Pay More, Or Say Goodbye To NYS Fair: OPINION
The rides, the games, the food, music, memories and fun. Some might say the only bad thing about The Great New York State Fair is that it's annual run during the last week of August and into the first week of September signals a return to school and an end to the vacation season.
So, while it's something to enjoy and look forward to, you know it means the endless summer days of warmth and sunshine will soon be gone, too. Also gone is the fair's COVID-19 pricing.
Governor Kathy Hochul's budget plan laid out this week calls for an end to pre-pandemic NYS Fair admission and parking prices. You may have learned about it from several click-baity headlines intended to induce anger, like: NYS FAIR TO DOUBLE PRICES, or HOHCUL'S BIG PRICE HIKE AT THE FAIR. Don't believe the hype - you aren't being priced out of the NYS Fair anymore than you were three years ago.
I actually welcome this news with open arms. For starters, it's another indicator that we've moved beyond COVID-Scare/Terror-living we endured, when the virus seemingly impacted everyone and everything all the time.
The prices are simply returning to what they were before, not that Hochul's 'GIANT PRICE HIKE' and 'DOUBLING OF FEES' means 'NYS FAIRGOES WILL BE TAKEN FOR A RIDE', (some of them are just so witty!).
Under the proposal, NYS Fair admission prices would RETURN to $6, after having been reduced to $3. Parking fees would return to $10 after being slashed to $5. Keep in mind the cutting of ticket and parking fees was simply done as a way to lure people out to the Syracuse fairgrounds to spend a few bucks so state taxpayers didn't have to fund the entire operation.
Prices haven't doubled, but the 50%-off clearance sale has ended.
Or, maybe we should just subsidize the whole event going forward?
Free fried Oreos for everyone!
The Auburn Citizen noted the bleed of state funds to prop-up the fair over the last several years:
A review of the fair's finances show that the state has provided more than $17 million over three years to support the fair's operations. The fair would need a projected $7.1 million if the state does not increase ticket prices, parking and other fees.
While I don't think the NYS Fair should be an overflowing revenue stream or even a money maker for state government, shouldn't it be able to float on it's own? Without the return of standard pricing, and likely other changes as well, we may have to say goodbye to a signature CNY event.
Or, as noted above, we can just keep subsidizing it by using taxpayer funds intended for other important things like public safety, infrastructure, programs that support veterans, the elderly and less fortunate, among many others.
The 2023 edition of the New York State Fair is scheduled for August 23 through September 4 at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse.
Disagree? Send more your thoughts on the topic. Just email Jeff.Monaski@TownsquareMedia.com.