Watch the NYS Fair grandstand implode, crumble in mere seconds

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GEDDES, NEW YORK – In less than 30 seconds, the 38-year-old grandstand concert venue at the New York State Fairgrounds imploded into a massive pile of rubble and dust.

The push of a ceremonial plunger ignited 268 explosives at 260 different locations on the grandstand, sending more than 5 million pounds of steel and concrete crashing to the ground.

Controlled Demolition, Inc. of Phoenix, Maryland carried out the implosion about 10 minutes after the scheduled time of 1:20 p.m. The structure’s steel skeleton crumpled in on itself, making a safe, working level for total wrecking.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney attended the event and pushed the plunger together, along with a small group of friends.

“That was serious!” Cuomo exclaimed, after watching the implosion.

The sun peeked out for a moment as Cuomo and Mahoney gathered around the plunger. Ten minutes after the implosion, it started to rain.

“We really appreciate what the state is doing to make investments so this can be more of a year-round attraction for people,” said Mahoney on Friday. “I think we’ve seen it is a great facility but it can be even bigger and better.”

Controlled Demolition, Inc. with police, fire departments and the CSX Railroad Company to make sure no people or trains would be within 1,000 feet of the implosion.

An Amtrak train whizzed past the grandstand at 12:53 p.m.

Thom Doud, project manager for Controlled Demolition, Inc., said on Friday the implosion would be lower than 140 decibels, about as loud as the montage of a fireworks show. For comparison, a motorcycle hits about 100 dB and loud rock concert reaches about 115 dB.

Twitter lit up with CNY locals in Fayetteville, North Syracuse and Baldwinsville saying they heard the booms.

About 500 people watched the implosion from the Brown Lot at the NYS Fairgrounds, across State Fair Boulevard.
“It’s right to involve the public and have them be part of this,” said Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball on Friday. “We all have memories here and we’ll have new memories here. This is our fairgrounds.”

Before the implosion, Cuomo announced he wanted to spend $200 million revitalizing Upstate New York’s airports.

Cuomo went on to say the state fair is a great institution, but parts of it were “not competitive anymore.”

“The truth is it needs advancement,” said Cuomo. “It has not had the kind of investment it should have had over the years.”

He said the grandstand brings a great sense of nostalgia, but the state would have had to invest a lot of money to make it safe and competitive to bring big acts to Syracuse. He said he viewed the new, “state of the art” as a big step forward for the New York State Fairgrounds.