Crews work to clear tornado damage at fairgrounds ahead of Erie County Fair

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — “Basically setting the clock back to the beginning of May for us so we’re going to compress two months of work into 19 days,” said Marty Biniasz, Erie County Agricultural Society Marketing Manager.

Crews worked to clear destroyed picnic tables and downed trees from the Fairgrounds following Thursday night’s tornado that touched down in Hamburg.

“These picnic tables and these kiosks are usually along our 42nd Street area. The wind picked them up, moved them and pushed them into this building. When I look at these structures I’m not just looking at picnic tables I’m looking at the hundreds and hundreds of hours of man power that our carpenters put to put all this stuff together,” said Biniasz.

The tornado ripped through, shattering dozens of car windows, blowing tree branches and even a park bench onto a building.

“We’ll be using some backpack blowers blowing all the tree limbs out blowing any garbage out anything that was made a mess of. Working for the next 8 or 10 hours straight, 3 trucks running, about 3 days,” said Tony Zeniuk, Suburban Property Maintenance.

“So the path that the tornado took through our fairgrounds basically went right over and right past our grandstand. So our east grandstand had some roofing work being done at the time, basically day 4 into roofing work. That’s all been torn away,” said Biniasz.

Insurance adjusters are on site surveying the damage and estimating the total cost. Biniasz says the fair does not receive any direct government funding from Erie County.

“We do not know how that’s going to shake out. Our goal now is to do what we need to do to stabilize the grounds, clean it up and make it ready for the fair. We’ll worry about how that funding is going to come into place after,” said Biniasz.

The Hamburg Gaming casino was evacuated yesterday, and it reopened again this morning.

Even though the mess caused by the tornado has thrown a wrench in things on the fairgrounds, officials are confident they’ll have everything cleared out and ready for the opening day of the Erie County Fair in just 19 days. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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