By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With the rainy weather and ongoing concerns about COVID-19, attendance for the Minnesota State Fair’s opening day saw a 50% decrease compared to 2019.

State fair officials announced that 61,883 people walked through the gates on Thursday. In 2019, the fair broke its opening day attendance record with 133,326 visitors. In 2018, opening day saw 122,695 attendees.

Those who did come out were thrilled to be there, though crowds thinned during the afternoon rain storm. In the evening, the Grandstand was evacuated due to lightning in the area, and Miranda Lambert’s concert was delayed.

Neither masks nor vaccines are required to go to the state fair, and officials did not institute an attendance limit. However, they do encourage Minnesotans to visit at less busy times, avoid weekends, and practice social distancing. Masks are especially encouraged indoors and in crowded areas, regardless of vaccination status.