The fair is a twelve-day event held in August and ending on Labor Day in September. It's referred to as the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the region. It attracts almost 1.8 million guests each year.

The MN State Fair is self-supporting and has not received any public or government money appropriations of any kind since 1949. It's governed by the MN State Agricultural Society. The fair's income comes from ticket sales, licensing commercial exhibit space, rental of fair facilities for non-fair events, and other areas. In a typical year the society $5-6 million in fairgrounds improvement and maintenance.

History

The first Minnesota State Fair was in 1859 near the current downtown Minneapolis. It started out as an event that emphasized agriculture and encouraged farming. The original fair had started in 1854, when Minnesota was still a territory.

During the early years of the fair, the site changed annually; there were stops in Minneapolis, Owatonna, St. Paul, Red Wing, Rochester, and Winona. In 1885, the MN State Fair had a permanent location where it's still held today. The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners donated their 210-acre farm to the State Agricultural Society, which is the governing body of the sate fair.

The fair's attractions have changed since it first started. The fair was first known for it's ag. exhibits and competitions. However, now it also includes entertainment, tech and industrial exhibits, and education and government institutions. Another thing that many Minnesotans will tell you, the fair is famous for its variety of food.

Did you know the fair has been held annually with five exceptions? In 1861 and 1862, due to the Civil War and Dakota Indian Conflict, in 1893 because of scheduling conflicts with the World's Columbian Expo in Chicago, in 1945 due to war-time fuel shortages, and in 1946 due to a polio epidemic.

You can find more about the history by sending your questions to history@mnstatefair.org.

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