Saugerties-based horse-show company gets contract to stage events at state fair

HITS president Tom Struzzieri (file photo by Dion Ogust)

Opening a significant new aspect to its business, HITS Inc., which runs the local horse shows, is now in charge of arranging events for the new Exposition Center at the New York State Fair up in Syracuse.

On June 25, HITS announced that it had been awarded a five-year contract by the state after its request for proposals was deemed the best submitted.

The partially built Exposition Center will be under HITS’ jurisdiction starting next month. At 136,000 square feet, the site will be the largest of its kind north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland. HITS owner Tom Struzzieri said in a statement that, after expanding from headquarters in Saugerties to five other horse show locations throughout the country in the last four decades, this contract is just a matter of natural progression.

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“We are proud to have been chosen to market the stunning new Expo Center as well as the other Fairgrounds buildings for the state of New York,” said Struzzieri. “We are excited to get started on this important undertaking.”

HITS needs to meet some conditions to keep this contract: to book 12 new multi-day events that have never used the Fairgrounds facilities before 2020, or a total of 20 days of events, with at least three using other onsite buildings and five in buildings other than the Expo Center. Seventy-five percent of groups that use the properties need to come back again for a second show between 2021 and 2023, while booking at least seven new events in the Expo Center, at least five of which must use other buildings, and five new events in other Fairgrounds buildings.

“Not only are we the booking agent for the Expo Center, but also for every building on the fairground,” said HITS press contact Courtney Livecchi.

Livecchi says that HITS itself will put on the HITS Indoor Championship during its first year, a show event directed at junior and amateur riders. Also scheduled are the “Empire Alpaca Showtacular,” a display of the best alpacas in the Northeast, a drone racing event, two World Series Team Roping events and an RV rally. Pre-existing Fairground events, including the New York Farm Show and a dog show, will also move into the new larger space.

In addition, five existing Fairgrounds shows, including the New York Sportsman’s Expo, The Boat Show, The New York Farm Show, an RV show and a dog show, will move to the Expo Center, allowing them to expand.

The Exposition Center’s erection is part of Cuomo’s plan to renovate the buildings at the site, which has been home to the state fair since 1890. Other renovations include the repair of the grounds’ largest parking lot, the replacement of the main gate and the demolition of an underused race track to make room for a full-service RV park.

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