It’s New York State Fair time, love it or hate it. I’m going opening night

Grace Potter will perform at Chevy Court on opening night . (From

Grace Potter will perform at Chevy Court on opening night. (From

You don’t find many people who live around Syracuse that put their hands palm up to gesture take-it-or-leave-it come New York State Fair time.

The citizens of Central New York more likely fall into two distinct groups when the 12 days of midway, music, exhibitions, animals, food and drink descend upon the fairgrounds in Geddes, just west of the city.

Some folks plan their vacation for that stretch that welcomes in Labor Day annually, best to avoid the parade of people and tons of traffic. There are state fair-haters among us.

Others buy a bundle of advance tickets to save some cash and make sure they eat fried dough at least a dozen times during the fair.

The New York State Fair starts Thursday, Aug. 22.

I’m going that night with my great friend Dave Kaspar to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Chevy Court.

My wife Karen and I will venture through the Center of Progress, Dairy Building, Horticulture Building, Midway and more sometime next week. We’ll make sure to visit the goats. They’re quite interesting. Best line I heard one year came from then-public relations director Fred Pierce, who related his opinion that a goat was like a confused dog. Perfect.

For more than a decade, I went to the fair every day, working for the big daily, covering the afternoon concert at the free admission court and the night concert at the paid-ticket grandstand.

I saw much great music and banged away hundreds of deadline reviews.

I saw Kenny Chesney set a grandstand attendance record and then break it upon return with his avid country crowd at the grandstand. And I stood among the masses when Bruno Mars draw far more than that 17,000 on the field and walks that surround the Chevy Court stage.

But the number of concerts dwindled at the grandstand, my big daily tasks evolved, and 23 concert reviews from the fair each year fell by half. I’m here to declare that seven out of 12 days at the fair still scratched my itch.

One recent year, I got to stand in front of a camera on scene to describe my best bets for the big website. My favorite described the early-come, best-seat arrangement at Chevy Court.

This year, I no longer work for the big daily, and I have the option to stay far, far away from the masses.

And I’m going opening night. I want to watch the people, at times a strange-but-true collection.

I know what group I fall into.

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