Learn more about the event at: NYSWinterfair.com
Computer Generated Text Transcript:
Matt Masur: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to the Growth Mode Conversations Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Masur, the founder of Growth Mode Technologies, your local IT department. And in a few minutes, you’re about to hear me interview a very interesting member of the community. Could be a business owner, could be an influencer, could be some guy off the street.
You’re going to have to stick around to find out, but first let’s talk a little bit about our company, Growth Mode Technologies, your local IT department. We’re a business to business technology services company that exists to make local businesses better using technology. We’re not your traditional break, fix, only show up when something’s wrong type of IT services company.
We are a true technology partner that’s dedicated to making your business better because we understand that our business only grows when yours does. If you’re interested in learning about how to make yourself better and potentially even save some money in the process. Visit our website at localitdepartment.com. And now, without further ado, let’s jump into the interview.
Hey folks, welcome [00:01:00] to the growth mode conversations podcast. This is an exciting one. We’re going to learn about a really interesting gentleman and a really awesome event that he puts on and we just happened to be a part of it.
What we do on this show, what I do, is generally I like to ask the guests to introduce themselves. So if you wouldn’t mind, tell us who you are
Steve Becker: and, what do you do? I’m Steve Becker. My company is Premier Promotions.
Background wise, born in Brooklyn, raised in Miami. My dad was a structural iron worker, a welder. He worked on the Farazano Bridge, World Trade Center. Wow! building down in Florida, Cocoa Beach, so I grew up between the two cities between New York City during the summer and during the winters going to school down in Florida, Miami.
It doesn’t sound like the worst. No. And when I went into radio, which I spent over 20 years, it started at college radio stations. And I worked at [00:02:00] a few of them, Brooklyn College, for the most part, and made some great connections and people in New York City. That is the hub for the record industry, radio industry, and such.
And had my first commercial radio on air. Down in Beaufort, South Carolina, where the Big Chill was filmed. Wow. But that’s going back to 1975. I worked in Binghamton, then went to Washington, D. C., then came up to Syracuse in 1979. I was on 95X and Kix FM, known as Stereo Steve. Wow. Yeah.
Matt Masur: What was the format back then?
Rock and roll.
Steve Becker: Okay. Rock and roll. And then from there, I went down to Ocean City, Maryland to put on a radio station. Then from there I went to Eugene, Oregon doing a rock and roll station programming. Came back and programmed PIX 106 in Albany. Okay. And great [00:03:00] at that time Merv Griffin owned it.
Okay. And and from there I went to Boston. suburban station that was owned by Kurt Gowdy. And a lot of people will remember Kurt being a great sportscaster along with outdoor adventures that he would like to do and such. And then I came back to Syracuse and helped put on TK99. Oh, wow. And I stayed there for about a year or so and then made a transition in doing events, which what I do now.
And I worked with a company for a couple of years. We launched taste of Syracuse. Yeah. Yeah. Which really gave me an idea what people wanted. We did a one day event, a regional market in 1996. Okay. Over 20, 000 people came out. That’s incredible food entertainment rides. Everybody knows that event.
Absolutely. Yeah, and so [00:04:00] then I think they copied
Matt Masur: it Did they copy it or did they have
Steve Becker: you do it in Utica? No, there were other tastes of okay. I remember doing some research up in Toronto okay, and right by where they have the you know the tower and while they were doing taste of Toronto there was a jazz event going on so We did our homework before we put it on and it was great overwhelming in fact, yeah, I can imagine.
I moved on, started my own company in 1997, created the small business show, Soho Syracuse, which had gone on for 21 years. Got involved with Parade of Homes other events. And, was involved with the Blues Fest. Doing the Soho show. But then, expanded into [00:05:00] Jazz in the City.
Which we’re still doing. I’ve been involved with that for about 20 years. We go into the neighborhood and it says Syracuse bringing music. And also information for people like health care and such, and then I’m involved with the Northeast Janice and Wine Festival. Then I created an idea. I was talking at that time to State Fair Director Troy Wapner.
And they We’re building the Expo Center. Huh. And Governor Cuomo at that time said, Hey, I’d like to get some events in there. We went kicking around ideas and I came what if we do what we see during the summer? Let’s put it inside during the middle of winter. Now, there’s plenty of things to do outside.
Skating and skiing and such. But, for people of all ages, especially families, what if we put in The food that you get, the rides, midway [00:06:00] rides entertainment, vendors, a little of everything. Something different than the
Matt Masur: traditional snow
Steve Becker: activities. And outside when people are coming in, ice sculptures.
Oh wow. And then outside we also do fireworks display. And they’re neat in the winter, they’re brighter because of the chill in the air. Yeah. And so we do that on Friday and Saturday nights. And It’s just a lot of fun. With the experience I had and doing radio, I got to know the listeners and I still get it.
I can be out in the city of Syracuse and they go, Steve Becker, stereo Steve Becker. It’s it was 30, 40 years ago and then and I love it. And that was the concept that I looked for with winter fair was. Yeah, you have to make money, of the four, I’ve lost money [00:07:00] twice because of COVID and such, but when.
I’m doing this. I also want to get back. We raised money for the NAACP. They get half the proceeds of our co check. Oh, wow. We raised money for the Boys and Girls Club. We have a special hoops area, where people can try to make some free throws, win prizes. It’s a 5 donation. It all goes to the Boys and Girls Club, I don’t keep any of that. Sure. And, the entertainment, but the Midway rides, when you walk in there and You can’t really do this event at other locations because the Expo Center is the largest open air facility indoors. You need that height to do 90 feet high.
Indoor ferris wheel. Yeah, over 100, 000 square feet. So when you walk in there, it’s boom, it hits you and you see all these rides and we have the entertainment and vendors and this year we’re going to [00:08:00] be sold out for our vendors. That’s awesome. We’re anticipating probably a good 20, 000 people.
Matt Masur: That’s incredible. So guys, we’re talking with Steve Becker about winter fair. That’s coming up here the first weekend of February 4th. I gotta ask you before we move on to the other things about the ride. So we talk about all these fun. Carnival rides, all these rides that we get all summer long. It’s normally, it’s the only time you see them, for four weeks in the summer is the, Ferris wheel that you’re bringing in. Are these like made to be indoor rides or we just have so much
Steve Becker: real estate. The same thing, variations. I work with a company, main event amusements. Solvay and they do a lot of these events field days and carnivals and festivals.
So I’ve known the owner. Well over 30 years. And from that standpoint, he brings in the rides that no he knows that are going to work it’s [00:09:00] like a 25 unlimited pass for the day and but it’s
Matt Masur: the same stuff you ride at all that. So it’s not like a it’s not like the old, remember the old grocery store with the the pony ride that was 25
Steve Becker: we do have America.
We now have a roller coaster that adults can go with their kids. Yeah. And then we have the ones that luckily we have some restrooms there because if that ride affected you, a good rise, he’s got
Matt Masur: the good rise. That’s what he’s
Steve Becker: saying, right? Yeah it’s, a lot of fun. And we look for doing special features last year.
We did a feature, of bringing in some pep bands from local high schools. We had ESM, we had CBA, we had Henneker, and it was a lot of fun. And they all got a stipend. And then the winning group of students got unlimited ride tickets. Nice. So [00:10:00] this year, we’re doing Irish Dance Academies. Yes. And we’re going to have several of them participate in each kid’s stipend.
The winning one, and that’ll be based, we have some judges that will be there, including you. Yeah. Spoiler alert. Amy Robbins will be another judge. Awesome. And I think we’re going to have Pat Hogan from the common council. Oh, that’s great. Yeah. And but audience and participation is definitely considered.
And again, we’ll the winning dance academy, Irish dance academy will get unlimited ride tickets. Nice. So it’s we try to keep it fun, but the big thing that we’re doing, I had approached somebody who I know who works for Nike and I came up with this little known company. Yeah. Nike, I, I think I passed him when I lived out in Oregon, yeah.
And that, that, those were the early days because when I was out in Oregon, it was like 1988, 89, 90, [00:11:00] but anyway, the NIL, you know what that is? The what, let me see if
Matt Masur: I get the acronym right. Name, image, likeness, college
Steve Becker: sports. Your current players. Rules change, yeah, your current players can make money.
Sure. The legends of Syracuse University Athletics never had that chance. We’re giving it to them. Nice. What has happened is the person who works for Nike Patty Musi has created Legend Athletics. Okay. And bringing in these legends, and we’re talking about John Wallace, Rob Drummond Lawrence Moten.
Wow. We have Billy and Michael Owens, members of the Syracuse Eight will be there. And we have more and more signing up to be a part of it. We’re gonna do a panel each day in front of the stage for about a half hour. Q& A [00:12:00] then there’s a meet and greet area, but we’re creating special merchandise, at least Patty is, through her NIL agency, that will be specific to that player.
So for Lawrence Moten, it’s just going to say poetry. And for John Wallace, it’ll be, the Cuse is in the house oh my God O M G. So they will benefit all the merchandise sold, finally reap the
Matt Masur: of some of the things they didn’t have back
Steve Becker: in the day. And, what’s happening is a percentage will go back to the boys and girls club.
So it’s just, I’m looking for fun. Yeah. I went to the game last night. And even though between weather nine o’clock start, you still had about 12, 000 they said there were 17, 000, but they go off of how many season tickets they sell. Gotcha. But I’ll tell you that crowd was loud. When when SU had this [00:13:00] big lead and then Boston College came roaring back and it went back and forth and Syracuse wins by 10 points.
We have a great fan base here. And that’s what we’re trying to say is come on out to Winterfair, you’re going to meet some of these legends. You’re going to help them out. And I see you do some collecting yourself. Sure. People like to collect things. Absolutely. I have this very large frame poster.
I got the poster that I framed it. At that time, coach Bayheim was at a Rotary in DeWitt and he auctioned us off and. I got the best donation in and it’s all signed by the 2003 national champs. That’s awesome. We are type of people like collect things. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And so we’re going to be able to have merchandise there and it will make a debut.[00:14:00]
And so you’ve
Matt Masur: got, which I think is really cool to know that you’ve got those meet and greet sessions or the panel rather is it’s every day, is it Friday, Saturday
Steve Becker: and Sunday, or just the, it’s all three days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, we’ll have specific times if you go to the website, nyswinterfair.
com, you can see what times the panel will be, and then they’re going to go to our basketball hoop area. We enlarged it a little bit more to accommodate their merchandise. And the autographs and the pictures, there will be a slight charge, like five dollars. Where the money goes to, back to the player and a percentage back to the Boys and Girls Club.
You might be able to shoot a hoop with Lawrence Moten. Here, let me show you how to do it,
Matt Masur: I need probably more help than even somebody like he could. I am, no basketball player, that is for sure. I’ve always been a tall person one out of every ten shots maybe. [00:15:00] We got a whole bunch of supporters and, as we mentioned a couple times, I think our company, your local IT department will be right there.
Steve Becker: We’re very appreciative that you’re going to be there.
Matt Masur: Not everything is about us, so who else is going to be there, Steve? Tell us about some of the other folks
Steve Becker: that are coming up. Our presenting sponsor is McGuire. Great. It’s nice. They’re my dealership, and my son also got his car through there, but they see it as a way to engage with the community.
Absolutely. Another big one is Amazon. Oh, wow. Amazon employs over 3, 000 people here, and they want to let people know. They’re a part of this community. So they’re back again. That’s great. Averti storage. Do they do just
Matt Masur: out of curiosity, is the Amazon, will they do some recruiting there on the spot?
Steve Becker: yeah. They’ll do, get people their information and such. And they’ll give away [00:16:00] prizes cool. But Averti storage containers, you’ve seen them all around. Absolutely. They love the idea and they’re coming back, on the docket county. They sponsor our fireworks each night.
Oh, wow. Friday and Saturday night at 845. And, like I said it’s a great display. Fifteen minutes. And just come on out. Yeah. Enjoy it, as you can see on the website, When you go to nyswinterfair. com, just click on sponsors and you’ll see all these supporters. There’s quite a
Matt Masur: list and it’s cool.
Steve Becker: great to see it all come together. We keep adding on we just had a sponsor who didn’t technically wanted to be there in person, but how can we support you? And we’re very appreciative because the idea is we’re giving back. Again, this is, a gray area. I’m not a non profit [00:17:00] I’m a for profit, but obviously, I want to be able to have some revenue, but I always look, how can we help this community?
That’s awesome. And I think it’s so important, and you’ll see organizations there that want to help. Yeah. But we got support you talk about sponsors, Visit Syracuse, which is the convention visitors bureau here. Okay. They did some underwriting, but they’re out there promoting across the state, out of state, and into Canada.
Wow. Because this is an event for everyone. Yeah. Come on up. If you’re in New York City, we’re Have some fun. We got some special room rates with the Marriott Syracuse downtown. They’ve been great supporters. It’s just, we’re looking for fun. You can see, what does that say at the very top of that card?
Matt Masur: Bringing summer [00:18:00] into winter. I think that’s Here you go. I don’t know any person in central New York who couldn’t appreciate
Steve Becker: that idea. That’s the whole idea. I think we were talking that there are plenty of things to do outside. Sure. And that’s great.
Matt Masur: That’s one of the things that makes New York great.
But at the same time, especially those of us who have been here all our lives, it’s like, something unique, different, something fun, especially for the family.
Steve Becker: That’s awesome. That’s just it is that you’ll see a lot of your friends there. Sure. You bring the family
Matt Masur: everybody, I’ve spoke to has either been there and had a great time or.
Hadn’t heard of it, unfortunately, but absolutely loved it and have made plans.
Steve Becker: The more the merrier, we put everything together. We have a great security team that checked making sure that everybody will be safe. We have a great box office crew to get people through.
Now, if you. If you want to save a little money [00:19:00] go to the website and click on advanced tickets. You’ll save a little. The advanced ticket sales is 5 for adults with a small fee, about 0. 65. And then for seniors and teens, so seniors 65 plus and teens are 11 to 15, those are 3 plus fee. Then, kids 10 and under, free.
Oh, wow. And now at the box office, if you didn’t get advance tickets it’s 7 for adults, no extra fee. And it’s 5 for seniors and teens. And again, the kids are free, 10 and under. So kids under 10 are free. 10 and under. That’s not a, that’s not a special, that’s for the whole deal. Yeah, adults run free.
From 16, 16 do you know how many kids I have, Steve? This is crazy, but you’ll see what we define as an [00:20:00] adult, what we define as a senior. And that’s a whole nother conversation right there. I think. Yeah. We want it to make it reasonable you can go see the dinosaurs.
But they’ll charge you 25 at the door to go see the dinosaurs. Our highest price ticket is 7 at the box office. Can’t, beat that for a weekend of something fun. And you get a lot of great entertainment. You see the groups that we have? Yeah, you got all,
Matt Masur: we got Just Novak, Black Lights
Steve Becker: what do we, what else?
Friday night, we’ll kick off with Jimmy Murphy. Who used to be the director for the Blues Fest. He’s down in Texas now. El Paso. And he comes up. Then we have Chris Taylor with the Custom Taylor Band. Which is a country rock. And then Primetime. Great. People get their dancing shoes on and then on Saturday we have [00:21:00] Jess Novak she’ll be there from three to four.
We’ll also have from five to six to black lights and then from seven to eight 30 will be dangerous type. And then on Sunday is our black history month. We’re going to have fashion show. gospel hour African drumming, and then wrap it up with brown skin with Joe Driscoll. And, we have those other things that Native American dancing will be happening.
Latino or Latin dancing he gets a lot of the audience involved and it was fun. A lot of people may know the wobble. Which is a great he did it and people were going nuts and it’s it’s it’s there For the community. Yeah That’s
Matt Masur: awesome. Steve. So before we Dip out of here.
I just want to [00:22:00] mention. So winter fair, of course, is a big thing. That’s the focus. That’s what we’re talking about. But just so people know down the road when they’re watching this podcast, you have a couple other events that you like to put on and in the
Steve Becker: rest of the summer, we do jazz in the city, of Syracuse, we go into the different neighborhoods and we did seven of them this past summer.
Which was the most we’ve ever done. So that’s a cool event.
Matt Masur: So it’s not just a one time you missed the show, like you said, you’re every concert is in
Steve Becker: a different venue. I’ve been involved for about 20 years. Yeah. That’s awesome. And it’s just, it’s great because it’s just not the community.
People travel to come to see the music. We created a few years ago a healthcare village that was even before Covid. Wow. And. Get information into people’s hands and things and we want to thank a major sponsor Syracuse Community Health They just built a new building. Yeah, and what we found and over the summer [00:23:00] now We did this when there was kovat and we gave people Vaccines sure, but over the this past summer.
They just want to do testing, blood pressure and things like that over 500 people We’re, tested, and so I do that. I’m also involved with the Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival. That happens at the end of July. That’ll come up July 27th and 28th, right in Clinton Square. That’s another one that I’ve been involved with for a number of years.
That’s great. And we get Some great music it’s part of, it’s like Dogtail, part of Syracuse Arts Week. There are things happening during that week and we basically on one end, you’ll have the Syracuse Arts and Crafts Festival. And in Clinton Square, you got the Northeast Jazz and Wine Festival.
I do these things because I enjoy it. I think like you do IT. Do you enjoy what you do usually, [00:24:00] and that’s there are good people like Bernie Bregman. Yeah. He, to me is the ultimate salesperson. He will sell you anything. He started out doing fuller brush, going door to get himself through school through Syracuse university.
There was the far side. Cartoon series. Yep. And it showed the ultimate salesperson selling refrigerators to Eskimos in their igloos. That’s Bernie. Yeah. Sales is part of what I do, but I promote. Sure. So if I get involved with something, I have to believe in it. And by believing in it, I’m very mindful of customer.
service. Sure. When people are signing up, they’re doing it through me. I could have maybe a sales staff and things like that, but it’s not they would have [00:25:00] to come back and ask me questions. My phone, so way more efficient. Go right to the top, my phone when you see it.
That’s my cell phone. Yeah. And my email. And you’re talking directly to the person putting it on. That’s awesome.
Matt Masur: Steve Becker, Steve, we’re out of time, my friend, but I really appreciate you stopping by the podcast. You know anybody locally who says there’s nothing to do in Central New York they should have a word with this gentleman.
And, and realize that there’s so many fun things. And I love that folks like you are trying to put these things together. Cause like I said, yeah, sure. It’s a business. It’s also, it’s one of these necessary businesses like we need things to do that are fun. And like you said, are slightly different than that.
We got great ski Hills and great, all kinds of standing things. But
Steve Becker: I don’t think people realize we are the heart of New York and that. If you want to really step back, we’re a hub for tourism. Absolutely. And people have to realize that [00:26:00] when I look at Syracuse, there are 70 million people that can come to Syracuse within a drive.
And that’s the concept that you have to realize.
Matt Masur: Yeah. It’s worth the drive. Guys. Steve Becker. Winter fair is the event premier promotions is the name of his business. Check this guy out. If you don’t you probably already know him. Everybody knows Steve, but it’ll be a great time.
We’ll be there. Come hang out. Have a good time. Ride the Ferris wheel. Watch some dancers. It’s going to be a good time. Thank you for listening, watching, however you’re consuming this podcast. We really appreciate it. And we will see you on the next one.