A statistical case can be made that the Minnesota State Fair is losing its hold on state residents, with no more than a third of Minnesotans attending.
Fair attendance in 2010, when averaged with attendance for one year either side of that date to eliminate weather fluctuations, represented 33.5 percent of the state population counted in that year's census.
That's the lowest of any census year since the fair went to its current 12-day run in 1975. The peak census year over that 40 years was 1990, when the three-year average was 34.7 percent of the state's total population.
Of course, the likely share of state population at the fair is likely even lower, given that a number of fairgoers attend more than once.
The Star Tribune analysis focused on years with a census because the count of state residents is most accurate then.
Fair officials often ballyhoo new attendance records, but increases in state population aren't factored in.
There are indications that fair attendance may have slipped further since 2009-2011 as a share of state population, despite a record attendance of 1,824,830 in 2014.
The 2012-2014 average attendance was up 1.5 percent from the 2009-2011 average. But the census bureau, which offers only less accurate estimates of population between decennial censuses, says the state's population rose by 2.9 percent since 2010.
Interestly, when the fair went to its 12-day schedule in 1975, attendance the following year plummeted by 211,000 people from the then-record year of 1974. It didn't regain that level for another 13 years.