National Extension Tourism (NET): 2021 Conf. Proceedings

Irish Fair of Minnesota Attendee Profile: What we learned from four waves of panel-level longitudinal data in 11 years

Xinyi Qian , Director, University of Minnesota Tourism Center,


Festivals and events have a direct impact on residents who may develop a stronger sense of community, find more pride in local culture, and enjoy local entertainment (Hall, 1992; Nicholson & Pearce, 2001). One such event is the Irish Fair of Minnesota, which aims to provide attendees with a fun, authentically-Irish, family-friendly event. To assist marketing decisions, enhance the event itself, and maximize benefits to the community, the Irish Fair of Minnesota has continually profiled its attendees.


Study setting

The Irish Fair of Minnesota takes place on the second weekend of August, from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening. The venue has been Harriet Island Regional Park in downtown Saint Paul since 2001. Activities offered at the Fair ranges from live music, Irish dancing, and a marketplace to cultural areas, Irish- themed children’s activities, and a sports area, among others. According to Fair organizers, the event attracted 75,000 to 100,000 attendees. From 2007 to 2017, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center contracted with the Irish Fair of Minnesota to profile its attendees for four times: 2007 (Schuweiler & Schneider, 2007), 2011 (Oftedal & Schneider, 2011), 2014 (Qian, 2014), and 2017 (Qian).


For the first attendee profile in 2007, an onsite questionnaire was developed, based on other event attendee profiles that the Tourism Center had conducted and the needs of the Fair organizers. The same questions were asked in the questionnaires for the subsequent attendee profiles. Questionnaire sections included event participation, information sources (i.e., the places where attendees learned about the Irish Fair), enjoyable attributes

2021 NET Conference Proceedings


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