FALCON HEIGHTS, Minnesota (AP) _ Attendance on the first day of the Minnesota State Fair declined by about half as the fair returned after missing it due to the coronavirus pandemic last year.
Amid simmering concerns about the Delta variant and the refusal of exhibition officials to request masks or proof of vaccination, 61,983 attendees were in attendance on Thursday. That’s less than half of the 2019 record of about 133,000.
Thursday’s slight turnout was likely also affected by violent thunderstorms that broke through Minneapolis-St. Paul area in the afternoon.
Fair officials announced earlier this month that they would not need face masks or vaccination certificates for this year’s event.
Around 150 providers have withdrawn, but labor shortages and supply chain problems have also been cited as factors.
LOOK: Here are the best seaside towns to live in
Many of the enclosed cities strike the casual observer as popular summer vacation rental spots – Branson in the Ozarks, Missouri, or Lake Havasu in Arizona – it might surprise you to delve deeper into some of the quality of life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You will likely acquire some knowledge of a wide variety of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida city that began as a retirement area for Civil War veterans; an island with some of the best public schools in the country and wealthy people in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town with a lot more than Johnny Cash’s prison blues.