Holiday weekend heat puts a dent in Minnesota State Fair attendance

crowds of people seen at a fair
People crowd Liggett Street on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair on Aug. 24.
Ben Hovland | MPR News file

Intense heat over the Labor Day weekend melted what had been a strong start to attendance at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.

Numbers released Tuesday by fair officials show overall attendance at this year’s fair was 1,835,826 — compared to 1,842,222 at the 2022 fair.

This year’s State Fair had been trending ahead of last year’s pace for most of its run. It even set a daily record on the first Friday.

But temperatures climbing to near 100 degrees over the holiday weekend kept many people away from the fairgrounds.

Attendance this past Saturday (200,170), Sunday (141,326) and Monday (119,731) was down more than 25 percent compared to last year.

The Labor Day weekend traditionally sees the largest crowds on the fairgrounds each year, but the largest single-day attendance of the 2023 fair was 212,850 — set on the first Saturday of the 12-day run.

While it was down from 2022, the 2023 fair had the sixth-highest attendance on record for the state fair. The overall fair attendance record — more than 2.1 million visitors — was set in 2019.

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