Another NYS Fair has come and gone. The 2021 State Fair, held in Syracuse, NY, is a familiar stop for families, both near and far before school starts after Labor Day. The State Fair typically averages 85,000 people in attendance each day, and although this year attendance was lower, the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the West end of the fairgrounds, hosted by the NY Animal Agriculture Coalition, still made life-long impacts on those who attended.
This year, numerous visitors to the Birthing Center attended virtually which was an option we continued to provide for people watching from afar. Our average viewer watched our live stream for almost twenty minutes each time they logged in. That is about the time it took for a calf to be born after we sent out a notification through our text messaging service that reached over 7,000 people.
NYAAC is very active on social media all 12 months of the year, but August and September are special in that we were able to share 37 udder miracles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with more than 23,000 followers! During the 18-day Fair, our social media platforms, @nyanimalag, shared highlights from our exhibit, some of our rockstar volunteers, and of course highlighted our amazing sponsors. Through our social media, NYAAC organically reached over 1.7 million people from all over the world. In fact, more than a quarter of our valued followers that tuned in were not New Yorkers! Additionally, this year's followers and visitors were mostly veterans of the Birthing Center which means they have watched or visited in the past. We loved to see some familiar faces and talk to those who have been long-time supporters, returning year after year for more miracles of life and to learn more about farming, cattle, and dairy products. We truly enjoyed meeting many new faces this year, too, and hope to see everyone again in the future.
Our followers, veterans, and first-timers, continue to be the reason we are able to live out our mission of helping others understand and appreciate animal agriculture. This year we asked all of you what your thoughts were on the Birthing Center and, even after eight years, , you continue to be honest with your feedback and truthful in your comments. For that, we thank you. Here are what some people are saying about their visit.
Comments from our virtual and/or in-person visitors:
> "It was my first time in the birthing center tent, and I loved seeing and learning about the baby calves. They are so cute and funny to watch. I learned so much – cows eat chocolate!
> "Thank you for allowing us into your world year after year."
> "Thank you to all the host families and the birthing center to bring this to so many people around the States! Some of us cannot physically or mentally be there, as much as we'd love it. Thank you so much. Technology has advanced so rapidly since the first year you started streaming things and I cannot wait for what might come next."
> "I learned today why cows and their babies are separated and I am glad that farmers care so much for their animals. It was very cool talking with a real farmer who happens to live in my county."
> "This is the absolute best display at the fair!!! You guys do an amazing job."
> "First time for me. I watched it the whole time from the UK. It was a fantastic experience. See you all again next year."
> "I talked with a vet today and learned so much about cow twins – Sophia and Deano are very cute!"
> "The wall was so fun! I read each of the questions and learned a lot. My kids also loved visiting and seeing how big real cows are and even got to pet a calf! Thank you!"
> "This exhibit is so needed. So many people have no idea what farmers do or how their food is produced. I grew up going to my grandparent's farm, but I still learned so much listening to the people on the mic. Thank you for the Facebook live milking demonstration!"
A note from Hannah:
I celebrated my 1st anniversary as the NYAAC's Communication Manager on September 1st making this my first year hosting the Dairy Cow Birthing Center at the Great NYS Fair.
My expectations were high for this event because of all the testimonies I'd gathered from our board members, past volunteers, and past visitors. This event surpassed all my expectations. Even knowing that this year was not a typical year for attendance, I quickly realized that the quality of conversations was not hindered in the least. I was able to have in-depth discussions with multiple people from all walks of life about an industry that I believe in and want to see prosper.
After twenty + days in Syracuse, I was tired and was eager for some quality family time,but, wow, what an amazing experience. Truly, I was re-inspired to continue to work with both the farming and non-farming communities across NY. I want to say thank you to the followers on social media, in-person visitors, volunteers, NYAAC board members, and my awesome co-worker, Eileen, for making my first year one to beat! I look forward to this event in 2022!