Wisconsin State Fair attendance reached new high in 2019

Up 8.9% compared to 2018 [SEE PHOTOS]

The 2019 Wisconsin State Fair set a new attendance record for the event.
The 2019 Wisconsin State Fair set a new attendance record for the event.

Last updated on August 15th, 2019 at 06:08 pm

The Wisconsin State Fair achieved a new attendance high in 2019, attracting 1,130,572 people.

Attendance for the 11-day event was up 8.9% this year compared to 2018, which was the Fair’s previous attendance record of 1,037,982.

In the 168-year history of the Fair, only 1948 had a higher attendance when the Fair was 23 days long (instead of the typical 11) in celebration of the state’s centennial year. Attendance that year was 77,688 per day. The 2019 average daily attendance was 102,779.

Prior to 2002 attendance at the Fair was estimated, because tickets were not scanned at the gates, so 2019 is the highest attendance on record that can be verified by ticketing technology.

“The Wisconsin State Fair has long been considered one of the top ten fairs in the country and achieving this record number puts us in the top five in terms of attendance,” said Kathleen O’Leary, chief executive officer of State Fair Park. “However, attendance isn’t the only thing that makes us one of the best; it’s about the experience that our loyal fairgoers come back for year after year, as well as the ‘first-timers’ who, once they experience it first-hand, are in awe of all there is to enjoy.”

“We are aware that great weather helped us reach record-breaking attendance, but beautiful weather does not necessarily mean people want to attend your event,” said State Fair Park Board chairman John Yingling. “There are many things to enjoy on a beautiful summer day in Wisconsin, and the fact that more than 1 million people again chose to spend their time at the Wisconsin State Fair is a testament to the quality of the event and the memorable experiences that our visitors have each year. Thank you to the staff, board and all of our partners for helping to make this year’s Fair a tremendous success.”

The Fair says it generates an estimated $200 million in direct and indirect economic activity in the Milwaukee region.

Other notable numbers from the 2019 Wisconsin State Fair:

  • 3,700 exhibitors
  • More than 10,000 animals entered in competitions
  • Nearly 20,000 competitive exhibit entries
  • 40,000 flowers and plants were displayed throughout the park during the Fair
  • 650 people, a new high, attended the Century and Sesquicentennial Farm Breakfast
  • Fairgoers donated 106,000 pounds of food and $18,000 in cash to the Hunger Task Force
  • The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction raised $255,850
  • The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction raised nearly $100,000
  • The Blue Ribbon Dairy Products Auction raised nearly $52,000
  • Fairgoers took more than 120,000 slides down the Giant Slide
  • Fairgoers took more than 115,000 Sky Glider trips
  • More than 400,000 cream puffs were sold
  • Real Wisconsin Cheese Grill sold nearly 60,000 grilled cheese sandwiches
  • The Wisconsin Potato Growers served more than 41,000 baked potatoes
  • Poncho Dog served 20,000 Buffalo Chicken Cheese Curd Tacos
  • The Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association sold more than 14,000 ribeye sandwiches
  • The Wisconsin Pork Producers served more than 20,000 pork chop sandwiches
  • Saz’s sold nearly 65,000 deep-fried mozzarella sticks

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Andrew Weiland
Andrew Weiland is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.