The Minnesota Fringe Festival distributed 16,904 tickets to 326 performances during its August 2-5 opening weekend, a festival official said Monday. This compares to 17,735 tickets distributed to 339 performances in 2011.

Average per show attendance was 52 for opening weekend in both years.

The 2012 festival has fewer performances, 830 compared to 865 last year because of "last-minute producer drop-outs and the absence of the bring-your-own-venue program," said executive director Robin Gillette.
"The response to our shows, from audience and press alike, has been strong, and we've got high hopes for another fantastic year of Fringe."  
She added that scores of audience reviews have come in. The Star Tribune has reviewed dozens of shows, including "Fear Factor: Canine Edition," written and performed by John Grady (pictured). 
The festival continues through Aug. 12.