For decades, Haddocks Paddock has served fried fish to New York State fairgoers on Restaurant Row. But after a tough year, owner Bob Jones is calling it quits.

“Going to 18 days and my age don’t mix," said Jones. "I just can't see going 18 days over there. My partner passed away, unfortunately. Just the food costs, trying to get help, everything. I just didn’t want to deal with that at this time in my life."

Most years, getting ready for the fair is a doable and familiar process, but this year is unlike any other. Food vendors are already facing a rough start.

What You Need To Know

  • Three staple food vendors are dropping out of the NYS Fair

  • Staff shortages, additional days and COVID-related difficulties are why Gianelli Sausage, Bakers Chicken Coop and Haddocks Paddock are calling it quits

  • The fair will run from August 20 to September 6

“Usually, when I got to the fair, I have plenty of help here,” said Twin Trees Owner Jeff Rescignano. “A couple guys will pick up shifts here and we’ll work it out. Right now, I don’t have the extra guys here to be able to go over there. That’s putting me in a pinch there.”

Trees has about 60 employees that work at the fair each year. In addition to finding more staff, they’ll have five more days of work to do.

“It’s already a stretch to get out of here for two weekends that I do, you would think that with the fair going on, business would be slower here. It never is," said Rescignano. "You always think it’s going to be, but we always pretty much do what we normally do, even with the fair going on."

It’s why Gianelli Sausage and Bakers Chicken Coop have also decided to leave the fair. Losing vendors also means those staying will be taking on more customers.

“It is what it is," said Jones. "I had a great run. The fair people were always fantastic with me, always give me everything I needed. I wish everyone the best, and I’d like to thank the customers we’ve had that come through. I made a lot of friends and made a lot of money."