As hard as it is to believe, the Minnesota State Fair—our annual end-of-summer get-together—is less than a week away. And whether you’re ready to send-off summer or not, attendance is practically mandatory. It is, after all, one of our most popular tourist destinations, and for good reason—with an array of entertainment, music, animals, agriculture, rides, games, food, and more scattered across the grounds, there really is something for everyone.
Food and drink: Come with an empty stomach, because it won’t stay that way for long. Staples like roasted corn, cheese curds, pronto pubs, Sweet Martha’s cookies and all-you-can-drink milk are musts, but leave some room to also try new offerings like the bacon-wrapped turkey leg, deep-fried lobster on-a-stick and deep-fried buckeyes, beer gelato, and breakfast juicy lulu.
Entertainment: The big name acts take the Grandstand stage, with this year’s performers including Toby Keith (Aug. 21), Aretha Franklin and The Four Tops (Aug. 22), Kid Rock with Blackberry Smoke (Aug. 23), DigiFest Minnesota (Aug. 24), The Happy Together Tour (Aug. 25), Linkin Park and Thirty Seconds to Mars with AFI (Aug. 26), Tim McGraw with Ryan Kinder (Aug. 27), Fall Out Boy and Paramore with Bad Suns (Aug. 28), A Prairie Home Companion (Aug. 29), MN Music On-A-Stick (Aug. 30), and Journey with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (Sept. 1). Plus there’s always free stage entertainment at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell, Bazaar, and West End Market, among other places.
Attractions: For adventurers big and small, make a stop at Midway or Kidway—there are 30 some rides at each, not to mention this year’s eight new additions like the Stinger, which will take you on high-flying spins, and Hog Rally, a biker-themed ride for kids. There are other new attractions throughout, including the West End Market, which houses the Minnesota State Fair History and Heritage Center and dozens of artisans and merchants among other things, The Common Table, which will showcase sustainable, community-based food systems, a self-guided cell phone history walking tour of the fair, and extreme canines stunt dog show.
Minnesota State Fair
Aug. 21-Sept. 1
1265 Snelling Avenue N., St. Paul
Tickets: $13 adults, $11 ages 65 and older, $11 ages 5-12, free ages 5 and younger.