Still 'fairing' well: Slight attendance drop at state fairs By Michelle Baran / December 16, 2008 Share 1 -- More than 40 million people attended North America's fairs in '08, according to Carnivalwarehouse.com, which compiles an annual list of the 50 most popular fairs.The 50 most popular fairs attracted 40.67 million people, a 2% decrease in attendance from 2007. The State Fair of Texas had the highest attendance with 2.02 million visitors.The State Fair of Texas was followed by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (1.8 million) and the Minnesota State Fair (1.69 million).While overall attendance dropped, some individual fairs saw increases. The Canadian National Exhibition (1.31 million) moved into fourth place with a 6% increase over 2007. The Illinois State Fair saw the biggest increase at 21%, to roughly 840,000.The biggest drop was a 19% attendance decrease at the New Mexico State Fair to around 602,000."Chief among the concerns for 2008 was the price of fuel," Carnivalwarehouse.com wrote on its site. "Guests at North America's largest events can travel many miles to attend the event."