Skip to main content

State Fair day 1 was busy – but not quite the busiest opening ever

  • Author:
  • Updated:

It was a busy first day of the fair (especially if you tried to park there or use the Park and Ride lots) – but it actually wasn't the busiest opening day ever.

Attendance Thursday came in at 111,902, the State Fair says. That's the third-highest mark ever for opening day, but a little bit short of the all-time day one record – that happened in 2010, when 119,145 came through the gate.

Opening day has (at least for the past few years) generally been the least-crowded day of the fair. Of all the daily attendance records, day one's record of 119,145 is the lowest high (and on the opposite end, the second Saturday is usually the busiest, with an all-time high of 252,092).

Fair officials Thursday were expecting a large figure. The parking lots around the fairgrounds were packed full by morning, and people opting for the Park and Rides found full lots and long waits.

The lots are busy again Friday

That continued into Friday, with things again filling up quick. The second day however still tends to be one of the least busy fair days overall.

If you're trying to plan ahead, a good way to stay on top of it is by checking out the State Fair's Twitter feed, @mnstatefair. They pretty frequently tweet out the situation at Park and Ride lots, like this:

The State Fair said things should improve even during the busier days, with an extra 10 Park and Ride lots open on weekends and Labor Day, as well as more buses in operation.

Things will probably stay busy (and purple)

You can expect Friday evening to be pretty full, pretty purple, and very dancey.

A fair-wide tribute to Prince (titled Unite in Purple) starts at 5 p.m.

Next Up

Seventh Street Truck Park shooting, St. Paul

St. Paul man pleads guilty in illegal firearms conspiracy

One of the guns Gabriel Lee Young-Duncan obtained was used in a deadly St. Paul shooting last year.

Train Days

Historic locomotives to roll into St. Paul for Train Days

The festival at the Union Depot returns June 4-5.

Dalton tornado

Tornadoes, large hail, damaging wind possible in Sunday/Monday storms

The Twin Cities is among the areas that could get hit.

Redtail Ridge Elementary

Sunbather on the roof triggers shelter-in-place at Savage elementary school

The sunbather told police he was trying to "tan and relax."


The Raptor Center's ambassador, Nero the turkey vulture, dies at 47

Nero helped save the California condors before taking up his post as an education ambassador.

Ben Leber

Ben Leber named new permanent co-host of 'Twin Cities Live'

The former Minnesota Vikings linebacker was introduced Friday afternoon.


APM Reports, maker of 'In the Dark' podcast, nixed by Minnesota Public Radio

MPR said "select programming elements" of APM Reports will be incorporated into MPR News.

storm, severe

The latest on holiday weekend severe weather chances for MN

The most significant severe threats are Sunday night and again on Monday.

Arianna Vos

Charges: Driver was drunk, high in head-on crash that killed 19-year-old woman

The young woman killed in the crash was a college student studying zoology.


Vets give pigs a clean bill of health as State Fair readies for opening day

A team of veterinarians was on hand to check up on the pigs that were checking in to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Wednesday. None showed signs of the new swine flu strain that's been known to spread to humans. The livestock arrival was part of a day full of preparation for Thursday's opening.