Minnesota's Top 10 August 2018 Events

With Beyonce and Jay-Z, Renaissance Festival, and the Great Minnesota Get-Together, August doesn’t get any hotter

People walking the streets at the Uptown Art Fair.
Uptown Art Fair

photo by photopixels

The Legend of Georgia McBride Through 8/26

“The King” becomes a queen when out-of-work Elvis impersonator Casey stumbles into the world of drag shows with bills to pay and a baby on the way. As the transformation happens each night, he learns a little more about himself and finds unexpected support. Expect pop numbers, warm-and-fuzzy revelations, and humor at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Minnesota Fringe Festival 8/2-12

More than 500 performances by 130-plus theater companies—featuring local and national talent, new plays, twists on old classics, and more—will take place in 12 theaters in Minneapolis’ Northeast and Cedar-Riverside neighborhoods. In its 25th year, Minnesota Fringe hasn’t become less edgy, but it has added Family Fringe, a weekends-only collection of juried shows in St. Paul conceived for audiences of all ages. Find tickets for both Minnesota Fringe and Family Fringe per show or by day, weekend, or for the full festival.

Midwest Home Luxury Home Tour 8/3-19

During the first three weekends in August, visit eight homes across the Twin Cities metro to see what residences look like when some of the best builders, designers, and contractors create million-dollar-plus masterpieces. Check out a stunning modern mountain retreat on Maxwell Bay in Orono, a family-friendly urban cottage in Linden Hills, three custom Lake Elmo homes with views of the new Royal Club Championship Golf Course, and more. Tickets are available online.

Uptown Art Fair 8/3-5

Sculptures, photography, and paintings by more than 350 artists will line West Lake Street, Hennepin, and Uptown’s mall area for this festive outdoor gathering in Minneapolis. Between admiring the works, grab bites from more than 20 food vendors, sips at the outdoor wine and beer gardens, and glimpses of the next generation’s talent at the youth exhibits. Check out the free performance stage, plus activities like the Northern Clay Center’s Family Imagination Station and Kitchen Window’s Culinary Arts Competition.

Beyoncé & Jay-Z: On The Run II 8/8

It was the celebrity couple’s 10th wedding anniversary this year, and yes, they’re likely to perform their duet “Drunk in Love” at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. They also might perform new hits off their nine-track surprise release Everything Is Love. Don’t feel bad if you go just for Beyoncé, whose popularity soared even higher after her 2016 album Lemonade—after all, she owns the most nominations and second-most wins among women in Grammy history if you count her time with Destiny’s Child. But you can’t overlook Jay-Z’s indelible mark on both the business and hip-hop world. This year, he won the Grammy’s 2018 Salute to Industry Icons Award.

Bayfront Blues Festival 8/10-12

Memphis-based soul jazz band Don Bryant featuring the Bo-Keys, soul legend William Bell, and guitarist Bernard Allison headline one of the biggest outdoor music festivals in the Midwest. It’s jazz and blues all weekend at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park, with almost 30 artists and nearly 20,000 attendees. Stay energized with vendors including Big Boned BBQ and the King of Creams (ice cream for the heat, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches for the meat), plus the breezes off the lake directly behind the open-air stage.

People shooting a cannon at Pipestone Civil War Days.
Pipestone Civil War Days

photo by mark persons

Pipestone Civil War Days 8/11-12 

Step into the past with Pipestone’s Civil War Days, right on the border between Minnesota and South Dakota. The historic town brings in re-enactors from across the nation for a slice of 1860s life, recreating everything from etiquette and dance lessons to church sermons, school days, trades such as blacksmithing, and, of course, military battles. The festival is family-friendly, but earplugs are recommended for the sound-sensitive.

Mille Lacs Annual Powwow 8/17-19

Drums will shake the air as dozens of Native American dancers take part in this year’s Ojibwe powwow near Onamia on Lake Mille Lacs’ west side. Many attendees will don traditional, multi-colored costumes, and families can enjoy horseshoe tournaments, crafts, a fun run, and a Saturday parade. A free shuttle runs from Grand Casino Mille Lacs to the powwow grounds.

A fairy blowing pixie dust at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.
Renaissance Festival

photo by giana karels

Renaissance Festival 8/18-9/30

The Renaissance Festival in Shakopee celebrates all the fun of the 16th century without the chamber pots and fleas. You’ll also find mermaids, dragons, fairies, and the surprisingly frequent pirate (made more frequent by a new weekend theme, Buccaneer Beer Bash). Dogs are welcome, so you and your princely pooch can watch the jousts, catch entertainers at more than 10 stages, browse merchants’ wares, and more. Favorite performances include the comedic Puke & Snot; the Danger Committee’s flying knives, fire tricks, and punch lines; and the knight jousts.

People walking the streets at the Minnesota State Fair.
Minnesota State Fair

photo by jamey guy

Minnesota State Fair 8/23-9/3

With 300 food vendors, from Sweet Martha’s irresistable cookies to Corn Roast and Mouth Trap’s cheese curds, the Great Minnesota Get-Together’s concessions alone are a one-of-a-kind draw—and that’s before adding in an endless list of other attractions. Along with free music offerings for all ages, this year’s Grandstand headliners include former One Direction vocalist Niall Horan, country band Sugarland, the Beach Boys, Duluth-bred Trampled by Turtles (see p. 24), and Earth, Wind, & Fire. The CHS Miracle of Birth Center generates oohs and aahs over piglets and calves, you can explore the International Bazaar for goods and foods from around the world, and the Midway offers thrilling amusement rides and games. Whether it’s a trip to admire Minnesota’s best art, livestock, and baking, or just some people-watching from the top of the 156-foot Great Big Wheel and mini donuts, this is the place.

Digital Extra: State Fair Supercut

If this five-minute compilation of last year’s Minnesota State Fair highlights doesn’t get you excited, look into who’s headlining at the Grandstand this month.