Attendance was largest since 1969


Wisconsin State Fair Park officials have announced that the 2013 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, was a record-breaking year on many levels.

      Mild temperatures, low humidity and very little rain served as a perfect backdrop for Fairgoers to come out and enjoy the Fair every day of the 11-day run, a release noted.

      While the weekends brought out large crowds, weekdays also proved to be popular this year, with anywhere from 71,000 – 122,000 people coming out each day to enjoy the diverse exhibits, entertainment and wide array of delicious food items the Fair offered in 2013.

      In the end, 1,012,552 Fairgoers celebrated this monumental year together, an increase of almost 10 percent over the 2012 attendance of 920,962. This is the largest reported attendance since 1969, though truly accurate attendance records, based on the scanning of tickets at the gates, have only been available since 2002 when the Fair first invested in ticket scanning technology.

      “I’ve worked in Fair management for over 30 years,” stated Rick Frenette, chief executive officer of Wisconsin State Fair Park. “There are very few fairs in the country that host more than a million people each year, and while the Wisconsin State Fair has long been considered one of the top fairs in the United States, it is still such an honor to reach this landmark number. I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all of the Fairgoers who came out to enjoy the Fair this year.”

      “This year’s weather was almost perfect – and all of us who work in this industry know how important the weather is to our success,” added Frenette.

      “We are fully aware that reaching attendance of over a million very well may be a once-in-lifetime event, but at the same time, just because the weather is beautiful does not necessarily mean people want to spend their hard-earned money at your event,” he added.

      The success of this fair is also driven by the quality of the event and the memorable experiences that our visitors have each year. I would like to thank my staff for producing an event that over a million people came out to enjoy, and also thank our sponsors for helping us make this possible,” he said.

      Here are some facts from this year’s fair:

      Over 3,200 exhibitors participated in 2013 fair competitions, some in multiple classes. This includes open and junior class livestock shows as well as horticulture, textiles, crafts, culinary, cheese, meat, wine, beer and other miscellaneous competitions such as young people’s art, dog diving and more.

      Fairgoers enjoyed the beauty of 8,808 flowers and plants that were planted before this year’s fair, and 1,145 people completed the new Garden Walk, which featured 10 garden areas at the Fair Park.

      Several admission promotions not only provided fairgoers ways to save money but also contributed to notable causes. More than 31,000 patrons received discounted admission on Wells Fargo $2 Day benefiting Hunger Task Force, donating 122,500 pounds of food as well as over $7,000 in cash donations to the Hunger Task Force.

      As part of Kohl’s Family Value Day on Monday, Aug. 5, more than 23,000 adults received admission for $5 and almost 16,000 children ages 11 and under received free admission.

      In turn, Kohl’s Cares and the Wisconsin State Fair once again hosted an extremely successful “Fair Day” at Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

      On Wednesday, Aug. 7, as part of UW-Madison Day, over 7,300 patrons received discounted admission and in turn donated over 7,300 new school supplies to Milwaukee Public Schools.

      Both Weather Tight and U.S. Cellular hosted successful coupon promotions, with more than 16,000 coupons redeemed for discounted admission.

      On the final day of the Fair 8,700 Veterans, Military personnel and their families received free admission as part of Miller High Life Veteran’s & Military Recognition Day.



      All three major auctions during the Fair were successful. The Governor’s Red, White & Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction raised $239,750, nearly $18,000 more than 2012. The Grand Champion Steer exhibited by Dan Spoerlein sold for $30,000. The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction raised over $80,000 and set a new record for the Grand Champion Flavored Bacon, from Newton Meats, which sold for $6,200.

      The Blue Ribbon Cheese & Butter Auction raised over $30,000. Much of the money raised at these auctions contributes to youth scholarships.


High fliers

      Fairgoers took over 120,000 slides down the famous Giant Slide on their burlap sacks, as well as over 110,000 Sky Glider trips across the Fair Park. Almost 1,400 people were catapulted 170 feet into the air in the Ejection Seat, going from 0 to 70 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds. Over 16,000 young adults enjoyed the power jump trampolines.  


Who ate what?         

      The Wisconsin Bakers Association sold over 387,000 Original Cream Puffs and Arctic Glacier supplied our vendors with over 467,000 lbs. of ice. Catalano’s kept Fairgoers hydrated with over 44,000 lemonades consumed during the 11 days.

      In the Wisconsin Products Pavilion the Real Wisconsin Cheese Grill sold almost 62,000 grilled cheese sandwiches and the Wisconsin Potato Growers served up over 57,000 baked potatoes.

      The new Beer Donuts at Miller Lite Sports Bar & Grill proved to be popular, with over 18,000 consumed. The Washington County FFA served up over 35,000 Ice Cream Sundaes. Fairgoers filled (and re-filled) over 85,000 Wisconsin State Fair Souvenir Cups throughout the 11 days.

      It was also a landmark year for the Fair’s social media presence. In the midst of the 2013 Fair the Fair’s Facebook page reached the 100,000 Likes mark, and its number of Twitter followers now exceeds 10,000.

      The 2014 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, will take place July 31 – Aug. 10, 2014. For the more information, visit or and


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