Final numbers are in. Total attendance for the 2011 Minnesota State Fair was 1,769,872, making it the third-best-attended Great Minnesota Get-Together in history and just 20,000 short of the best ever. A daily attendance record was set on Sunday, Sept. 4 with 229,943 people attending that day. Additionally, this year’s Labor Day weekend was easily the best-attended on record with 600,332 people visiting the fair in just three days. Extreme heat, high humidity and cold held attendance down on a few days, but weather during the final weekend was spectacular.
The Minnesota State Fair’s agricultural and creative competitions drew close to 36,000 entries this year, with competitors vying for a share of ribbons, trophies and more than $1 million in prize money. Competitions included events for livestock, school projects, dog trials, baked and canned goods, fruit, vegetables, crafts, bee and honey products, fine arts, farm crops, flowers, butter, cheese and more.
The State Fair’s 100th Fine Arts Exhibition featured the largest juried art show in Minnesota. The People’s Choice Award went to “Nobody Takes Buses Anymore,” a charcoal and pencil on paper piece by Daniel Volenec of Eden Prairie. Kyle Fokken of Minneapolis won the Kids’ Choice Award for a mixed media and found-object sculpture entitled “Airway to Heaven.”
The 4-H Purple Ribbon Auction brought in a record $370,000 to benefit 4-H programs.