The following blog post was written by Maggy Stewart, Marketing Coordinator & Graphic Designer at RMS.
View the infographic here.

New York State Fair

According to a recent poll of Central New Yorkers conducted by Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc. (RMS), fairgoers have a lot to be excited about this year. With 87 percent of survey respondents planning to go to the Great New York State Fair this year, the concert respondents are most excited to see is ZZ Top at Chevy Court. In 2016 & 2017, survey respondents selected Chevy Court as their favorite fair attraction, but with 63 percent of the votes this year, the butter sculpture is the winning attraction for 2018. Chevy Court came in second at 62 percent, and the dairy building third at 61 percent. And the ‘craziest food concoctions’ respondents are most excited to try this year? The hot beef sundae (13 percent), the milky bun (11 percent) and the State Fair Bloody Mary (10 percent).

Good news for pizze fritte fans: the doughy delight is back on top as respondents’ favorite fair food at 48 percent. Milk — voted last year’s favorite food — came in second at 47 percent, followed by BBQ (38 percent), potatoes from the potato booth (38 percent), sausage sandwiches (37 percent), ice cream (35 percent), gyro (32 percent), blooming onion (32 percent), funnel cake (29 percent), deep fried treats (25 percent), roasted ear of corn (24 percent), and fries (21 percent).

“Every year people look forward to participating in our annual New York State Fair survey,” said Sandy Baker, Vice President of Corporate Development at RMS. “Syracuse is one of the nation’s top test markets, and the New York State Fair is a unique event that draws hundreds of thousands of people from not only Central New York, but across the state and country as well.” Respondents surveyed were asked about favorite Fair attractions and foods, Midway rides and games, spending habits, concerts, exhibitions and more.

Ninety-three percent of survey respondents have been to the New York State Fair previously, and the majority (62 percent) said they are ‘excited’ about the Fair. Seventy-six percent of respondents attended the Fair last year, and 87 percent plan to attend this year. Most respondents (62 percent) purchase their tickets in advance, 21 percent buy them at the door, and 18 percent receive them through family, friends, work or other means. Thirty-seven percent of respondents are unsure of what days they plan to attend the Fair, but the most popular days specified were Saturday, September 1 (22 percent), Saturday, August 25 (20 percent), Labor Day (20 percent), Friday, August 24 (18 percent), or Friday, August 31 (16 percent). Most respondents (65 percent) plan to visit the Fair one or two times, with the majority (76 percent) travelling 30 miles or less to the Fair. While only seven percent said they’d take the Park-N-Ride Shuttle in 2017, 25 percent plan to use the Centro shuttle service this year. Sixty-eight percent say they’ll drive or ride with someone, and the majority (56 percent) plan to spend four to six hours at the Fair.

When asked to identify respondents’ main reasons for visiting the Fair, 33 percent attend for the food and drinks, 31 percent go for the attractions, 16 percent visit for the concerts, 12 percent like the environment and people, five percent go for other reasons, and three percent go for rides and games. Aside from ticket costs, fairgoers plan to spend an average of $139.54 this year, up from $127.97 in 2017, and $121.36 in 2016. Aside from food and drink, respondents said they also purchase lottery tickets (28 percent), household items (28 percent), clothes (23 percent), jewelry (19 percent), sunglasses (14 percent), outdoor items (11 percent) and caricatures (six percent).

Following the butter sculpture, Chevy Court and dairy building as this year’s top attractions, respondents also enjoy the Center of Progress Building (59 percent), sand sculpture (59 percent), animal buildings (56 percent), Horticulture Building (45 percent), Taste NY (45 percent), beer/wine tent (38 percent), International Building (38 percent), art and craft exhibitions (35 percent), and the Midway rides and games (27 percent). Respondents’ favorite animal exhibits were the horses (26 percent), cows (20 percent) and pigs (eight percent).

When asked which concerts respondents were most excited to see at the Fair, following ZZ Top (31 percent) came Counting Crows (26 percent), The Temptations (25 percent), Blondie (23 percent), Smokey Robinson (22 percent), Eddie Money (20 percent), Ludacris (18 percent), Big & Rich (17 percent), Collective Soul (14 percent), Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (13 percent), and Hanson (10 percent).

The favorite midway game for three years in a row is the water squirt race (31 percent), followed by “I Got It” tic tac toe (29 percent), skee ball (21 percent), Whack-A-Mole (15 percent), darts (15 percent), lucky duck pond (13 percent), fool the guesser (12 percent), bowler roller (10 percent), rings (nine percent), basketball (eight percent), and beer bust (seven percent).

The majority (62 percent) of respondents have heard about the new Exposition Center, and of all the new fairground modifications this year, 18 percent were most excited about the Expo Center, followed by more bathrooms (14 percent), 90-foot free observation tower (13 percent), Experience Stage (nine percent), more seating (nine percent), paved Orange Parking Lot (eight percent), and the ice skating/hockey rink (six percent).

When asked to describe the New York State Fair in one word, the majority of respondents said “fun!”

To view a detailed infographic depicting the surveys results, please click here. If you would like to participate in upcoming RMS ViewPoint polls and surveys, please visit to sign up.

The RMS ViewPoint poll was conducted from August 8, 2018 to August 19, 2018. A total of 985 surveys were completed. Respondents consisted of RMS ViewPoint Research Panel members, as well as the general community. For more information on RMS ViewPoint, visit

About RMS

Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS) is a full service market research firm located in Baldwinsville, NY. RMS provides an array of research methodologies that result in actionable analytics and recommendations for clients to enhance decision making based on data. RMS is also home to QualiSight, a premier focus group, recruiting and interview research facility, and ViewPoint, a leading consumer research panel in Central New York, one of the nation’s top test markets.

New York State Fair Survey Infographic