Geddes, N.Y. — In the six years since Mike Sharlow launched Syracha’cuse, a line of local hot sauces, he’s pitched his products at lots of festivals, shows and events, including a few held at the New York State Fairgrounds.
But until this year, he’s never had a stand during the run of the State Fair itself.
“I’m excited to be at the fair because it’s a great opportunity to get some exposure,” he said. “If you have one person that discovers you today who didn’t know you yesterday, that’s a win.”
Syracha’cuse will be one of at least 15 food vendors making their State Fair debut this year. At the request of syracuse.com, State Fair officials have released a preliminary list showing a little more than 100 food vendors signed up for this year (see below), with more contracts still being negotiated. The fair runs Aug. 24 to Sept. 5.
Last summer, a large number of regular vendors backed out of the fair, citing lingering Covid issues and difficulty in finding workers, plus the one-year experiment that increased the run from 13 days to 18 days. In all, 65 traditional fair vendors, including 21 food stands, declined to participate in the 2021 fair.
That represented a drop of about 10% from a typical, pre-pandemic fair.
With a return to a 13-day schedule and more relaxed Covid protocols, fair officials see an opportunity for a rebound in the number of vendors.
Sean Hennessey, recently named interim director of the 2022 State Fair, points to the list of first-time new vendors as a positive sign.
“Fifteen new vendors is a higher number than we usually see,” he said, noting the fair typically has had five or six first-time food stands each year. Plus, he said, the list of first-timers represents a lot of diverse cuisines.
“It’s a variety pack of new foods,” Hennessey said.
New vendors include stands with names like Balkan Street Food of Utica, Brazilian Bowls of Keystone Heights, Fla. and Tropical Delights of Durham, N.C. Others are already established Central New York businesses, such as Bold Coast Lobster Co. (a food truck based in Oswego County), Munjed’s Middle Eastern Café of Westcott Street in Syracuse and Theos Petros, a Greek cuisine food truck from Wayne County.
For Sharlow at new fair vendor Syracha’cuse, the 2022 fair comes at a good time. His stand in the Horticulture Building will be a hot sauce bar, where visitors can try samples of the various products with tortilla chips.
He said he’s been fortunate to have a crew of employees working with him this summer, and some are college students who won’t leave until the fair is over. And the exposure from his stand in the Horticulture Building will allow him to promote the relocation of his shop from its former home Camillus to 60 Oswego St. in Baldwinsville. It should open Sept 10, after the fair ends.
“Lots of people come to the fair,” he said. “We hope to meet as many of them as we can.”
More vendor news
Here’s more to know about the vendor situation for the 2022 fair:
» So far, Hennessey said, the fair is seeing about a 90% renewal rate for past vendors, about the same as in most years.
But there are some notable absences. The Gianelli Sausage / Dinosaur Bar-B-Que stand, a longtime favorite at the edge of Chevy Court, is skipping this year’s fair, as it also did last year, citing the need to concentrate on its core businesses.
And some of the longtime fair vendors who dropped out last year are gone. Both Baker’s Chicken Coop and Haddock’s Paddock had their stands on Restaurant Row torn down before last year’s fair.
» Other dropouts from 2021 are back, notably Tully’s Good Times (and its chicken tenders), which now has a new “permanent” home on the fairgrounds. Also back are Carr’s Cove and Doug’s Fish Fry, two stands that are returning this year to the Horticulture Building after opting out outlast year. Thousand Islands Winery from Alexandria Bay is also back after skipping last year.
» The fair continues a push to expand food stands and other vendors to the west of the fairgrounds, out past the Expo Center and toward the Latino and Indian villages and the Chevy Park concert space. That’s been happening each year since the old Grandstand and race track were demolished.
“We’re still doing that at a slow and steady pace,” Hennessey said. “But we are absolutely refocusing on the western end of the fairgrounds.”
» Meanwhile, one of last year’s changes is being reversed. Wine slushie stands are returning to the Colonnade (adjacent to the Dairy Products Building), after all were distributed out toward the Midway last year.
“We know eating and drinking are important parts of the State Fair experience,” Hennessey said. “We have more cultural food and all things deep-fried. No one should leave the State Fair hungry.”
2022 food vendors
Here’s the list confirmed 2022 New York State Fair food vendors, as of last week. Some of these vendors have multiple stands and locations, and fair officials are still finalizing some contracts. An asterisk (*) indicates a first-time vendors for 2022.:
Omanni’s Lemonade Heaven, Spartanburg, SC
Syracuse Suds Factory, Syracuse, NY
Alivero’s, Camillus, NY
* Caramel Apple Sundae, Dade City, FL
Bavarian Roasted Nuts, Milford, PA
Sweeties Bloomers / Fiesta Italiana, Depew, NY
Beak & Skiff, Lafayette, NY
Perry’s Ice Cream, Marcellus, NY
*Bold Coast Lobster Co., Phoenix, NY
Bosco’s at the Fair, Solvay, NY
* Brazilian Bowls, Keystone Heights, FL
Doug’s Fish Fry, Cortland, NY
Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream, Elma, NY
Sundaze The Hard Soft Serve, New Hartford, CT
Jimmy B’s / Charlie’s / Tommy C’s, Syracuse, NY
Chester’s Gators & Taters, Raleigh, NC
Pickle Barrel Sirloin Tips / Elephant Ears, North Liberty, IN
Sterling Creek General Store, Pulaski, NY
Kiki’s Authentic Greek Food, Camillus, NY
Coyote Moon Vineyards, Clayton, NY
Papa’s Pizza / Pig & Pota, Jamesville, NY
Skippy’s Ice Cream, Liverpool, NY
The Baked Potato Express, Liverpool, NY
Dean’s Soft Serve Ice Cream, Taberg, NY
Decapio Family Concessions, Marcellus, NY
Basilio’s, Canastota, NY
Elm Street Tacos, Lafargeville, NY
Coco Bongos of New York, Perry, NY
Garlic Festival Foods, Redding, CA
West End, Fayetteville, NY
YE-Ero, Woodside, NY
The Bacon Bomb – Hammi’s BBQ, Central Square, NY
Fried Specialties, Springhill, FL
Henry’s Hen House, Syracuse, NY
Horan’s at the Great New York State Fair, Liverpool, NY
Ashley Lynn Winery, Mexico, NY
* Cinder BBQ , Little Elm, TX
Jim’s Fries, Colden, NY
* 30 Second Salsa, Puyallup, WA
*Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ, Greensboro, NC
JJ’s, Syracuse, NY
Tikki Turtle, Syracuse, NY
Nancy’s Fried Dough, Rochester, NY
King David’s, Jamesville, NY
* My Fav Candy Store, Lucas, OH
Kitchen Maid Candy, Churchville, NY
Colossal Onion / The Tot Spot / Lemonade, Tampa, FL
Candy Country Warehouse, Johnston, RI
Wilson Enterprises, Brant, NY
Babcia’s Pierogi, Lancaster, NY
Shamrock at the Fair, Fabius, NY
Carr’s Cove, Syracuse, NY
Polar Bear Homemade Ice Cream, Unadilla, NY
The State Fair Deli, Syracuse, NY
Montezuma Winery, Seneca Falls, NY
House of Beers, Liverpool, NY
Merritt Winery / Wine Slush, Forestville, NY
* Munjed’s Middle Eastern, Syracuse, NY
* Syrach’Cuse Hot Sauce Tasting Bar, Camillus, NY
Moose Joose Slush, Mooresville, NC
Daniella’s Steakhouse, Syracuse, NY
Barb’s Sugar Waffles / Awesome Onion, North Tonawanda, NY
Dang’s Café, Syracuse, NY
Stephen’s Greek Cuisine, Liverpool, NY
Otter Creek Winery, Philadelphia, NY
Paradise Companies of NY, Syracuse, NY
Pat’s Fresh Popped Kettle Corn, Hamburg, NY
Sweet & Sour USA, Palatine, IL
Russell’s Concessions, Daingerfield, TX
Jack’s Fries / Tootsie’s Fried Dough, Ware, MA
Bubble Tea, Knightdale, NC
Poparazzi Kettle Corn, Lindenhurst, NY
Express Café, Marston Mills, MA
Poutine Gourmet, Plantsville, CT
P-Z-O’s, East Syracuse, NY
Country Corner, Liverpool, NY
Las Delicias, Syracuse, NY
Sarita’s Food, Rome, NY
Santillo’s, Naples, NY
Fresh Mex Mexican Grill / Deli, Syracuse, NY
ICEE / Candy Castle, Beech Creek, PA
Scotty’s Hot Dogs, Rome, NY
* The Shaved Ice Factory, Liverpool, NY
Byrne Dairy, Weedsport, NY
Stix & Things / Sweets & Things, Liverpool, NY
NY State Brew Pub & Distillery and Others, Jamesville, NY
Peachey’s Baking Company, Sarasota, FL
The Bake Lab, Syracuse, NY
*Theos Petros Food Truck, Newark, NY
Thousand Islands Winery, Alexandria Bay, NY
Three Brothers Winery Wine Slushies, Geneva, NY
Toss ‘n’ Fire Wood-Fired Pizza, North Syracuse, NY
* Tropical Delights, Durham, NC
* True Honey Teas, Lorton, VA
Tully’s Good Times, East Syracuse, NY
Twin Trees Pizza, Brewerton, NY
*Balkan Street Food, Utica, NY
Big Kahuna’s, Rhinebeck, NY
It’s a Utica Thing, New Hartford, NY
Butcher Boys, New Port Richey, FL
Ma & Pa’s Kettle Corn, Liverpool, NY
Wild Bill’s Curly Fries, Dunnellon, FL
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