Stepping Out

Action along the Midway

The Empire State Fair settles in at Nassau Coliseum


Fair season has arrived — just as the warmer weather lifts our spirits. The Empire State Fair, which made its debut last summer, is back to kick things off.

Circus-type spectacle, including animal acts, plenty of thrill rides for all ages, and midway action are all a part of the extravaganza, which runs for 10 days, opening tomorrow.

For those who are still enticed by circus acts, Hansen’s Spectacular Acrobatic Thrill Show is ready to dazzle fairgoers. It’s a family affair for Shane Hansen, his wife Alecia and their three daughters, 14-year-old Olivia, 12-year-old Madison and 8-year-old Ella. They entertain everyone with their fast-paced act that includes high speed juggling, extreme hula hoops, Olympic trampoline stunts, and aerial acrobatics over 30 feet in the air.

And then there is that fair favorite — Swifty Swine’s Racing Pigs, which delighted visitors to last summer’s event. A mainstay of the fair circuit, all the way from the “great state of Texas,” those pigs and their handlers will have fairgoers going “hog wild.” Watch this group of potbellied speedsters sprint, oink and jostle their way around the track at “Pork Chop International Speedway” and cheer on your favored porker to win. Everyone has plenty of chances to see these hogs gone wild, since they do five races per day.

More animal antics can be found at the Commerford Petting Zoo, where kids can get up close and personal with a variety of exotic animals from across the globe — a favorite spot to take selfies. Kids can meet and greet the animals and even go for a pony ride.

The entertainment lineup also includes the Sea Lion Splash, a unique education show with a “splash.” Both California and South American sea lions cavort around performing handstands, and show off their tricks as they balance balls and shoot hoops.

Or take in the watery antics of the Arctic Olympic Games High Dive Show. “It’s really quite spectacular,” says Empire State Fair Managing Director Michele Tartaglione. “You’ll see high divers doing daredevil routines in a pool, diving off different boards of varied heights, including one that’s 80 feet high.” These daredevil divers perform Olympic-style dives and high dives with some comic flair.

Another attraction, the Batcopter, is sure to draw attention. For all those Batman fans in attendance, one of most famous helicopters of all time — N3079G, otherwise known as the Batcopter from the ‘60s Batman TV series and the original Batman movie makes an appearance. Visitors can make their way up in the air on a sightseeing ride and check out the scene below.

And, of course, there are the rides. The carnival midway features over 100 rides and attractions, including a large Kiddieland for younger visitors. From the thrilling roller coaster and the Cliffhanger to Dodge ‘Em bumper cars, slides, and the large Ferris Wheel, there are enough rides to keep all ages having fun. “Whether you like new thrills or old fashioned simple fun, such as the Tilt-a-Wheel, you’ll find it all here,” says Tartaglione. Once you have had your fill of the rides, check out the Midway and try your luck at one of the classical carnival games.

The fair offers plenty of fun to keep everyone amused for hours. “There’s plenty going on that will keep all ages entertained,” says Tartaglione. “Wholesome family fun is tremendously important to us. “We’re a family business and we are thrilled to have branched out from New Jersey to Long Island. Our goal is to provide quality, affordable family fun. That’s what we specialize in.”

Stop on by and see for yourself.

Empire State Fair

When: May 11-20. Gate admission is $12; Unlimited Ride Pass is $27. Visit for more information, discounts and promotions; including Family Value opening night special pricing.

Where: Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale.