Questions about crowd levels at this year's Minnesota State Fair started weeks ago. The fair, following a cancellation in 2020, is holding its first get-together since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The delta variant is surging, vaccine reluctance among some people remains steadfast, and fair organizers strongly recommended — but did not require — attendees get vaccinated and wear a face covering in many situations. To the east, Wisconsin State Fair attendance was down about 26%, prompting many to wonder how things would go here in Minnesota.
So how are things looking at the midway point?
The Minnesota State Fair reported attendance of 89,618 for Tuesday. That's nearly 50,000 people shy of the 2019 attendance of 136,987 (a daily record), and more than 30,000 short of the 120,209 people who went in 2018.
On four out of six days so far, attendance has been below 100,000. Attendance dipped into five figures just once in 2019, and not at all from 2016-18. (It's also worth noting severe weather threatened the opening three days of the 2021 fair.)
Overall, attendance over six days of the Great Minnesota Get-Together is at 599,806 this year. That's about a 32% drop compared to average figures for the same period during the four most recent Minnesota State Fairs.