By Mark David Blum, Esq.
After six straight ten plus hour days with only one time out taken, it is the unfettered opinion of this writer that the 2008 version of the New York State Fair is an amazing success. In so many ways, it changed from Dan’s oppressive police state and became a more user friendly relevant event. Kudos to Dan O’Hara and his staff for the fantastic job this year.
My first thanks go to opening up the Center of Progress building for breathing and movement. Getting the swap meet vendors out of there and bringing in more of the State made the building more useful. As sad as it was to see the Hillary for Prez booth stand dark and idle, I noted many public and civic service agencies present and available heretofore not seen. More, I say. Sending those trash sellers to far corners of the agriculture building in place of a giant beer exhibit was a good move for both buildings.
Thank you also for removing two lines of vendors from the Midway and replacing it with seating. There is nothing but seating and every seat is full. It was a much needed move and the results are great. This way too parents can SIT and watch while their kids ride.
Bringing in an agricultural focus was a great idea. The ‘Store’ at the entrance of Gate 1 is beautiful. The Lotto at Times Square is a predicted mistake. Pig races, llama games, Bears, and other events inside the buildings involved the public more in the events. Yes, it is great to see the most beautiful cow in the State. But I wouldn’t mind seeing a milking competition, cow pie chucking contest, or even a rodeo. Also, get more animals into the parade.
It is obvious vendors have succumbed to the push for ‘family friendly” values. The entire Art exhibit was boring. Though each was in its’ own right a beautiful effort at conveying an emotion, the overall exhibit was less intellectually challenging than in previous years. This is part of the backsplash of censorship last year. The entire Fair seems sanitized. Though more risqué in parts, the smackdown against drugs, sexuality, and attire is visible everywhere. Fret not. Beer is available aplenty everywhere.
Also, for a donation to a good cause, you can get a “Save the Boobies” t-shirt. Make sure not to miss that exhibit. Boobies are good for everybody. Dan’s invitation to a vendor selling bright pink “Save the Boobies” t-shirts speaks volumes of his heart and how he is not the Fair Nazi we believe him to be. He obviously learned his lesson from last year.
I wont let this essay close without at least one grumble. The clampdown on free tickets worked. Finding parking or entry passes was almost impossible. I really do not object to the Fair earning what it deserves, but dag gum … twelve days is expensive.
Six down and six to go. Bring on the Fair.