Skip to content

Aug. 22 – Labor Day, Sept. 2, 2024

92 Days 5 Hours 54 Mins

History: Trivia

  • What is the oldest food concession on the fairgrounds?

Hamline Church Dining Hall, which began operating in 1897

  • When did the All You Can Drink Milk tradition begin?


  • Fresh French Fries made its debut at the fair in what year?


  • When was the Pronto Pup introduced at the State Fair? 


  • In what year did Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar start offering pails of cookies?


  • Tom Thumb Donuts were invented and introduced at the Minnesota State Fair in what year?


  • When was the first llama show held at the State Fair?


  • Which largest boar was the largest of them all?

In 2010, crossbred swine Reggie weighed in at 1,450 lbs.

  • In what year was the CHS Miracle of Birth Center built? 


  • Which State Fair day in history holds the record for total rainfall?

On Aug. 30, 1977, it rained 7.35 inches.

  • What is the Minnesota State Fair’s all-time attendance record, and when was it set?

2,126,551 guests attended the fair in 2019.

  • Who broke the all-time record for the most tickets sold to a single Grandstand show?

In 2000, Christina Aguilera sold 22,117 tickets. The next year, the Grandstand seating was reconfigured, and the mostly bench seating was replaced with stadium-type chairs.

  • Who set the attendance record in the current Grandstand seating configuration?

In 2013, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed to a sold-out crowd of 16,529.

  • What are the record high and low temperatures during the fair?

High: 104 degrees in 1931; Record low: 33 degrees in 1890

  • Which artist/band has made more Grandstand appearances than any other performer?

Alabama with 19 performances

  • Before the Ramsey County Poor Farm near St. Paul became the State Fair’s permanent home, what other Minnesota cities hosted the time-honored event?

Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Red Wing, Winona and Owatonna

  • Were there fairs in the area before Minnesota became a state?

Yes. The governing body of the State Fair is older than the state. Founded in 1854, the Minnesota Agricultural Society held its first Territorial Fair in 1855. The same organization continued to present fairs after Minnesota was granted statehood in 1858.

  • What year did the Society hold the first Minnesota State Fair?

1859 – one year after Minnesota became a state

  • What year was the Minnesota State Fair first held on the current fairgrounds?


  • When did the Streetcar Arch, now residing at the West End Gate, make its first appearance at the State Fair?


  • What year were gas lights first used at the State Fair, allowing the fair to operate after sunset?


  • What unusual attraction debuted at the 1898 State Fair?

“Daylight Fireworks”

  • In 1902, the St. Paul and Minneapolis school boards pushed the opening day of school back to the Monday after the State Fair. What was their reason for doing this?

Education authorities stated there was “more to be learned in a single day at the fair than in double the time at school or college.”

  • What year did legendary pacer horse Dan Patch make his Minnesota State Fair debut?


  • What machine revolutionized the animal agriculture process and was first exhibited at the 1908 fair?

A dairy cattle milking machine

  • The first 12-day State Fair was held in what year?

1975. Prior to this, the fair lasted anywhere from three days to 11 days.

  • Why did the State Fair’s Hippodrome (now the Warner Coliseum) need to be rebuilt?

During the 1940s, the A.O. Smith Corporation of Milwaukee took over the original Hippodrome, making it a World War II military aircraft factory for two years. After the propeller factory was removed, the Hippodrome was deemed “economically unfit for restoration” and was torn down.

  • Why was Theodore Roosevelt only able to attend one of his two planned speaking engagements at the 1912 State Fair?

After giving his first speech at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4, Mr. Roosevelt suffered a severe case of laryngitis.

  • In 1920, what was introduced to fair guests as the future of dining?

Reverend J.M. Batinger’s Automatic Eater, an all-you-can-eat buffet served on a rotating conveyor belt. Price: 50¢

  • Why has the State Fair Grandstand been called “the house that Dan Patch built?”

The current Grandstand was constructed in 1909 to accommodate the enormous crowds attracted to harness racing by world-famous pacer horse Dan Patch.

  • How did most of the streets on the fairgrounds get their names?

Most streets on the fairgrounds are named in recognition of past State Agricultural Society leaders and individuals who shaped the State Fair between 1854 and 1940.

  • Has the Saint Paul Winter Carnival Medallion ever been hidden on the fairgrounds?

The Winter Carnival Medallion has been hidden on the fairgrounds twice: First in 1953, near the Poultry Building by the base of a tree; and in 1967, between the Judging Arena and the KTCA-Channel 2 booth, lodged in a horseshoe under 8 inches of ice.

  • Which United States president gave one of his most famous speeches at the State Fair?

Theodore Roosevelt gave his “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” speech in 1901 when he was serving as vice president.

  • What special event took place at the fairgrounds on June 22, 1910?

The first airplane flight in Minnesota history.

  • When did State Fair attendance first top the 1 million mark?

On Sept. 5, 1955. Robert Karklin received a wristwatch and silver trophy for being the fair’s millionth guest.

  • Why wasn’t there a fair in 1946?

Polio epidemic

  • In the late 1980s, world-famous aerialist Jay Cochran walked on a high-wire stretched between the tops of which two State Fair structures?

The 4-H Building and the Space Tower

  • What insect was blamed for reducing attendance at the 1875 fair?


  • In what year was the first statewide Princess Kay of the Milky Way contest held?


  • In what year was the Bandshell constructed?


  • In what year did the Agriculture Horticulture Building open?


  • What is the oldest amusement at the fairgrounds?

Ye Old Mill, which began operating in 1915

  • In what year was the Space Tower built?


  • The 330-foot Space Tower was built in Germany and shipped to which Minnesota city before being loaded onto 20 trucks to finally arrive at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds?


  • What architectural styles can be seen among the State Fair’s historic buildings?

Art Deco, Beaux Arts, Classical, Early Colonial and modern

  • At the 1906 State Fair, the St. Paul Growers Association built a model of the new State Capitol out of what vegetable?


  • What year was the first nighttime Grandstand show?

1899; It consisted of an hour of harness racing followed by a massive fireworks show.