The Minnesota State Fair posted its busiest day yet of the 2021 get-together Sunday, but attendance figures remain below recent years' levels.
The fair said attendance on the fourth day was 149,247, a step up from numbers seen over a rainy first three days of this year's get-together: Saturday (129,984), Friday (77,406) and Thursday (61,983).
Overall attendance so far is at 418,620. That's anywhere from 60-70% of the numbers seen from 2016-19, the four most recent fairs.
Thursday through Saturday this year were threatened, in part, by rain and storms in the forecast, some of which carried severe potential.
But questions about attendance at the 2021 State Fair have lingered for weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance for the Wisconsin State Fair was down 26% compared to 2019 (the 2020 fair was canceled due to COVID).
A number of entertainers, vendors and well-known institutions dropped out of the Minnesota State Fair due to concerns over the fair's COVID mitigation policies — masks strongly recommended in many situations, but not required.
As of Monday afternoon, the fair's new Gopher Gauge was at level two out of three, indicating things were "moderately busy," and the fair's Twitter account noted a full parking lot as well as numerous at-capacity park and ride lots.