Minnesota Fringe Festival nearly hits 50,000 mark

GRAYDON ROYCE | Updated 8/14/2013

The top 15 shows sold 25 percent of the nearly 50,000 tickets for the Minneapolis performance fest, which ended Sunday.

Natalie Rae Wass from "Fashion Risk, or the Accidental Nudist"
Provided photo

Depending upon how you slice it, attendance for the Minnesota Fringe Festival stayed steady this year — or showed a slight bump.

According to preliminary figures, 49,991 tickets were distributed for the 11-day performing arts festival, which ended Sunday. That’s an 8 percent increase from 46,280 in 2012. The highest-attendance year for the Fringe was 2010, when 50,222 tickets were distributed.

However, there were more performances this year, so the per-show average held steady at 56. Buttons were required for most festivalgoers and the Fringe Festival estimates that 16,493 individuals attended shows, based on the number of buttons sold, an increase of 69 from a year ago.

The top 15 selling shows (out of 176 total) accounted for about 25 percent of all tickets. “These Old Shoes,” by the company Transatlantic Love Affair, topped the list with 1,408 attendees, an average of 235 for each of six performances.

All of the top five shows sold more than 1,000 tickets. The others were “Shelly Bachberg Presents,” by the Jansonowicz Players (1,288); “Hickory Minimum Security,” Ferrari McSpeedy (1,162); “Four Humors’ Lolita,” Four Humors (1,031); “Fashion Risk or the Accidental Nudist,” Natalie Rae Wass (1,009).

This was the 20th year of the event, the largest unjuried Fringe Festival in the United States.