The Minnesota State Fair: 21 Facts

Photo Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

Photo Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

It’s here! It’s here! The Minnesota State Fair has opened their gates and for the next 12 days, people from all corners of the state will descend on the fairgrounds for hours of food and fun!

But our state fair is more than just that. It’s full of history and interesting facts, so we decided to compile some for your viewing pleasure.

And even though it symbolizes the end of summer, most people love it. And even if you don’t, you might find these facts interesting.

So without further ado, we give you the facts. Are you ready?


FACT 21: 

The first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859. The premium for “best horse” was $4.

The Minnesota State Fair has been held in its present location (mid-way between Minneapolis and St. Paul) since 1885.

FACT 20:

The State Fair has been recycling since the mid-1980s. Currently, the fair recycles paper, glass, metal, fluorescent bulbs, vehicle and appliance batteries, antifreeze, beverage containers, automotive oil, tires, grease, meat scraps, manure, construction material plastic shrink wrap, wood waste, paint, food waste, cardboard, concrete, oil filters, plastic bottles, laser toner cartridges and more.

Last year, 52 tons of food waste and 33 tons of glass, plastic and aluminum were collected and recycled during the fair.

FACT 19:

Dan Patch Avenue on the Fairgrounds is named after race horse, Dan Patch, who set numerous records at the Minnesota State Fair.  In fact, the horse’s achievements made him a sports celebrity and at the height of his fame between 1900 and 1909, he earned his owner, Marion Savage, more than $1 million an year.

It turns out that Marion Savage and Dan Patch died within thirty-one hours of each other, in July 1916. Marion Savage died at age 57 due to a heart attack just after Dan had died.

FACT 18:

The Minnesota State Fair is the second largest State Fair in the country (the State Fair of Texas takes the #1 spot). That said, the Minnesota State Fair is the largest 12-day event in North America, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors each year.

FACT 17:

In 2009, an overall record of 1,790,497 people attended the fair during its 12-day run. As for the fair’s daily attendance record, that was set on a Sunday in 2012 when 236,197 people visited. Were you there?

That’s pretty remarkable considering the State Fair attendance first topped the 1 million mark on September 5, 1955. And what did Robert Karklin, the millionth attendee, receive? A wristwatch and a silver trophy.

FACT 16:

The Grandstand Concert Series during the fair features some of the biggest touring acts in the country. In 2000 Christina Aguilera sold 22,117 tickets, breaking the all-time record for the most tickets sold to a single Grandstand show.

FACT 15:

Theodore Roosevelt was scheduled to deliver two speeches at the 1912 State Fair. After giving his first speech on September 4 at 11:00 am however, he was forced to cancel his second speech because he suffered a severe case of laryngitis.

FACT 14:

The streets on the fairgrounds are named in recognition of past State Agricultural Society leaders and individuals who shaped the State Fair for the future.

FACT 13:

On June 20, 1910, the first airplane flight in Minnesota history took place at the fairgrounds.

FACT 12:

In 1920, Reverend J.M. Batinger’s Automatic Eater, an all-you-can-eat buffet served on a rotating conveyor belt, was introduced to fair-goers as the future of dining. Guests could enjoy the meal and experience for 50 cents.

FACT 11:

At the 2011 Minnesota State Fair, 25 acres of corn were sold at the Corn Roast booth. That’s a lot of corn!

FACT 10:

It would take the average cow three to four years to produce all of the milk that is served during the fair’s 12-day run at the All-You-Can-Drink milk booth.


The Space Tower carries passengers into the skies above the State Fair at a rate of 295 feet per minute.


Speaking of the Space Tower, it was modeled after Seattle’s Space Needle, which was designed and constructed for Seattle’s World Fair, which was held in 1962. The Minnesota State Fair’s Space Tower was built in 1965.


Nearly 200 baby animals are born at the CHS Miracle of Birth Center during the State Fair, including calves, lambs, piglets, ducks, chicks and bunnies.


During a typical year, about 25,000 gallons of milk are served at the American Dairy Association’s All-You-Can-Drink Milk concession.


You can not only see agility demonstrations, but also pet surgeries daily at the Pet Center during the fair.


Nearly 338,000 dozen mini donuts are eaten each year at the fair.


Minnesota State Fair mascots, Fairchild and Fairborne are related. Fairchild is Fairborne’s uncle, and they both can be seen daily throughout the fairgrounds. They also appear at 11:00 am and 4:00 pm daily at Visitors Plaza, and at 2:00 pm in the daily parade.


Princess Kay of the Milky Way is the title given to the winner of the state-wide Minnesota Dairy Princess Program, sponsored by the Midwest Dairy Association. The winner serves a one-year term as a good-will ambassador for the Minnesota dairy industry. She not only receives a scholarship, she also gets her likeness carved into a 90-pound block of butter at the Fair. In fact, all the finalists also get their likeness carved in butter each day at the Fair.

FACT 1:*

There is a lot of food at the Minnesota State Fair;  all sorts of it. In fact, more than 450 foods are available at 300 food concessions. Some of the foods available on-a-stick include deep-fried candy bars, hot dish, spaghetti & meatballs, key lime pie and pork.

Thanks to the Minnesota State Fair website for providing these amazing facts. 

Photo: Minnesota State Fair

Photo: Minnesota State Fair

4 Responses

  1. brynn miller
    brynn miller April 13, 2016 at 8:03 am |

    Can you tell me the source of this document? I am trying to create a Works Cited and am missing information.

  2. Doug De mars
    Doug De mars August 16, 2016 at 10:19 pm |

    Who is the OWNER of the mn state fair ?


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