People were stepping right up in Syracuse during the late summer of 1958.
They wanted to see big cows, big cheese and big rockets. They wanted to taste farm-fresh vegetables, hot dogs and hamburgers. They wanted to watch autos, horses and dog sleds reach top speeds.
The New York State Fair was under way for the 112th time. Folks who planned the big party for the middle of upstate New York knew they could always count on company. A total of 502,639 had attended the 1957 fair, kids and adults who walked the midway and browsed bins for apples, potatoes and cookies.
Some people wanted blue ribbons. Young people brought prize animals, flowers, giant pumpkins and evergreen trees and hoped their efforts would be rewarded.
“There are huge displays of baked goods, canned goods and fruits of all description,” the Schenectady Gazette reported.
“The manufacture of cheese is demonstrated in the dairy building, where two 350-pound cheeses are on display. According to fair officials, there won’t be any shortage of good cooks among tomorrow’s homemakers if the 4-H girls, 1958 style, are any indication. Nearly 1,000 of them are exhibiting their baked and canned goods and walking off with blue ribbons by the score.”
A new feature of the 1958 fair was a “Senior City,” which helped promote the theme “The Years Ahead — A Salute to Our Senior Citizens.” Eleven departments, part of Gov. W. Averell Harriman’s Committee on the Aging, were represented in the “city.”
Younger people flocked to the midway. Thirty-eight rides, including five Ferris wheels, rocked and rolled adventurous ones day and night. Fifty years later, the attractions remain the same. The crowds are bigger — last year, 936,399 people visited for eats and excitement — but the fair is still an old-fashioned salute to fun.