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State Fair's Annual 'Star Spangled Challenge' Underway
New York Ag Connection - 06/21/2019

If you love your country and love to perform, the Great New York State Fair is looking for you. The annual Star Spangled Challenge is underway through July 4. To compete, people upload a short video of themselves singing or playing "The Star Spangled Banner" to the Fair's contest site on its Facebook page. Thirteen winners will be chosen to sing the National Anthem live on the Chevy Court stage each day during the Fair at approximately 9:55 a.m. to open the day's activities.

"This unique competition starts our day in the best way possible," said Troy Waffner, fair director. "It's always special to hear a New Yorker sing or play our great anthem and it reminds us of what is great about our country."

Approximately 400 people and groups of all ages and from all corners of the state have entered the competition since it began in 2015. Winners have included many solo singers, but also duos, groups and entire choruses have performed. Some winners have performed the anthem as an instrumental on a keyboard or guitar.

To enter, contestants create a video of themselves singing or playing the entire first verse of "The Star Spangled Banner." Performances can be solo or as part of a group and can be vocal or instrumental. They then upload the video to the contest entry form on the Fair's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nysfair/app/350174571764134/. People without the ability to upload to Facebook may send videos to statefairideas@agriculture.ny.gov along with their full name, address and daytime phone number. Winners and finalists from prior years may not enter again.

Contest entries close at 11:59 p.m. July 4. A panel of judges will then choose finalists. Beginning July 11, the Fair's Facebook fans will vote for their favorites from among the finalists. Voting ends Aug. 1. The 13 entrants with the most votes will be the winners. They receive free admission and parking passes and will be contacted by the Fair to set their performance date. Winners performing Aug. 22-25 will also be asked to sing the Canadian national anthem for the Fair's Canadian Friendship Days. Performers may also be asked to sing at certain special events.

Founded in 1841, the Great New York State Fair is America's third largest state fair. The Fair showcases the best of New York agriculture, provides top-quality entertainment and is a key piece of Governor Cuomo's CNY Rising strategy of growing the Central New York economy through tourism. Fair attendance is up more than 40% since the beginning of more than $120 million in investments, with 1.27 million people attending the Fair in 2018. The 2019 Fair runs from Aug. 21 to Sept. 2.

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