Roller coaster State Fair ends on upswing


Officials with the Minnesota State Fair likened this year's Great Minnesota Get-Together to a huge roller coaster ride as the annual 12-day event wrapped up Monday, WCCO-TV reports.

Thanks to favorable weather at the beginning, sweltering heat in the middle and milder temps at the end, it was a year of ups and downs for the fair.

"If it was like a graph it would be sort of a reverse bell curve," fair spokeswoman Brienna Schuete told WCCO.

Final attendance figures for the Labor Day crowd come out Tuesday, and if Sunday's record attendance figures are any indication, they should be favorable because temperatures in the low to mid 70s.

With attendance dipping to as low as 94,000 on Tuesday as temps in the 90s swept through the state, the fair attracted 236, 197 people Sunday -- the single most-attended day in the event's 150-year history.

One big draw to the fair Monday night was country music superstar Tim McGraw, who wrapped up the Grandstand music series with a sold out that packed in more than 13,000 fans, the Star Tribune reports.

Despite the surge, traffic heading into Labor Day Monday was pacing 12 percent lower than 2012, hurting vendor business.

According to the Star Tribune, some vendors like Poncho Dog said the heat stretch last week dropped business by 30 percent.

Apart from keeping away crowds, the hot weather doesn't do much for the customer's psyche when it comes to eating certain kinds of food, said one of the managers of Turkey to Go.

“At 90 degrees, people are not eating heavy foods,” Drew Levin said.

With the 2013 State Fair barely a memory, plans are already underway for the 2014 event, including a multimillion dollar renovation.

KSTP-TV reports that Heritage Square will undergo some changes once vendors clear out for the year. In addition a new space for vendors, Heritage Square will also serve as a transit hub.

Vendors who are currently in the are will have to re-apply to get a spot in Heritage Square in 2014. Most will be back in the same area, but some will have to relocate, the station says.

See KSTP's video on the changes below.

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