Minnesota has enough eccentric food festivals to whet any foodie’s appetite. These varied food-related festivals will provide you with experiences you never even thought to wish for. Maybe you’ll try garlic ice cream, wrestle while covered in mashed potatoes, or chow down on a bacon donut. Whatever festivals you choose to attend, one thing is for sure—you won’t leave hungry.
Burgers, Brews & BBQ Festival
June 21; Moorhead Mall Parking Ramp, Moorhead
For the fifth year in a row, the Burgers, Brews & BBQ Festival comes to the Fargo-Moorhead area to entertain and feed its locals. The Moorhead Mall Parking Ramp will be converted into thousands of square feet of fun. With the $35 admission fee, visitors receive unlimited burger sliders and barbecue samples from over 20 restaurants, beer samples from local and regional breweries, live music, and games throughout the parking ramp. The burgers and barbecue samples will be served from 5-7:30 p.m. and the concert will begin after the sampling is completed.
June 22-24; N. Second St., Henderson
Sauerkraut Days is the best day of small town fun to be had in southern Minnesota. This 80-year-old festival not only provides free Frank’s Kraut, but also live outdoor music, tasty festival food, and more. Get on your adult bib and join the world champion kraut eating contest, enter into the Sauerkraut Days raffle, or sit back and watch the kraut car cruise.
Uptown Food Truck Festival
June 24; Lake St., Uptown | July 21; Jackson St., Anoka | August 18; Mears Park, St. Paul
The Uptown Food Truck Festival, one of the Twin Cities’ most popular and delicious free events, takes over Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, June 24th. The festival showcases more than 65 of the best food trucks in the area with a diverse array of foods, including cookie dough sold by the scoop, crispy pork belly, fish tacos, and much more. Have any food restrictions? Don’t fret. There are vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan options. The festival will also feature over 10 craft beers, two stages for live music, games, and giveaways. The Uptown Food Truck Festival also hosts food truck festivals in Anoka and St. Paul.
Bacon and Beer Classic
July 14; CHS Field, St. Paul
Don’t miss out on this extraordinary event at CHS Field this summer. The Bacon and Beer Classic features more than 100 beers from regional breweries and 30-plus bacon-infused dishes from local chefs. In addition, the event offers a blind beer taste test, a Hormel bacon eating contest, lawn games, and music. Just some of the participating restaurants and breweries include Stray Dog, Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, Lift Bridge Brewing, and Insight Brewing.
Mankato Rib Fest
August 2-5; Vetter Stone Amphitheater, 310 W. Rock St., Mankato
Mankato’s RibFest features ribs from all over the nation to ensure the absolute best ribs in America. The ribs will be judged under three different categories: best ribs, best pulled-pork, and KEYC News 12’s people’s choice. Come to RibFest to enjoy and judge tasty ribs and other foods from Porky Chicks BBQ, Texas Lightning BBQ, Cowboy’s BBQ & Rib Company, and more. You can also enjoy a concert at the Vetter Stone Amphitheater after you enjoy some decadent food, with artists like Bret Michaels and Sugar Ray performing.
Taco Tour on Lake Street
August 5; Lake St., Minneapolis
Taco lovers will have their dreams materialize with the Taco Tour on Lake Street. The tour starts at K-Mart Minneapolis and you have the option to ride in the free shuttle, bike, or walk to all the different taco vendors. The Latino Economic Development Center provides the opportunity to try the unique and delicious flavors that the Latin food district on Lake Street has to offer. There are nine authentic restaurants on the tour that each have their own versions of the tasty Mexican specialty. Individual registration costs $2 plus a service fee, and comes with two free tacos at any vendor of your choice.
Minnesota Garlic Festival
August 11; McLeod County Fairgrounds, Hutchinson
Love garlic and great local foods? Look no further than the 13th annual Minnesota Garlic Festival in Hutchinson. This family friendly event features awesome food, renowned Minnesota chefs, delightful music, area artisans, silly games, and tons of garlic. The purpose of the festival is to support a healthy environment, sustainable farms, and vital rural communities in Minnesota. Glen Hill, former director of the MN Food Association called the Minnesota Garlic Festival the “best summer community family farm event in Minnesota.” Make sure to try the garlic ice cream and black garlic.
Buttered Corn Days
August 17-18; 115 Second Ave. NE, Sleepy Eye
Bask in small town togetherness at the 57th annual Buttered Corn Days. The biggest celebration in Sleepy Eye occurs the third full weekend of August each year. Buttered Corn Days features free buttered sweet corn, 1919 root beer floats, homemade pies, live music, and food and craft vendors. Make sure to check out the 15K bike tour, first annual barbecue rib cook-off and tasting, classic car show, and more.
Potato Days Festival
August 24-25; Various locations in Barnsville
Known as one of the best potato producing areas in the country, Barnsville showcases its potato heritage with a weekend celebrating the versatile veggie. The Potato Days Festival boasts an assortment of crazy potato-themed contests, games, displays, and, of course, features a menu full of potato favorites. The festival was rated one of the best in the country by U.S. News and World Reports and attracts over 20,000 guests each year. Just about everything you can possibly do to a potato is done at the festival—you can pick it, peel it, fry it, race it, bake it, sculpt it, and even wrestle in it. There are also plenty of other non potato related activities, including a FunRun, a street fair, and a car show.
Minnesota State Fair
August 23-September 3; 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul
The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the U.S. by daily attendance and is known for its decadent food. There are an abundance of fun activities at the fair, from concerts at the Grandstand, to carnival rides, to educational exhibits, but let’s all be honest, we’re first and foremost there for the food. Every year, there are unique new foods introduced. Several examples of new foods from last year include deep-fried avocados, raw cookie dough, and pizzarito (pizza in a flour tortilla). Plus, you can’t leave the fair without chowing down on the classics, like a bucket of cookies from Sweet Martha’s, corn from the Corn Roast stand, and Mouse Trap Cheese Curds.