2023 Minnesota State Fair ticket prices go up $1

The Minnesota State Fair board voted to increase admission prices for the 2023 fair by $1 per ticket for all categories of ticket buyers.

Attendees ages 13 to 64 will now pay $18 for admission, while children ages 5 to 12 and seniors who are 65 years and older will pay $16 after the price hikes. Kids 4 and under will continue to be admitted free.

The Minnesota State Agricultural Society, the governing body of the fair, approved the price increases at its annual meeting, which concluded Sunday. The board also approved $9.4 million in maintenance and capital projects that have been on hold since 2019.

State Fair CEO Jerry Hammer pointed to rising costs for fair production, public safety, facilities upkeep and other services such as the free Park & Ride system as reasons for the cost increase.

"We work hard to provide an amazing experience for everyone, and it takes a lot of effort and expenses to do that," said Hammer in a statement.

Hammer, who has run the fair for 26 years, recently announced that he plans to retire once a successor is named.

Fairgoers looking to save a few dollars can order pre-fair discount tickets on the organization's website. Those tickets are $14 through Jan. 31 before going up to $15 on Feb 1.

Admission rates to the 12-day annual event also increased $1 per ticket in 2022.

The primary admission price was $14 in 2017. With the latest increase, ticket prices are up by nearly 30% in the last six years.

The State Fair saw attendance of more than 1.8 million people last year, a 41.5% increase from 2021. The fair was not held in 2020 due to COVID-19, but the year before it set an annual attendance record with more than 2.1 million visitors.

Ticket sales accounted for 60% of the fair's operating revenue for fiscal 2021, which ended Oct. 31, 2021. It also draws money from licensing exhibit space and renting out facilities for nonfair events.

The State Fair is a self-supporting, quasi-state agency and has not received any state appropriations since 1949. This year's fair runs from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4.