FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - On Labor Day, the magic number for the Minnesota State Fair is 122,375.
If attendance exceeds that figure on Monday, the fair will break the 12-day attendance record of 1,999,320 set in 2017. Based on the past few Labor Day crowd sizes, it's likely that record will be eclipsed when the final totals come out on Tuesday.
If that does indeed occur, the Minnesota State Fair will have set a 12-day record for the fourth time in five years. As the crowds continue to grow at record pace every year, fair spokesperson Danielle Dullinger said officials might need to at least consider placing a cap on daily attendance for safety reasons.
Take Saturday, for example: It set an all-time daily record with more than 270,000 people crossing through the gates.
"There's a chance, down the line, that there would be a capacity if we keep growing. But at this time, we don't feel like we need to," Dullinger said. "Because not all the 270,000 people are on the grounds at once. There's so many gates, they're moving all around, and with the North End (remodeling), we think the crowds definitely moved around a little bit more."
Dullinger said the new amenities on the North End, including the Pet Pavilion, may be one reason why attendance jumped again in 2018. Although the fair hasn't ruled out a crowd capacity at some point, Dullinger did seem to rule out any possibility that the state fair would expand beyond 12 days to accommodate crowds.
That's because the schedule is specifically designed to allow people time to travel to Minnesota along with other fairs across the country.
"People come to the Iowa State fair before us, then they move on to Texas, or Oklahoma or other state fairs," Dullinger said. "In order to keep that high-level caliber of vendors, we really don't feel we can extend it past Labor Day."
So you can expect another 12-day Minnesota State Fair in 2019 and beyond.
Not that people are complaining. Patrick Allgood, a Minneapolis resident, has been attending the fair for decades and doesn't seem fazed by the growth of the crowds, although he does acknowledge they're considerably larger than in years past.
"I've never seen this many people in my life. It's crowded, but you can walk fine. People are great," Allgood said. "The more the people, the more for Minnesota. I love it."