State Fair attendance dips slightly in 2011by Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — About 6,000 fewer people visited the Minnesota State Fair in 2011 compared to 2010, officials said Tuesday.
Attendance totaled 1,769,872, which is also shy of the all-time record in 2009 of 1,790,497 people.
The daily record for attendance was set last year when 234,384 visited on a Saturday.
But there was one record: This year, the last Sunday of the fair attracted 229,943 people, the most visitors ever for that day.
Fair visitors buying tickets at the gate had to pay a dollar more to enter this year, but fair officials said more people bought advanced tickets this year because they didn't increase in price.
It was also a good year for public transit. Metro Transit said bus ridership from its 11 express service locations was up 15 percent over last year.
Metro Transit spokesman John Siqveland said that the ridership topped the agency's goal by about 8 percent.
"We sold a high number of advance tickets this year," he said. "And the the State Fair and Metro Transit, I think this year, did an exceptional job promoting the service."
Fairgoers got on a bus more than 540,000 times during the fair.
(MPR reporter Tim Nelson contributed to this report.)