Geddes (WSYR-TV) - 25 years ago, New York State took a major step toward making sure that everyone could enjoy the Fair, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Sign language interpreters are now commonplace at the Fair, with almost 40 people available daily both on-call and at all types of events.
According to interpreter Jim Skvorak, the Fair tries to provide for a variety of needs.
“Some are more kid oriented, some for adults,” Skvorak said. “So we have a real great variety here, the Fair does a good job.”
Interpreters are on hand at the Fair for every Chevy Court act. Skvorak has been interpreting at the Fair since the program began. He’s used to taking to the stage next to the performers.
“It sure helps to know the music and if you’re more familiar with music - particularly Chevy Court – a lot of the groups are some of the oldies so a lot of the interpreters kind of grew up with the music. Some of the new interpreters are better at the new music – Disney and stuff like that,” Skvorak said.
Skvorak uses a voice feed from each vocalist in order to hear the words and tries to coordinate his singing to the beat of the music.
Sometimes the interpreters sign word-for-word, while other times they give the narrative of the song’s story to better express the feeling of the music. Anywhere they are, their goal is to make sure everyone is able to share the same great New York State Fair experience.
A schedule of events that include sign-language interpreters is available at the guest relations table at Gate 1.