To say that Wisconsin State Fair Park Officials are excited to announce the 2019 attendance numbers may be an understatement, considering that not only did 1,130,572 people visit the fair this year, but five days saw record attendance and several other never-seen-before numbers were reached.
Both weekends and weekdays brought out large crowds, breaking attendance records on Sunday, Aug. 4 and Monday, Aug. 5, as well as Thursday, Aug. 8, Friday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug. 10.
In the end, 1,130,572 fair goers celebrated this epic year, marking the seventh year in a row that attendance has reached more than one million. The only fair in the 168-year history of the event reporting higher attendance than 2019 was in 1948 when the fair was 23 days long in celebration of Wisconsin’s Centennial year. The attendance that year equated to an average of 77,688 people per day. The 2019 average daily attendance was 102,779. It is also important to note that prior to 2002 attendance was estimated, as tickets were not scanned at the gates; therefore 2019 marks 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,” stated Kathleen O’Leary, chief executive officer of Wisconsin 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 fair goers 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. The Wisconsin State Fair is an 11-day celebration and showcase of everything we should be so proud of in Wisconsin. I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the event, as well as our sponsors, vendors and partners who helped make this a record-breaking year.”
Chairman of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board, John Yingling, reiterated this sentiment while adding “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. There are many things to enjoy on a beautiful summer day in Wisconsin, and the fact that more than one 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.”
Considering the number of attendees, including more than half who come from outside of the Milwaukee area, the State Fair event alone is estimated to generate more than $200 million dollars in direct and indirect economic impact annually in the Milwaukee region. Also, the Wisconsin State Fair has a 168-year history of showcasing the agriculture industry in Wisconsin, and according to a report released today, agriculture’s total economic impact to our state is more than $100 billion, with the dairy industry generating nearly half of that.
Nearly 3700 exhibitors participated in 2019 Fair competitions, many in multiple contests and classes. This includes livestock shows as well as horticulture, textiles, crafts, culinary, cheese, meat, wine, beer and others. More than 10,000 animals were entered in competitions this year, and nearly 20,000 Competitive Exhibit entries were judged, including a record-breaking number of vegetables and herbs. Fair goers enjoyed the beauty of nearly 40,000 flowers and plants displayed throughout the Fair Park. A record-breaking 650 people attended this year’s Century and Sesquicentennial Farm Breakfast, which honored 145 Century Farms and 29 Sesquicentennial Farms.
In addition to exciting attendance and agriculture statistics, many of the Fair’s partners and vendors reported record-breaking statistics as well. Here are a few fun facts from some of the most beloved Fair attractions and foods:
Several admission promotions not only provided Fair goers ways to save money but also contributed to notable causes. On opening day during Wells Fargo $2 Day benefiting Hunger Task Force, fair goers donated more than 106,000 lbs. of food, as well as $18,000 in cash donations to Hunger Task Force.
The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction raised $255,850, while the and Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction raised nearly $100,000 and the Blue Ribbon Dairy Products Auction raised nearly $52,000. A significant portion of the funds raised at these auctions benefit for Wisconsin’s youth agriculture programs and provide scholarships.
Fair goers took more than 120,000 slides down the Giant Slide this year, as well as more than 115,000 Sky Glider trips across the Fair Park.
The Wisconsin Bakers Association once again sold more than 400,000 Original Cream Puffs. In the Wisconsin Products Pavilion, the Real Wisconsin Cheese Grill sold nearly 60,000 grilled cheese sandwiches, the Wisconsin Potato Growers served up more than 41,000 baked potatoes.
Sporkies Food Competition Champion Poncho Dog served up 20,000 Buffalo Chicken Cheese Curd Tacos. The Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association sold more than 14,000 ribeye sandwiches and fair goers enjoyed more than 20,000 pork chop sandwiches served by the Wisconsin Pork Producers. Saz’s three locations at the Fair Park served nearly 65,000 Deep-Fried Mozzarella Sticks hand-rolled with Real Wisconsin Cheese!
It was also a landmark year for State Fair’s website, with more than 5.4 million page views reached just during the 11 days of the Fair.
The 2020 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, will take place Aug. 6 – 16. The fair offers a unique experience to all who attend and is an exceptional value with 30 FREE entertainment stages, exciting rides and games in SpinCity, thousands of animals, endless family activities, events, contests, vendors and culinary delights. For more information, visit Wistatefair.com visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.