A state fair is an annual competitive and recreational gathering of a U.S. state's population, usually held in late summer or early fall. It is a larger version of a county fair, often including only exhibits or competitors that have won in their categories at the more-local county fairs.
State fairs began in the nineteenth century for the purpose of promoting state agriculture, through competitive exhibitions of livestock and display of farm products. As the U.S. evolved from a predominantly agrarian to an industrial society in the twentieth century, and the more service economy of the 21st century, modern state fairs have expanded to include carnival amusement rides and games, display of industrial products, automobile racing, and entertainment such as musical concerts. Large fairs can admit more than a million visitors over the course of a week or two. The first U.S. state fair was that of New York, held in 1841 in Syracuse, and has been held annually to the present year. The second state fair was in Detroit, Michigan, which ran from 1849 to 2009.
Events similar to state fairs are also held annually in each state capital in Australia, known as royal shows. Australian royal shows are organized by state agricultural and horticultural societies, and are described further in the agricultural show article.
List of state fairs
|State or Region||Fair Name||Location||Attendance (year)||Attendance as % of State Pop.|
|Alabama||Alabama State Fair||Pelham|
|Alabama||Alabama National Fair||Montgomery|
|Alaska||Kenai Peninsula State Fair||Ninilchik||7,300 (2013)||.99%|
|Alaska||Southeast Alaska State Fair||Haines|
|Alaska||Tanana Valley State Fair||Fairbanks||12.49%|
|Alaska||Alaska State Fair||Palmer||299,698 (2015)||40.68%|
|Arizona||Arizona State Fair||Phoenix||1,102,044 (2015)||16.37%|
|Arizona||Navajo Nation Fair||Window Rock||100,000 (2016)||57.58% (of Navajo Nation)|
|Arkansas||Arkansas State Fair||Little Rock||473,106 (2015)||15.95%|
|California||California State Fair||Sacramento||673,237 (2016)||1.7%|
|Colorado||Colorado State Fair||Pueblo||466,576 (2016)||8.71%|
|Delaware||Delaware State Fair||Harrington||262,587 (2016)||28.07%|
|District of Columbia||DC State Fair||Washington|
|Florida||Florida State Fair||Tampa||395,435 (2016)||1.99%|
|Georgia||Georgia State Fair||Hampton|
|Georgia||Georgia National Fair||Perry, Georgia||535,000 (2016)||5.30%|
|Georgia||North Georgia State Fair||Marietta||320,000 (2016)||3.17%|
|Hawaii||Hawaii 50th State Fair||Aiea|
|Idaho||Eastern Idaho State Fair||Blackfoot||229,992 (2015)||14.08%|
|Idaho||Western Idaho Fair||Boise||243,474 (2016)||14.90%|
|Idaho||North Idaho Fair||Coeur d'Alene||84,600 (2015)||5.18%|
|Illinois||DuQuoin State Fair||Du Quoin|
|Illinois||Illinois State Fair||Springfield||509,000 (2019)||4.00%|
|Indiana||Indiana State Fair||Indianapolis||730,000 (2016)||11.07%|
|Iowa||Iowa State Fair||Des Moines||1,130,260 (2018)||35.93%|
|Kansas||Kansas State Fair||Hutchinson||359,808 (2016)||12.39%|
|Kentucky||Kentucky State Fair||Louisville||609,955 (2017)||13.7%|
|Louisiana||Cajun Heartland State Fair||Lafayette|
|Louisiana||Greater Baton Rouge State Fair||Baton Rouge|
|Louisiana||State Fair of Louisiana||Shreveport||379,700 (2017)||9.78%|
|Maine||Bangor State Fair||Bangor|
|Maine||Skowhegan State Fair||Skowhegan|
|Maine||Fryeburg Fair||Fryeburg||166,838 (2016)||12.54%|
|Maryland||Maryland State Fair||Timonium||407,000 (2013)||6.81%|
|Michigan||Great Lakes State Fair||Novi||Closed in 2009|
|Michigan||Third Bank Michigan State Fair||Novi, Michigan||92,000 (2014)||.93%|
|Michigan||Upper Peninsula State Fair||Escanaba||80,000 (2013)||.81%|
|Minnesota||Minnesota State Fair||Falcon Heights||2,126,551 (2019)||37.90%|
|Mississippi||Mississippi State Fair||Jackson||733,151 (2016)||24.49%|
|Missouri||Missouri State Fair||Sedalia||366,218 (2013)||6.04%|
|Montana||Montana State Fair||Great Falls||54,938 (2015)||5.37%|
|Montana||MontanaFair||Billings, Montana||226,333 (2016)||22.10%|
|Nebraska||Nebraska State Fair||Grand Island||379,108 (2017) ||19.88%|
|Nevada||Nevada State Fair||Reno||Closed|
|Nevada||The Nevada Fair||Carson City, Nevada||22,000 (2015)||.77%|
|New England||The Big E||West Springfield, Massachusetts||1,543,470 (2018)||10.4%|
|New Hampshire||Hopkinton State Fair||Contoocook|
|New Jersey||New Jersey State Fair||Augusta||420,000 (2013)||4.70%|
|New Mexico||New Mexico State Fair||Albuquerque||497,000 (2016)||23.83%|
|New Mexico||Southern New Mexico State Fair||Las Cruces|
|New Mexico||Northern Navajo Nation Fair||Shiprock|
|New York||Great New York State Fair||Syracuse||1,329,275 (2019)||6.8%|
|North Carolina||North Carolina State Fair||Raleigh||1,028,364 (2016)||10.34%|
|North Carolina||Dixie Classic Fair||Winston Salem||357,416 (2011)||3.7%|
|North Carolina||North Carolina Mountain State Fair||Fletcher||187,819 (2007)||1.89%|
|North Dakota||North Dakota State Fair||Minot||293,123 (2016)||39.64%|
|Ohio||Ohio State Fair||Columbus||921,000 (2016)||7.95%|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma State Fair||Oklahoma City||900,000 (2012)||23.21%|
|Oklahoma||Tulsa State Fair||Tulsa||1,206,000 (2016 estimate)||31.10%|
|Oregon||Oregon State Fair||Salem||295,000 (2016 estimate)||7.43%|
|Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania Farm Show||Harrisburg||500,000 (approx) (2008)||3.91%|
|Pennsylvania||Allentown Fair||Allentown||500,000 (approx) (2014)||3.91%|
|Pennsylvania||Butler Fair||Prospect||240,000 (approx) (2011)||1.88%|
|Pennsylvania||Bloomsburg Fair||Bloomsburg||364,037 (2015)||2.85%|
|Pennsylvania||The Reading Fair||Reading||40,000 (2016)||0.3%|
|Pennsylvania||York Fair||York||555,252 (2016)||4.34%|
|Rhode Island||Washington County Fair||Richmond||around 100,000||9.48%|
|South Carolina||South Carolina State Fair||Columbia||464,878 (2016)||9.62%|
|South Dakota||South Dakota State Fair||Huron||211,371 (2016)||24.77%|
|Tennessee||Tennessee State Fair||Nashville||115,000 (2015)||1.76%|
|Tennessee||Delta Fair||Memphis||about 200,000 (2016)||3.05%|
|Tennessee||Tennessee Valley Fair||Knoxville||180,000 (approx)||2.75%|
|Texas||South Texas State Fair||Beaumont||175,000 (2014)||.65%|
|Texas||State Fair of Texas||Dallas||2,049,118 (2018)||7.24%|
|Texas||East Texas State Fair||Tyler||about 250,000 (estimate from 2016)||.93%|
|Texas||North Texas State Fair||Denton||140,000 (2009)||.52%|
|Utah||Utah State Fair||Salt Lake City||around 300,000 (2014)||10.19%|
|Vermont||Vermont State Fair||Rutland||61,604 (2010)||9.83%|
|Virginia||State Fair of Virginia||Caroline County||238,000 (2014)||2.86%|
|Washington||Central Washington State Fair||Yakima||312,191 (2016)||4.42%|
|Washington||Evergreen State Fair||Monroe||342,631 (2016)||4.85%|
|Washington||Northwest Washington Fair||Lynden||189,154 (2015)||2.68%|
|Washington||Washington State Fair||Puyallup||1,117,323 (2012)||15.82%|
|West Virginia||State Fair of West Virginia||Fairlea||155,000-160,000 (2016)||8.65%|
|Wisconsin||Wisconsin State Fair||West Allis||1,015,815 (2016)||17.64%|
|Wisconsin||Central Wisconsin State Fair||Marshfield||85,000 (2015)||1.48%|
|Wisconsin||Northern Wisconsin State Fair||Chippewa Falls||90,000 (2016)||1.56%|
|Wyoming||Wyoming State Fair||Douglas||about 50,000 (2012 estimate)||8.56%|
- The Eastern States Exposition, popularly known as The Big E, is a combined state fair for all six New England states. Each state has its own dedicated area during the fair.
- Percentage based on combined population for all New England states.
Provincial exhibitions in Canada
A few annual exhibitions in the summer in Canada are similar to state fairs in the United States:
|Province||Fair Name||Location||Attendance (year)|
|Alberta||Calgary Stampede||Calgary||1,214,972 (2017)|
|British Columbia||Pacific National Exhibition||Vancouver||712,049 (2013)|
|Ontario||Canadian National Exhibition||Toronto||1,360,000 (2013)|
|Ontario||Ottawa SuperEX||Ottawa||422,095 (2009)|
|Ontario||Royal Agricultural Winter Fair||Toronto|
|Manitoba||Red River Exhibition||Winnipeg||175,971 (2013)|
|Manitoba||Royal Manitoba Winter Fair||Brandon||114,000 (2012)|
|Saskatchewan||Canadian Western Agribition||Regina||122,300 (2013)|
- First place – blue ribbon
- Second place – red ribbon
- Third place – white ribbon
- Fourth place – yellow ribbon
- Fifth place – green ribbon
- Sixth place – orange ribbon
- Seventh place – purple ribbon
- Eighth place – brown ribbon
As of 2019, the largest attendance at a state fair in the USA is in Minnesota attracting 2,126,551 visitors. The largest average per day attendance is also at the Minnesota State Fair averaging just under 200,000 people per day.
- "New York State Fair :: The Encyclopedia of New York State :: Syracuse University Press". www.syracuseuniversitypress.syr.edu. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
- Michigan.gov Archived November 25, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
- Granholm cuts State Fair from budget Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- It's official: State Fair a goner Archived November 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- Tribble Greer, Carolyn (August 31, 2017). "It was a good year for the Kentucky State Fair". Louisville Business First. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- "Minnesota State Fair - Attendance". www.mnstatefair.org. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
- Rollin, Kelli (5 September 2017). "State Fair 2017 attendance nears all-time record". The Grand Island Independent. BH Media Group, Inc. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- Waterson, James and Seymour, Rachel Anne. Pulling Up Stakes: East Texas State Fair Says Goodbye Until Next Year. Tyler Morning Telegraph, October 4th, 2010, p. 1A, 6A
- "Calgary Stampede 2017 attendance tops 1.2M". CBC. 2017-07-17. Retrieved 2017-07-17.
- Mertz, Emily (July 31, 2017). "K-Days attendance soars despite 'curve ball' from Mother Nature". Globanews.ca. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
- "2013 PNE attendance falls short of goal". CTV British Columbia. Bell Media. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- Tedder, Sean (24 October 2013). "CNE attendance down slightly but weather to blame". The Toronto Star. Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "SuperEx attendance higher than last year". ctvottawa.ca. Bell Media. 31 August 2009. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "Weather rains on Red River Ex's parade; attendance down this year". Winnipeg Free Press. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- "Province Renews Support For Royal Manitoba Winter Fair". Government of Manitoba. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
- McDonald, Alyssa (12 April 2013). "Canadian Western Agribition continues to grow". Free Daily News Group Inc. Retrieved 10 July 2014.