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Posts Tagged ‘New York State Fair’

Dairy Princesses

Dairy Princesses. Photo courtesy of the New York State Fair

Worth a trip from anywhere, both the New York State Fair and the Minnesota State Fair opened today for their annual 12-day run. ATZ still has a long way to go before reaching our goal of attending a fair in all 50 states, but we have been to both of these great state fairs. The Syracuse fair is accessible by Greyhound or Amtrak from New York City and has a midway by Strates Shows, founded in 1923 and America’s last carnival still traveling by rail. Minnesota is famous for its carefully curated independent midway and an array of unusual new foods. The two fairs run through Labor Day, September 2nd.

New York State Fair

A special exhibit on the history of the New York State Fair, which opened in 1841 and is America’s first State Fair, debuts this year. Visitors enter via a replica of the columned carriage entrance that was used in the 1900s. Among the artifacts on display are costumes from the early 20th century when the fair closed at dusk and a Mardi Gras parade entertained fair-goers at night, clay models of butter sculptures from the last nine years, and a miniature model of the mighty James E. Strates Midway.

Space Roller

Space Roller, James E Strates Midway at New York State Fair

The Fair’s theme is “Sharing the Bounty and Pride of New York.” New York grown and produced food and beverages will be sampled and sold under the “Taste NY” banner throughout the fair this year. Visitors who stop by locations on the “Taste NY Trail” will be eligible to win prizes. Among the vendors are nine breweries, ten wineries, honey producers, dairies, and organic farmers.

This year’s entertainment includes the Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show; Mutts Gone Nuts Comedy Dog Act; Team Sandtastic’s annual sand castle in the Horticulture Building; the Walker Brothers’ Circus; and Extreme Log Makeover featuring a team of female chain saw carvers.

Special Days: Dairy Day, Beef Day, Veteran’s Day, Women’s Day, Gospel Weekend

Grandstand Shows: Toby Keith, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lynyrd Skynyrd, All Star Monster Truck Show, NYS Championship Demolition Derby & Double Figure 8 Races

Minnesota State Fair

Space Tower

The Space Tower, built in 1965 and now regarded as one of the landmarks of the fair. Photo courtesy of Minnesota State Fair

The first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 and moved to its present location between Minneapolis and St Paul in 1889. Among the historic privately owned attractions at the fair are the 1913 Ye Old Mill tunnel of love ride, a Haunted House built by the same designers as Disney’s Haunted Mansion, and the 330-foot Space Tower built in 1965 by the same manufacturer as Coney Island’s Astrotower.

New foods for the 2013 Minnesota Fair were announced in July in plenty of time to whet people’s appetites. Lobster Macaroni & Cheese, Candied Bacon Cannoli and Fried Pickles ‘n’ Chocolate are some of the unusual combos. We’ll have the Craft Beer Battered Onion Rings and the Comet Corn, icy cold caramel corn made with liquid nitrogen, please! A Food Finder on the fair’s website lists 83 different foods on a stick and their locations. Reporters typically review all of the new foods and locals come back day after day to eat their way through the fair.

Sweet Corn Corndog

Sweet Corn Corndog at Campbell’s Flavored Corndogs. Photo coutesy of Minnesota State Fair

This year’s entertainment includes the Giant Singalong, Equimania, The LEGO Road Trip, Canstruction, Krazy Maze, Military Appreciation Day Flyover & Vietnam Era Veterans Parade and Program, and “Ice” Skating on a sheet of synthetic ice.

Grandstand shows: Sheryl Crow, Depeche Mode, 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival presented by Walker Art Center, MSF Amateur Talent Contest Finals and Tim McGraw

Minnesota State Fair

Agriculture Building and Skyride. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

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August 9, 2012: Traveler: Skywheel at the Wisconsin State Fair 2012

October 8, 2010: Traveler: Most Beautiful Video of the State Fair of Texas

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Bonanza Shooting Gallery

Bonanza Shooting Gallery, State Fair Meadowlands, New Jersey. June 23, 2013. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

When we came across this wonderful, old-timey Bonanza Shooting Gallery on the midway at the June 17-July 7 NJ State Fair Meadowlands, our first question was — can we photograph it without triggering all the targets? Vintage Bonanza galleries used photocell sensors activated by a bright light source, usually from the rifles. That’s why there were multiple signs saying “No Photography” at the one in Coney Island’s Astroland, which is by the way up for sale. The attendant at the Bonanza Shooting Gallery at the Meadowlands Fair said, “Take all the pictures you want.” Since their rifles got a redo, they no longer have a problem with the targets going off when folks snap photos.

“The rifle shoots an infrared beam of light instead of flashing light,” Bonanza Gallery owner Matt Gallapoo said in an interview with ATZ. “It feels like a shotgun, but the sound is digital.” The Ohioan, whose family has been in the amusement business since the early 20th century, brings the Bonanza Shooting Gallery to the Orange County Fair in Middletown, NY (July 12-July 28, 2013), Erie County Fair in Hamburg, NY (August 7-18, 2013), New York State Fair (August 22- September 2, 2013), Florida State Fair (February 6-17, 2014) and other big fairs.

Bonanza Shooting Gallery

Bonanza Shooting Gallery, State Fair Meadowlands, New Jersey. June 23, 2013. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

Manufactured by Taylor Engineering, Bonanza Shooting Galleries first debuted in 1958 and this one was built for his father in 1976. Gallapoo had the family heirloom refurbished in 2010 after acquiring it at a sheriff’s auction where it ended up after having been neglected by an ex-brother-in-law. The largest traveling shooting gallery of its kind has approximately 26 guns and 100 original interactive targets including a piano player and cigar store Indian. The gallery is housed in a 60-foot wide by 32-foot deep tent.

“My mother was born into the business. She was one of the original Otterbacher kids,” says Gallapoo whose family takes credit for pioneering such carnival games as the bottle-up and the softball in the milkcan and giving away live rabbits as prizes in the 1980s. He still has food concessions at some of the spots on their route including the August 23-25 Wine and Walleye Fest in Ashtabula, Ohio, where they will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most portions of fish and chips sold.

Bonanza shooting Gallery

Bonanza Shooting Gallery, State Fair Meadowlands, New Jersey. June 23, 2013. Photo © me-myself-i/Tricia Vita via flickr

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