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Fringe File, #25: The Last Two Days of Fringe / Prelude to the Encores

A photo collage of Minnesota Fringe Festival show images.

The Minnesota Fringe Festival is nearing its close, with just two days’ – and 214 performances – remaining. Audiences have spoken about their favorites, both in online reviews on the Fringe website and by putting butts into seats. Each day comes with new word of sold-out performances and longer lines at the most popular shows.

One thing that many audience members are eagerly awaiting is the encore show announcement. The best-selling show at each regular venue is offered a chance to do one more performance at 8:30 PM on Sunday, 8/13. These encore shows are always some of the best-attended performances of the Fringe Festival; reservations are strongly recommended. Audiences can:

A battle-scarred Fringe token.

The process of determining the best-selling show for each venue currently hinges on one very specific tally: the number of admission tokens collected at the door for the first four performances. (Many shows have their fifth regular performance scheduled for Sunday.) According to the Minnesota Fringe Festival’s Executive Director Dawn Bentley, unclaimed reservations don’t count towards this total – so although two shows in the same venue might have technically sold all of their seats, a reservation-holder who arrived too late (or claimed a regular token without declaring their reservation) would not be counted towards the encore tally.

It is theoretically possible to have a tie between shows, especially in small venues with complete sellouts. According to several sources, however, this has happened only once in the 24-year-history of the Minnesota Fringe Festival – and was decided in a coin-toss.

One thing is clear: Once the encore shows have been announced, reservations go fast. If there’s a show that you’ve been trying to get into, you probably want to buy an encore reservation right away.

Hanne Appelbaum