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Longtime Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer revealed publicly Wednesday that he makes $350,000 a year.

Hammer released the information in response to a written request from the Star Tribune for a preview of this year's fair that ran in August. When asked earlier, fair staff had said Hammer's salary isn't public under state law, but he said he decided recently to release it.

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As a quasi-governmental operation, the State Fair isn't subject to the same open-records laws as most state offices. For example, the salaries of state employees and elected officials are public information.

The fair is overseen by the State Agricultural Society and doesn't receive a direct state subsidy. Hammer, who has run the fair for 25 years, operates on a year-to-year contract and his salary comes from operating revenue. He has run the fair for 25 years.

The fair had operating revenue of $62 million in 2019. In 2020 the fair was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, revenue was only $45 million as attendance was down due to lingering COVID-19 variations. This year's revenue hasn't been released.

Attendance for the 12-day event usually hovers around 2 million. The fair saw 1.8 million visitors this year. The record was 2.2 million in 2019.

A story about Gov. Tim Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan earlier this month noted their salaries are $127,629 and $82,959. Analysis of the highest-paid state workers — not including the University of Minnesota — showed two state psychiatrists earned more than $500,000 last year.

Hammer's salary is on par with the men's hockey coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato, who earned $352,000 in 2021.

Among his peers at similar fairs across the country, Hammer said his salary ranks fifth. Salaries are public for comparable positions because they are run by nonprofits that have to file annual disclosures.

The Dallas-based Texas State Fair runs for 24 days and draws about 2.2 million visitors. President Mitchell Glieber is paid $750,000, Hammer said. The most recent filing didn't show Glieber's current salary, but records indicate that in 2016, he was paid almost $699,000. His predecessor was paid $1.3 million his final year, which was 2014.

At the next biggest fair, the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, ex-president Joel Cowley was paid $487,000 in 2020. The event runs for 24 days, mostly in March. It drew 2.2 million visitors this year.

At the Big E, formerly known as the Eastern States Expo, in West Springfield, Mass., president and CEO Eugene Cassidy was paid $404,000 in 2020. The Big E encompasses six states and draws 1.4 million.

The CEO of the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona is paid just over $600,000. That fair drew 635,421 in its 17-day run in May. The event's former president earned just over $1 million in 2016, according to publicly available IRS documents.