State Fair vendors report drastic decline in sales as weather, COVID-19 keep visitors at bay |

State Fair vendors report drastic decline in sales as weather, COVID-19 keep visitors at bay

Brittney Ermon
Updated: August 28, 2021 10:33 PM
Created: August 28, 2021 08:42 PM

Minnesota State Fair attendance is dramatically down compared to the record-setting early days of 2019, according to fair officials.

The weather has played a big part in attendance, and so has the pandemic.

On Thursday, attendance was down 46% compared to 2019. It was a similar trend on Friday with attendance down almost 50%

Vendors said the low attendance is bad for business. 

"I just love making sausage and trying new varieties,” said Cynthia Forster-Kavanaugh, owner of Sausage by Cynthia. 

Kavanaugh has been serving up sausages from across the globe at the Minnesota State Fair for 32 years. 

But in a pandemic? That's a first. 

"We try and make a living as best we can,” she said. 

She and hundreds of other businesses are navigating every pandemic twist and turn.

"So far it's really slow. We weren't too sure what to expect,” Kavanaugh said. 

Sausage by Cynthia sales are down 60%. The owner thinks COVID and severe weather are to blame. 

The crowd size is a shock to most vendors. 

In 2019, wall-to-wall crowds were a state fair staple.

“We could not see across the street unless we were standing up and viewing the other side. It was just so many people,” Kavanaugh said. 

Sadie's Custard is also seeing a dip in sales.

“So far things have been slow with the rain, but we're really hoping with the nicer weather coming up that things will pick back up,” Sadie’s Custard worker Michael Hall said. 

Vendors are choosing to weather this storm by staying optimistic. 

"We're putting our best foot forward. We're trying to be optimistic and have a great time,” Kavanaugh said. 

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