Troy Waffner always made a good impression on those of us in the media. And stories abound about the great impressions he made on others along the way. He grew up in Cazenovia, attended SUNY Morrisville, and has the Great New York State Fair coursing through his veins. And now, this Central New York good guy is the official head honcho.

Following a record-setting 2018 event, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the appointment of Waffner as the Director of the New York State Fair, effective immediately. Waffner, who met his wife at the Fair years ago, had served as Acting Director for the past five years.

The governor lauded Waffner's efforts at improving the Fair's annual operations, including making the fairgrounds into a more profitable year-round business.

2018 attendance figures set an all-time mark of 1,279,010, and eight of 13 days produced new daily attendance records.

This year's Fair was not, however, devoid of controversy, as one rap show drew huge and unruly crowds, and spawned multiple fights, stabbings, hospitalizations and arrests. And the new Orange parking lot also faced criticism over its faulty design.

On the plus side, three years of improvements include a new main gate, a larger midway with heavy-duty pavement, and, in 2018, the new Exposition Center, the largest clear-span space north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland.

Another positive change was the creation of special discount admissions on days where attendance had been soft. This year, all four of those days set single-day admission records. During Waffner's tenure, the Fair has also added more seating, shade, bathrooms and child care facilities.

Waffner said "I am honored to continue my service to this great organization and its talented people and thank Governor Cuomo for his faith in me and our team."

Do you like the improvements to the Fair? Is it better than ever?

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