The Minnesota State Fair is a public corporation and a quasi-state agency, as defined by state law. The fair is financially self-supporting and receives no financial appropriations of any kind from state government.
The fair is governed by the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, which is charged exclusively with governance of the State Fair. Society delegates represent all 87 county fairs in Minnesota, along with delegates from 43 regional and statewide agricultural groups. At its annual meeting each January, this group of delegates elects a 10-member board of managers to set policy and provide oversight for the fair. Nine members represent the Agricultural Society’s nine regional districts, and the 10th member (the president) serves at large.
The society has remained dedicated to its original purpose of promoting Minnesota agriculture since its inception in 1854, four years before Minnesota became a state.
In addition to financing the annual production of the fair, the State Agricultural Society is responsible for all capital work and maintenance of the 322-acre fairgrounds, which is classified as state property. Fairgrounds facilities and infrastructure are conservatively valued at nearly $300 million. In a typical year, the Agricultural Society will invest between $6 million and $20 million in improvements and maintenance to the State Fairgrounds. The state invests nothing. The fair has nearly 80 year-round full-time staff members. During the summer, about 450 staff are added to complete preparations. There are more than 2,300 fair-time staff members. The annual economic impact in the Twin Cities is a Super Bowl-sized $290 million.