A day at the state fair with the man in charge

A day at the state fair with the man in charge
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 5:05 PM EDT
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TOWN OF GEDDES, New York (WWNY) - The New York State Fair is in full swing in Syracuse and the man in charge of it is from Black River.

Sean Hennessey used to work for the state’s Department of Transportation in Watertown and helped plan several of Watertown’s Irish festivals.

Now he’s in charge of the Great New York State Fair. That comes with a lot of responsibilities.

“The quality of the fair experience is really what we’re focusing on but numbers are definitely up from last year and the year prior,” said Hennessey.

For Hennessey, all 13 days at the fair consist of golf cart rides, frantic phone calls, and greeting guests.

His day is definitely packed, bordering on hectic. That being said, Sean says his previous work as part of the state DOT has prepared him to manage all 375 acres of the fair

“It is a bit chaotic, but I thrive in that environment. I really enjoy that environment,” he said.

Things can happen on the fly. While touring the dairy products building, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D. - NY) paid a visit. He gave her an up-close look at the fair’s iconic butter sculpture.

After grabbing an ice cream with the senator, Hennessey showed off some new attractions, like a garden hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The garden houses samples of every cash crop grown throughout New York state. Hennessey says it aims to spark conversation between farmers and non-farmers.

“Those two communities can come together and talk. That dialog can be very helpful and can build bonds,” he said.

Inside the Expo Center, guests were transported to prehistoric times as part of a sprawling dinosaur exhibit. Hennessey says it aims to be educational, affordable family fun.

“This is Governor Hochul’s way of giving back to the community and saying, those folks in the inner city that can’t afford this, we’re going to make it free.”

The fair will run through Monday.