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James Williams of New Hope carried his stuffed animal on his shoulders Sunday night as he made his way to the exit at the Minnesota State Fair.

Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune

State Fair-goers get on the stick, nearly set attendance record in 2012

  • Star Tribune
  • September 4, 2012 - 11:04 PM

Minnesota proved once again it throws one of the biggest end-of-summer bashes in the country.

This year's attendance at the Minnesota State Fair hit 1,788,512, beating last year's tally and falling just shy of the all-time record of 1,790,497 set in 2009.

That keeps the Minnesota State Fair as one of the top-attended fairs in the country.

Averaging about 150,000 people a day, Minnesota is the leader among fairs when it comes to average per day attendance, said Brienna Schuette, fair spokeswoman. Texas usually is recognized as racking up the highest attendance numbers overall. But the Texas State Fair goes twice as long as Minnesota's 12-day run, Schuette said. Determining exactly which fair attracts the most people is difficult because state fairs have different methods of tracking attendance, she said.

Minnesota's fair attracts big crowds because it's centrally located, Schuette said. But even more than that, it's about tradition, she said.

"It's something that people can come back to every year," she said. "There's going to be something new, they know there's going to be something that feels like home and it bookends summer before the kids go back to school and the weather gets cool."

MARY LYNN SMITH

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