FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — On day 10 of the State Fair more than 1.1 million people visited the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Although that sounds like a hefty number, fair attendance is actually down compared to the past two years.

Several factors affect attendance numbers, but weather is key. Tuesday’s rain and cool temperatures kept the crowd just under 100,000, and Thursday’s scorching heat also kept the attendance numbers down.

“There is a fascination with attendance numbers, because so many people come to the fair,” said Brienna Schuette, the communications manager at the Minnesota State Fair.

She said the State Fair rivals Disney World with its per day attendance numbers.

Tom Ek and his family of seven helped Saturday’s attendance numbers. He did notice the $1 increase in ticket prices, but he doesn’t think that’s what kept people away in 2011.

“I think it might have something to do with the economy being down. People don’t have as much expendable income and are thinking they’ll skip this year,” Ek said.

Far from the entrance gates, Jim Nelson is able to gauge ticket sales from his pronto pup stand.

“The recession hit the last couple of years. More people are walking than buying,” Nelson said.

Nelson has noticed when attendance is down, his sales often follow, but he’s come up with a recipe to help people save while keeping his profits up.

“We have a deal where you buy four, get the fifth free. It cuts down on cost. It’s a good thing. It’s been popular,” Nelson said.

History has shown fair attendance has its ups and downs. Sometimes it’s the economy that keeps fairgoers away, sometimes it’s the weather.

“Can’t break records every year,” Schuette said. “You want to, but can’t always do that,”.

With three days left of the fair, 2011 could still make its mark in attendance history.

The State Fair attendance numbers tend to spike and plateau. The last two years they broke two all-time records for single day attendance and overall attendance.

Comments (12)
  1. TL the alligator says:

    ….went there the first day with expectations of bringing the family later but decided against it when i saw the cost …….$3.75 for a small pronto pup, really?……$3.50 for a corn, really?…..$12.00 just to get in, really?………YES its real and just too dang expensive

    1. Jesus Saves says:

      Go to the fair…enjoy a little heaven on earth!

  2. Brewster says:

    Strictly for the Rich and Affluent! Hurray Capitalism!

    1. T says:

      You should just go back to bed.

  3. Mel says:

    A $1 increase isn’t a big deal until you factor in how many family members are going. And yes, the cost of the food rivals Disney World as well, not just the attendance. So, State Fair officials, if you want next year to go better, lower the cost of the tickets and the vendor fees. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that when you raise the cost of a service or entertainment that the numbers will go down.

  4. Harry Maylone says:

    The state had to recoup some money from the shutdown. It’s obvious that the price went up right before the Fair started. Who is guilty of price gouging

    1. Sean says:

      Another rightwingnut. State fair is independent of the state government in terms of money and operated by the Agricultural society.

  5. TL the alligator says:

    low attendance has NOTHING to do with the weather or temperature……low attendance is because of GREED AND EXPENSE…..people normally love going to the fair regardless of weather but when everything is consistently too expensive people stay away…….including me and my family.

    1. sad but true says:

      Sounds like you went anyway, a little selfish if you ask me.

  6. TskTsk says:

    Too funny when the $1 increase or the .25cent extra corn dog makes the difference in you people going, stay home they could care less, they’ll still end up with almost 1.5million visitors, including me and 9 other people sunday. The people who think its to expensive can stay home, in case you didn’t know the Minnesota state fair is the largest 12 day event in North America, so I think they’ll make it without you, weather has nothing to do with it? Now thats a funny comment so if it was $2 less and rained 12 days they’d have 2million? Hopefully $200 is enough for me and the girl to have fun.

  7. Alex V says:

    Also, only the ticket price at the gate increased. The advance ticket price ($9) is the same as last year. I haven’t bought a ticket at the gate in years.

  8. Cynthia says:

    We had a bad experience at the State Fair. The ticket seller at the gate claim my daughter was not eligible for the Youth Ticket. She was 11 years old! We told her she is but she wouldn’t believe us. Then she told us to prove it by showing her ID. What 11 yr. old has a ID!?!?!?!? I am disgusted how the individual responded.