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.