Opus Magnum: The Minnesota State Fair by the Numbers

Did you know that the Minnesota State Fair is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region? With around 1.8 million annual visitors, The Great Minnesota Get-Together is something many look forward to all summer long. Why you may ask? Fried food on a stick and giveaways!

The University of St. Thomas’ booth is a popular destination for many fair-goers as it is where one can obtain the coveted purple bag. UST has been known for its giveaways since 2000, ranging from bracelets and visors to bandanas. The much-loved purple bag first showed up in 2005. Since then, more that half a million bags have been given away, including 30,000 for the 2014 State Fair. (Current count, 565,000.) People wait in line to obtain this treasured bag and even ask for more than one, but there are rules, pre-set distribution times, and trained volunteers who make sure to follow along.

Fair Fun Facts

UST alumnus Brad Ribar ’82, started selling corn at the State Fair in 1985. Each year, he clears $100,000 in sales, going through 190,000 ears of corn during the 12 day run of the fair.

With fair season now upon us, it’s time for some trivia, courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair:

  1. During a typical year, how many gallons of milk are served at the American Dairy Association’s all-you-can-drink concession?
  2. When was the pronto pup introduced at the State Fair?
  3. What is the most popular flavor of pies entered in the creative activities baked goods category?
  4. Approximately, how many rolls of toilet paper are used during the fair?
  5. On average, what’s the total number of corn dogs typically consumed by fair visitors each year?
  6. In acres, how large is the fairgrounds?
  7. Which fair food contains the most calories?


Click for Answers

  1. 20,000 gallons
  2. 1947
  3. Apple
  4. 22,000 rolls
  5. 500,000
  6. 320 acres
  7. The fried candy bars