After a year’s hiatus due the State Fairs Covid-19 related cancellation STEM Day at the Minnesota State Fair successfully returned this year.
First day Fair attendance was hampered by many Minnesotans having concerns about the Fair acting as a risky event for pandemic transmission in large crowds given the lack of vaccine or masking requirements by the Fair governing body. Opening day was additionally hampered by a rightly ominous weather forecast. Attendance on opening day was 46% of the 2019 opening day. 2021 attendance for the run of the full 12 days was 61% of the 2019 record year. STEM Day attendance mirrored the Fair, with our tracking of exhibit area visitors of 7700 before a rain storm forcing an abrupt close to the event around 2:30 p.m.
A survey of STEM Day exhibitors shows that participants were very pleased with the event. 78% of respondents indicated that their organizations goals for the day were well met or very well met. 87% of respondents indicated that their organization would apply to participate again next year. Exhibitors were strongly positive about event management with 93% giving it their strongest rank in the survey. Over 25% of exhibitors were first time participants keeping the event fresh for families who consistently attend the event.
A survey of visitors to STEM Day shows an almost even mix of those who plan ahead specifically to attend STEM Day as part of their Fair experience and those who discover the event once they are at the Fair. The later are important in moving beyond those who search out STEM education opportunities for their children and instead expose and engage families who may not already identify as having an interest in STEM education. Those families may come away from the event with a new appreciation of their children’s interests.
A significant percentage of those who visited STEM Day did so based on State Fair promotion of events on site and in state newspapers. We consider the Fair to be a strong partner and appreciate the relationship we have built over the past 12 years. Governor Walz again proclaimed the day STEM Day at the Fair in Minnesota.
We’re grateful for all our partners in creating another successful celebration of all things STEM and highlighting to Minnesotans the opportunities for their children to explore their interests and curiosity.