Inside Look: Accessibility in the NY State Fair

by Crystal R. Mendoza Paulin

As a Texan, I am no stranger to large and crowded State Fairs. However, in spite of living nearly 6 years in upstate New York, I never had the time or opportunity to make it down to the NY State Fair. So when a good friend of mine (and Syracuse native) offered to show me around, I immediately said yes! 

While many things impressed (and confused) me— like the frankly alarming large  percentage of livestock present— nothing impressed me more than the services New York State provided for individuals with disabilities. From wheelchair and scooter rentals to interpreters for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, it seemed as though Fair planners had thought of everything. 

As I walked through the streams of people, I frequently saw all kinds of people in wheelchairs and scooters navigating about the fairgrounds. Signs indicating wheelchair ramps and exits adorned most entrances and walkways typically seemed wide enough for a chair to navigate through. (As easily as can be expected with such large crowds.)

All in all, I was excited to see such brilliant efforts towards accessibility. Of course, it's hard for me as an able-bodied person to judge the effectiveness of said efforts. Perhaps next year, if I have the chance, I'll attend the Fair in a chair and judge it for myself.

The New York State Fair runs until September 4. For more information on their accessibility services, click here.