Minnesota Fringe sets opening weekend record

The Minnesota Fringe Festival is far from over, but it's already breaking records.

For the first four days of the festival - Thursday through Sunday - shows issued a record-setting total of 18,895 tickets. That's a 9.9% increase over last year's festival.

Additionally, traffic to the festival's website, fringefestival.org, was up 23 percent over last year. As of 2 p.m. on Monday, over 1,650 audience reviews had been submitted to the site (Note: These numbers have not yet been audited and may be subject to change).

Executive director Robin Gillette says she's delighted with the increases. She says it indicates a solid, and by no means modest, year-by-year build in audiences.

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The 2009 festival's opening weekend was a 19 percent jump over 2008.

13 different shows gave sold-out performances on opening weekend, including some shows by first-time Fringe producers who got slots late in the game, said Gillette.

This really shows this year's crop of producers brought their A-game, no question. Fringe tries to offer both the structure and the education for first-time producers to succeed, and we're hoping this weekend's numbers point to those efforts' success.

Note: These numbers have not yet been audited and may be subject to change.

Minnesota Fringe continues to Sun., Aug. 15 at 19 venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul.