NYSG-Great New York State Fair Partnership
Publications: Success Stories - Extension (2020)

NYSG’s Dave White (2nd from right), Great New York State Fair PR and Marketing Manager Dave Bullard (3rd from right) and marine industry, H. Lee White Maritime Museum, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Dairy Birthing Center representatives at a boat building demonstration at the Fair.

Capitalizing on unparalleled public education opportunities at the Great New York State Fair thanks to NYSG and a diverse group of partners


Dave White, NYSG Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist, E: dgw9@cornell.edu, P: 315-312-3042

Oswego, NY, March 2, 2020 - As a featured exhibitor since 2014, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) has capitalized on the unparalleled public education opportunity represented by the Great New York State Fair. The annual event has set new attendance records every year since 2016, with an all-time, one-year high of 1,329,275 visitors in 2019. 

NYSG has partnered with diverse partners to develop, design and install Fair exhibits, each one different than those before. The value of the initial exhibit that began as a “Great Shipwrecks of NY’s ‘Great Lakes” showcase was extended as a post-Fair multi-state traveling exhibit. 

Each year the exhibit has accommodated new partners, new artifacts, student participation, demonstrations, and a host of historic and modern-day vessels from an 18th-century bateau to country singer Alan Jackson’s 1955 cruiser “Flat Top” and a 2019 sailboat. 

Educational themes have included:

• Clean, safe & environmentally-friendly boating
• Aquatic research and marine STEM opportunities with jr. high to college student demonstrations
• NY’s fabulous water recreation & maritime history     
• Great Lakes Observation Buoy live data transmission
• Family fun: 100 years of recreational boating in NY with vessels and boat building demonstrations 
• Ask the Experts Days for visitors to learn from aquatic researchers, scientists, and educators.

The exhibit’s move to the Fair’s underutilized west end in 2017 helped turn that area into an added draw for visitors. In 2019, the “on-land marina” exhibit that included elevated docks and vessels representing more than 100 years of boating and propulsion in NY was popular with Great New York State Fair goers.

New York State Fair Director Troy Waffner remarked, “This year’s Maritime History exhibit (inspires) visitors to take advantage of all the great water resources we have in New York State and to become informed stewards of those waters.”

The Sea Grant Focus Area for this project is Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development in New York. 

Project Partners:  

• Great New York State Fair
• H. Lee White Maritime Museum of Oswego
• Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York
• Great Lakes Research Consortium
• Great Lakes Seaway Trail National Scenic Byway
• Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
• U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
• Empire Dock and Lift; and partners from the education law enforcement/safety, marine industry & youth sectors

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 34 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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