the ribbon to start this year’s event. The state invested pretty heavily into the fairgrounds themselves while the property has an interim director. Cuomo might not rush to name a new head.
"We're trying to modernize the fair to make it more attractive and productive. We're exploring a number of different management options for the fair. But there's no doubt that when you look at this fair today I think you see that it is superior than fairs we've had in recent years."
He points to expanded Taste of New York section, a new yogurt bar for the industry that’s boosted farming, and the I Love New York tourism campaign. He says it’s all part of increased investment in Upstate New York.
Cuomo was greeted at the fair with parents and teachers who want him to get the state to get rid of the Common Core school requirements. Carol Goehner is a teacher at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
Those opposed to hydraulic fracturing for natural gas also greeted the governor. Organizing director with Frack Action Renee Vogelsang feels Cuomo is on their side after he stopped, smiled at them, and said, "Don't frack New York." She says the controversial natural gas drilling process has the potential to threaten the success of much of what Cuomo is trying to promote about New York and the fair.
"People are getting sick across the country from contaminated water. Their farm animals are getting sick and dying. We're here to say agriculture, farming, tourism, our wine industry, our beer industry, all of these thriving industries are the most important thing." The other gubernatorial candidates also made their way to the fair Thursday, long after Cuomo departed. The Green party’s Howie Hawkins, Democratic primary challenger Zephyr Teachout, and Republican Rob Astorino each made stops, as did candidate for State Comptroller Bob Antonacci, who’s also Onondaga County’s comptroller.