NY State Fair: What’s New and Different in Indian Village

What’s new? What is different? After last year’s New York State Fair was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the fair is back for 18 days. We sent our reporters through the Geddes Exhibition Center to tell you what to expect when you visit.

This year, the newly expanded turtle-shaped stage in the Indian village will feature two Native American dance performances per day instead of the traditional three. The village canceled the 11 a.m. show because the fair’s doors would not open until this year, village superintendent Norm Jenison said. The turtle-shaped stage will still have shows at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., but will likely be much smaller than in previous years. Jenison said previous shows featured up to 19 dancers, but he will start this fair with just eight per show.

Fewer Native Americans from other areas of the state are coming to the fair this year because dormitories are closed due to Covid-19 restrictions, said Alicia Pachla, Cayuga Nation vice president.

“You can’t have so many people from different nations living together,” Pachla said.

Much of the village is outdoors, so few festival-goers wear masks. Masks are mandatory in the kitchen, which continues to have seating inside.

Christina A. Kroll

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