Thursday, September 10, 2009

Minnesota State Fair Sets New Attendance Record

Recession must be over?
WSJ/WASHINGTON -- The U.S. economy continued to stabilize in July and August, but soft consumer spending amid a weak job market suggested that recovery will remain subdued. Consumer spending drives much of the economy. People are afraid to spend much because they have lost or are afraid of losing their jobs.

We keep hearing reports like the one above about "soft consumer spending." But then how do we explain this:

StarTribune -- Minnesota State Fair officials reported Tuesday that attendance hit an all-time record by the time the gates closed Monday night (September 7). A total of 1,790,497 people made their way to the fairgrounds during the 12-day run (see photo above). That exceeded the old record, set in 2001, by 27,521. Those bumper crowds spent $25.2 million on food and drink (not including beer) during the fair's run, $1.1 million more than last year.


At 9/10/2009 9:30 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

Meanwhile, the Michigan State Fair is shutting down.

At 9/10/2009 9:44 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

WalMart, McDonalds and Family Dollar are posting record revenues, even as overall consumer spending is weak.

Perhaps the State Fair falls into that category? (i.e. trading down, staycation, etc.)

The old record was also set in a recession (Fall 2001).

At 9/10/2009 9:45 AM, Blogger Jack Croww said...

I'm guessing they are going to the fair because it is seen as a less expensive venue then they have been used to and they've been "deprived" of other outings during the spring/summer while being cautious about spending.

At 9/10/2009 10:03 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

Attendance at the Michigan State Fair, a state with one of the worst unemployment rates in the nation, drew only 217,000 visitors this year. It's peak attendance was in 1966, when it drew 1.2 million visitors.

If anyone needs cheap entertainment, it is hapless Michiganders.

Apparently, the Norwegian bachelor farmers of MN are more interested in corn dogs and midways than the out-of-work auto [non]workers of MI.

At 9/10/2009 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ever heard of an inferior good?

At 9/10/2009 10:43 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

anon: touché

At 9/10/2009 11:21 AM, Anonymous Brad S said...

The Great MN Get-Together wasn't the only fair to set record attendance:

And the Nebraska State Fair also set records, despite being set to move to another city next year:

At 9/10/2009 4:24 PM, Blogger Bill said...

Looks like the problem is that the fair is held in Detroit. Move it to another part of the state (or even another part of the metro area and it might do better.

At 9/10/2009 6:37 PM, Anonymous Benny The Free Marketeer said...

Corn has has a couple great years. And state fairs are cheap.
I am going the LA County Fair this weekend, a truly awful place. Kids like it though.

At 9/10/2009 10:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of the reason may be the unusual weather the Twin Cities had during the fair run this year.

Not only was it unusually dry, but it was unusually pleasant - sunny, with high temps mostly in the 70's. Darned near perfect weather.

It's also a relatively cheap activity as long as you don't overeat (difficult), don't ride the rides on the Midway (not so difficult) and go only to the free entertainment venues (easy).

At 9/11/2009 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The State Fair is a tradition and might lend a sense of normalcy at a time when so much of life seems uncertain. It reminds us of a time when things were more simple. Maybe Fair-goers will renew their appreciation for the small things in life, like a fresh ear of corn.

Then again, maybe they just go for the unlimited milk.


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