Sponsored By
Wisconsin Agriculturist Logo

Wisconsin State Fair an all-around successWisconsin State Fair an all-around success

Badger View: Over 1 million visitors attended the 2023 fair in West Allis, Wis.

Fran O'Leary

September 1, 2023

3 Min Read
Boy showing cow with judges at Wisconsin State Fair
SHOWING SUCCESS: One of my favorite things to do at the Wisconsin State Fair is watch kids show dairy cattle during the Junior Dairy Show. FRAN O’LEARY

More than 1 million people — 1,043,350, to be exact — attended the 11-day Wisconsin State Fair from Aug. 3-13 in West Allis.

Ideal weather with mild temperatures, low humidity and very little rain no doubt helped boost attendance at the 2023 state fair, but diverse ag and educational exhibits, big-name entertainment, great carnival rides and a wide variety of food were the main reasons the Wisconsin State Fair welcomed more than 1 million visitors again this year. The fair truly offered something for everyone.

Shari Black, executive director and CEO of Wisconsin State Fair Park, agrees. “We’re blown away by the commitment our incredible fairgoers, exhibitors, vendors and staff have that continues to make the Wisconsin State Fair a time-honored tradition,” Black says. “Thank you to all who helped showcase our state during the best 11 days of summer.”

1 million visitors

There are very few state fairs left in the country that can still attract more than 1 million fairgoers like the Wisconsin State Fair. Two of those events are in neighboring states:

  • A total of 1,842,222 people attended the 12-day 2022 Minnesota State Fair. This year’s fair in St. Paul is Aug. 24 to Sept. 4.

  • The 11-day 2023 Iowa State Fair, held Aug. 10-20 in Des Moines, attracted 1,048,244 people — less than 5,000 more than the attendance in Wisconsin.

  • A total of 636,700 people attended the 11-day 2023 Illinois State Fair Aug. 10-20 in Springfield.

But then there are states like Michigan, which hasn’t had a state fair since 2009. Attendance dwindled to just over 200,000 visitors, and the fair was canceled.

The fun and excitement of the Wisconsin State Fair seems to grow with each passing year. All in all, celebrating 172 years of state fair tradition proved to be a favorite part of many families’ summer plans this year. Here are a few fun fair facts:

  • About 10,000 competitive exhibits and animal entries were showcased this year: open and junior class dairy and livestock shows, horticulture, crafts, foods, cheese, meat, wine, beer, young people’s art, dog diving and more.

  • Fairgoers enjoyed the beauty of 24,000 flowers and plants that were manicured by the in-house flower crew.

  • Fairgoers took nearly 100,000 slides down the famous Giant Slide on burlap sacks.

  • The Wisconsin Bakers Association served over 307,000 original cream puffs.

  • All three major auctions during the fair were very successful.

The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction raised a record-breaking $403,150. The grand champion steer, exhibited by Tori Crisp of Union Grove, Wis., was sold to Kenosha Beef for $40,000. More than $105,000 was raised in the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction. Lastly, the Blue Ribbon Dairy Products Auction raised $50,155.

According to the Wisconsin State Fair, portions of funds raised at the auctions benefit Wisconsin’s youth agriculture programs and will provide scholarships.

Attendance boosters

In addition to great exhibits, entertainment and weather, I believe state fair officials did a great job of boosting attendance with admission promotions that not only provided fairgoers ways to save money, but also contributed to worthy causes.

Having the right balance between educational and commercial exhibits, entertainment, food, and fun activities, as well as providing admission promotions to get more families to come to the fair made for a very successful 2023 Wisconsin State Fair. A great stretch of weather didn’t hurt, either. Congratulations to Wisconsin State Fair organizers for a job well done.

Read more about:

State Fair

About the Author(s)

Fran O'Leary

Wisconsin Agriculturist Editor

Even though Fran was born and raised on a farm in Illinois, she has spent most of her life in Wisconsin. She moved to the state when she was 18 years old and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

Fran has 25 years of experience writing, editing and taking pictures. Before becoming editor of the Wisconsin Agriculturist in 2003, she worked at Johnson Hill Press in Fort Atkinson as a writer and editor of farm business publications and at the Janesville Gazette in Janesville as farm editor and feature writer. Later, she signed on as a public relations associate at Bader Rutter in Brookfield, and served as managing editor and farm editor at The Reporter, a daily newspaper in Fond du Lac.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like