- Associated Press - Thursday, August 27, 2015

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - More than 100 people are set to become new American citizens at a special naturalization ceremony at the New York state fair.

The ceremony is one of several events scheduled for Friday, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proclaimed “New Americans Day” at the fair.

Those taking the oath of citizenship that day come from 40 countries on five continents. It’s the first time a naturalization ceremony has been held at the fair, which starts Thursday and runs through Labor Day in Syracuse.

“New York’s diversity is its strength and this state has long been a beacon for people across the world who seek to make a better life for themselves and their families,” Cuomo said in a statement announcing the event.

In another state fair first, 12 New Yorkers were chosen by public vote this year to sing the National Anthem at the fair each day. Kenzie Murphy, a 10-year-old from Ilion, received the most votes with more than 25,000. Other winners include Spec. Damien Fraser of Fort Drum and State Trooper Rob Larrabee of Canton.

The anthem is sung twice each day at the fair, at 9:30 a.m. and again in the early afternoon before equestrian competitions.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul opened the state fair on Thursday. After cutting a ribbon to formally kick off the fair, she toured the 375-acre complex and was met by a group of protesting teachers upset with Cuomo’s support for teacher evaluations and student testing that the teachers say are unfair.

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