Festival will take place Friday, Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 6: It’s a touch of summer in the middle of winter
By Mary Beth Roach
Right in the middle of February, when residents are tired of snow and cold, comes a blast of a Central New York summer.
The Nave Law Winter Fair, held at the Expo Center on the New York State Fairgrounds, is filled with many of the sights, the tastes, the sounds and the smells synonymous of the summertime tradition, the great New York State Fair.
“You see the smiles on the kids; that’s really what it’s all about,” according to Steve Becker, whose company, Premier Promotions, is staging the event.
In its first year in 2019, the Nave Law Winter Fair drew 25,000. The following year, despite inclement winter weather, it attracted 15,000, according to Becker. The Nave Law Winter Fair had to be canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19.
The Nave Law Winter Fair will run from Friday, Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 6. The Expo Center will be packed with rides, games, live entertainment, a basketball area and food.
Capping off Friday and Saturday evenings, Feb. 4 and Feb. 5, will be fireworks, courtesy of Onondaga County.
A mini-midway will feature more than a dozen rides, including a Ferris wheel, giant slide, merry-go-round, roller coaster, the pirate ride, the Avengers ride and flying swings.
There will also be carnival games, as well as a basketball area, where fairgoers can test their skills by tossing free-throws and win prizes, depending on how many they sink. It’s a $5 donation and monies will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Syracuse through the Jim & Juli Boeheim Foundation.
“I wanted to really do this as a community event,” Becker said, and that is reflected in the selection of food vendors and the majority of entertainment groups.
Many summer fair food concessionaires will be on hand. Vendors include the Villa Pizze Fritte, State Fair Sausage Sub, Limp Lizard BBQ, Baked Potato Express, Kiki’s Greek Cuisine, Bosco’s Prime Rib, Eva’s Perogies, Sarita’s Spanish selections, Oompa Loompyas, Creole Soul, Razzle Dazzle Ices and Vegan Food, pizza and Glazed & Confused Donuts.
The entertainment lineup is an eclectic and diverse mix, highlighting some of the best groups in the area. On stage on Friday will be Dunes & the Del Tunes; Vietnamese entertainment; and the classic rock bands, Barndogs with Miss E; and Hard Promises, followed by the fireworks finale at 9:30 p.m.
Saturday’s entertainment includes some cultural groups, along with music by some of the area’s favorite groups. On tap that day are youth jazz; bagpipes; Irish dancers; martial arts demonstrations; Sydney Irving, the 18-year-old singer, songwriter, guitarist and recipient of three SAMMY awards; Hilby, a juggler who has amazed crowds at the summer fair for years; The Launch PAD, with Edgar Pagan, Bill Ali and Joe Driscoll; Native American dancers; Custom Taylor Band, Latin dancing and the popular dance and party band Atlas, again capped off by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Sunday’s schedule includes a favorite local jazz singer Ronnie Leigh, a fashion show, Gospel Sunday, Hilby, and the R&B/soul group The BlackLites.
And for those who want to shed their winter coats for the time they’re enjoying the fair, the NAACP will be staffing the coat check, receiving half of the proceeds.
The Nave Law Winter Fair will run from 2 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 4; from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 5; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 6.
For updated information and advance admission tickets, visit www.nyswinterfair.com
Adults are $5 (plus 50-cent service charge and credit card charge). Seniors, aged 65 and older, and teens are $3 (plus 50-cent service and credit card charge). The food and mini-midway rides and games are extra charges, but the entertainment is free to enjoy.
At the box office on the days of the Nave Law Winter Fair, tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and teens. Senior Day is Friday, with $1 off. Cash only at the box office. Kids 10 and younger are admitted free. Parking is free.