The Minnesota State Fair is better known for its food offerings than for its shopping—but that may be changing, thanks to some fresh additions to this year’s vendor lineup. Ranging from long-established heritage brands to new companies that honor Minnesota traditions, there’s something for everyone here.
Faribault Woolen Mill: 150 years since its founding, Faribault Woolen Mill is making its first-ever appearance at the fair this year. For the occasion, it’s retrofitted its trade show booth into a 150-square-foot Mill Store. The pop-up shop will feature the mill’s best-selling items—wool throws, blankets and totes—plus some State Fair exclusives in bolder color options. There will also be heavy discounts on limited-edition, sample, and discontinued goods (like those seen at the mill’s annual tent sale), $10 totes, and deep markdowns on throws and market totes from its eco-woven cotton line, which was introduced earlier this summer. Bonus: daily early-bird daily specials from 9 a.m. to noon, drawings for throws and free wool koozies for the first 50 visitors. Also be sure to check out the Faribault-sponsored exhibitions in the “Little Farm Hands” kid’s area and in the sheep barn. Grandstand, second floor, south section (view on map), faribaultmill.com
Paddle North: Founded in 2014, this locally owned stand-up paddle board company known for its bamboo boards is making its State Fair debut this year. It will release four new products, including the Portager, an inflatable paddle board; its SUP backpack-style dry-bag (made to strap onto a water board); a water mat that doubles as a docking station; and the Mosquito, a bamboo wake surf board finished in matte fiberglass. Dairy Building, east wall (view on map), paddlenorth.com
Sota clothing’s mobile shop, Courtesy sota clothing
Sota Clothing: For its first year at the fair, the heritage-inspired brand is bringing out its mobile shop—a retrofitted 1972 Fleetwing Chickadee trailer. Founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur Spencer Johnson, the brand will be selling its popular men’s and women’s t-shirts and sweatshirts, bags, hats, and mugs that celebrate Minnesota pride. The North Woods (view on map), sotaclothing.com
Some returning Minnesota-made favorites worth checking out:
Duluth Pack: The oldest canvas and leather bag maker in the U.S., Duluth Pack returns to the fair for its 11th year with some newly-launched products—a growler tote, leather pint sleeves, branded apparel and its deluxe roll-top scout pack, as well as a selection of its top-selling items, including the roll-top scout pack, shell bag and market tote. Dairy Building, south wall (view on map), duluthpack.com
Anchor Iron Co.: Founded in 1953 in Savage, Minnesota, this ironwork manufacturer has been a regular at the fair for more than 30 years. Its product line includes cast-iron antique reproduction toys and mechanical banks, replicas of old advertising signs and other nostalgic items. West End Market, northeast section (view on map), anchoriron.com
Love from Minnesota: The Minnesota-themed gift shop, which has five regional retail locations including the Mall of America, sells an exclusive selection of products that are made in Minnesota, including bath and body goods from J.R. Watkins and Thymes, Abdallah chocolates and caramels, and footwear from Minnetonka Moccasins. North side of Dan Patch Ave. between Underwood & Cooper Streets (view on map), lovefrommn.com
I Like You: The quirky-cool Northeast gift shop known for its handmade, Minnesota-themed goods returns for a seventh year at the fair with a selection of new and top-selling t-shirt designs, as well as pint glasses, tea towels, koozies, key chains, Minnesota wall art and infant onesies. Find the store’s coupon for discounted shirts in the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. West End Market, northwest section (view on map), ilikeyouonline.com
Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, from Aug. 25 through Sept. 5. View a full list of all 750 vendors at mnstatefair.org.