The Biggest State Fairs in the United States

As any full-blooded American, you’ve probably been to a fair or two. Especially if you’re from Texas. While there are thousands of fairs across the United States every year, these 10 states had the largest attendance numbers in 2015. From mind-blowing food to livestock education, here’s a quick breakdown of the top ten biggest state fairs* in America.

1. State Fair of Texas (3.5 million visitors)

state fair of texas

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Brown and the State Fair of Texas

The old saying “everything is bigger in Texas” is especially true of its fairs. In 2015, the State Fair of Texas brought in 3.5 million visitors over a 24-day period of live music, exhibitions, attractions, and delicious, delicious food.

This year, the fair is welcoming the Taylor Swift Experience exhibit, which features memorabilia from the singer-songwriter your grandkids can’t get enough of. While the exhibition typically lives at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, it’s making a special trip for The Lone Star State’s 130th state fair. If you’re not a fan of Taylor Swift, not to worry. From Cotton Bowl football games to an impressive auto show, you’re sure to find more than enough activities at the biggest fair in America.

2. Minnesota State Fair (1.8 million visitors)

candied bacon donut sliders

Photo courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

Famous for their mouth-watering food, the Minnesota State Fair comes in at number two on our list with roughly 1.8 million visitors in 2015. On top of the list this year is a candied bacon donut slider, which, unbelievably, looks even better than it sounds. You can check out their new food for 2016 here.

Other attractions include Hen Houses, a Bulls and Barrel Championship, and 5 Selfie Spots. If you see Fairchild the Gopher walking around, give him a high-five — the state fair’s mascot celebrates his 50th anniversary this year.

3. The Big E (1.3 million visitors)

Also known as the Eastern States Exposition, The Big E includes all 6 New England States: Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire. The fair is held in Massachusetts and saw a little over 1.3 million visitors last year.

Expect the Big E to bring in just as many people as in the previous year — this East Coast fair is celebrating 100 years in 2016. Top attractions include a 1,800 sq. ft. wine and cheese barn, tons of musical performances, and butter sculptures, just to name a few.

4. Tulsa State Fair (1.2 million visitors)

In 2015, roughly 1.2 million visitors attended the Tulsa State Fair — about 300,000 more visitors than the Oklahoma State Fair. Kicking off this year’s Tulsa State Fair, much to the delight of both kids and adults, is Disney on Ice’s “Worlds of Enchantment.”  The fair begins in late September and ends mid-October.

5. Iowa State Fair (1.17 million visitors)


Photo courtesy of the Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair, which brought in 1.17 million visitors in 2015, sure likes its entertainment. The fair offers numerous free concerts, as well as more well-known artists such as Steven Tyler, Megan Trainer, and Dierks Bentley, for a price. If you’re looking for family friendly attractions, check out the Des Moines Register’s list of top activities for families and children at the Iowa State Fair.

On top of music, the Iowa State Fair offers a wide variety good eats, including over 70 “mobile” foods on a stick. Their list of healthy choices is a lot shorter, as it should be.

6. Arizona State Fair (1.1 million visitors)

Despite a slight drop in attendance from 2014, the Arizona State Fair drew around 1.1 million visitors in 2015. With numerous concerts, rides, food, and exhibitions, this Southwest state fair takes place in Phoenix at the beginning of October.

7. Wisconsin State Fair (1 million visitors)


Photo courtesy of the Wisconsin State Fair

Celebrating 165 years in 2016, the Wisconsin State Fair looks to draw more visitors than it did in 2015. Like other state fairs on our list, the Midwest fair offers a variety of free entertainment, as well as top-notch musicians like Rascal Flatts and the Beach Boys, for a fee.

If you find yourself heading to the fair this August, be sure to try their famous cream puffs. According to their website, the puffs have been sold since 1924, and more than 400,000 were consumed in 2015.

8. North Carolina State Fair (1 million visitors)

north carolina state fair

Photo Courtesy of the North Carolina State Fair

The North Carolina State Fair saw 1 million visitors in 2015, growing slightly in attendance from the previous year. Hosted in Raleigh, North Carolina, the fair features rides, numerous competitions ranging from graphic design to horse shows, and flaunts entertainment events, such as their Folk Festival. To see what’s new in 2016, check out their list online.

9. Ohio State Fair (982,305 visitors)

Bringing in just under 1 million visitors in 2015, the Ohio State Fair has been hosted by a plethora of cities within the Buckeye State before settling down in Columbus, the capital. Unlike many fairs listed, the Ohio State Fair takes place at the end of July and concludes in early August.

2015 Ohio State Fair: Day Two
Photo courtesy of the Ohio State Fair

10. The Great New York State Fair (908,147 visitors)

The Great New York State Fair saw north of 900,000 visitors in 2015. Fair-goers will be excited to try a few new attractions such as the butterflies around the world, which hosts around 20 exotic breeds.

On top of a great butterfly exhibit, visitors will be happy to know that The Taste NY Marketplace will be back for the third year. The fair is scheduled for late August and will conclude in mid-September.

*Please note that we only included state fairs, and did not include county fairs, etc.