One giant sing along, a dozen grandstand shows, scores of rides and attractions, hundreds of educational exhibits, 900 free music performances, thousands of food and beverage offerings, nearly 15,000 animals (including 217 newborns) and more than two-million people celebrating the very best of each other at their State Fair made the 2018 Great Minnesota Get-Together the best ever.
Labor Day attendance of 171,588 brought this year’s cumulative attendance total to 2,046,533, setting a new overall attendance record. The previous record of 1,997,320 was set last year. This year’s edition of the Great Minnesota Get-Together had five daily attendance record days set on
Thursday, August 23, with 122,695 visitors;
Saturday, August 25, with 222,194 visitors;
Wednesday, August 29, with 144,940 visitors;
Thursday, August 30, with 156,764 visitors; and an all-time single-day attendance record set on
Saturday, September 1, with 270,426 visitors.
The Minnesota State Fair’s agricultural and creative competitions drew more than 36,000 entries this year, with competitors vying for a share of ribbons, trophies and more than $1.5 million in prize money. Competitions included events for livestock, horses, 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 Purple Ribbon Auction on Saturday, August 25, set seven new record prices and raised more than $690,000 to benefit youth programs statewide, of which $62,000 was awarded to 40 youth in scholarships.
In open class livestock competitions, supreme champion titles were awarded to the best grand champions out of all beef and dairy breeds, and breeding sheep and swine. Mary Thompson of Houston received the award for Open Class Supreme Champion Dairy Goat Herd. FFA Supreme Champion Breeding Female premiums were also awarded, and Jordan Markegard of the Rushford-Peterson FFA Chapter
was awarded this premium for the “swine” category.
The award-winning CHS Miracle of Birth Center welcomed 217 newborn animals, including 157 piglets, 12 calves and 42 lambs and, for the first time ever, six kids (goats).
The 2018 Outstanding Senior Citizen Awards were presented to Judy Peterson of Itasca County and Al Sannerud of Anoka County. A ceremony was held at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell on Thursday, August 30, to honor 63 seniors representing 36 Minnesota counties. This year’s ceremony was sponsored by Humana.
The 2019 Minnesota State Fair will run from August 22 through Labor Day, September 2. For more information, visit mnstatefair.org.