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State Fair posts busiest day of 2021, but attendance remains low

The fair said attendance on Sunday was 149,247.
A view of the State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 29.

A view of the State Fair on Sunday, Aug. 29.

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.

Day20212019201820172016

Thursday

61,983

133,326

122,695

117,877

111,902

Friday

77,406

157,224

108,059

125,324

141,023

Saturday

129,984

209,105

222,194

158,525

180,567

Sunday

149,247

191,524

184,715

197,891

177,906

4-day total

418,620

691,179

637,663

599,617

611,398

Thursday through Saturday this year were threatened, in part, by rain and storms in the forecast, some of which carried severe potential.

Related: Minnesota State Fair during a pandemic: Does it feel any different?

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.

Related: Minnesota State Fair 2021: The best food options that avoid the crowds

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