MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Monday marked the end of an unusual year for the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Before the Minnesota State Fair started, more than 150 vendors, exhibitors and musical acts dropped out.READ MORE: Crowd Removed With Chemical Spray As MN State Fair Closed
Attendance was down, too. In all, 1,301,584 people visited the fairgrounds, for an attendance number that was down roughly 40% compared to 2019. The largest attendance numbers were on the Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day, which saw over 150,000 visitors.
Food vendors say the low attendance likely contributed to less revenue. The money wasn’t top priority for some of them though.
Yosmary Mejias, manager of Oven Fresh Brownies, says beautiful weather throughout the Labor Day holiday weekend boosted sales, but her business was down more than 50% compared to the 2019 fair.READ MORE: Minnesota State Fair 2021 Final Attendance: 1.3M, Far Below 2019 Record
“It’s good to be here and to be open, not like last year,” Mejias said. “We usually have more employees, but this year was a little bit less since we saw that it was a little bit slow, we had to cut some.”
In its 124th year in operation, the Hamline Church Dining Hall’s business was also cut in half. They opted to close their indoor space this year and just sell ice cream out a window. Mary Bloom is a co-chair of the dining hall committee.
“[We took in] much less money, but we did not open up to make money this year,” Bloom said. “We just wanted to have our presence here. We didn’t want to close completely.”
WCCO asked several other vendors about overall profit. Mancini al Fresco said they saw a 25%-30% decline in profits. The Produce Exchange reported about a 40% loss and The Original Pronto Pups said their profits were cut in half when compared to previous years.MORE NEWS: Minnesota State Fair Butter Sculptor To Retire After 50 Years, 500 Princess Kay Sculptures
The fair may be over, but it’s hiring for clean-up work. The job could extend into October.