The Great Minnesota Get-Together
Many people refer to the Minnesota State Fair as the Great Minnesota Get-Together or the 12 best days of summer. Roughly two million people attend the state fair each year, and it’s certainly a unique experience! The Minnesota State Fair first began in 1859 and typically runs for the 12 days leading up to Labor Day. With hundreds of food options, great shopping from local vendors, live music, farm animals, and awesome rides, it’s no wonder this event is a big deal in Minnesota!
I’ve learned a few things after attending the State Fair a handful of times over the years.
- Buy your tickets as soon as possible. Often you’ll find early bird discounts.
- Parking is expensive, most lots are $20/vehicle or much more. Check out this park and ride map for free bus service to the fairgrounds, or plan to carpool with friends and split the cost of parking.
- Go during off-peak days and times. The fair gets really busy and you don’t want to waste your timing waiting in line for food and rides.
1. The Food
With over 300 food vendors, the food is one of the main attractions at the state fair. You’ll find the classics, like Sweet Martha’s Cookies and cheese curds. Each year you’ll also discover new and unique options, like caramelized banana pudding, cucumber jalapeno limeade, s’mores funnel cakes, and waffle burgers.
Pro tip: Go to the fair hungry and with a group of friends so you can try a lot of different food options. The deep-fried Oreos and corndog on a stick are some of my favorites!
2. The Rides
It’s difficult to explain what all of the rides and attractions at the state fair are in a cohesive way because there’s just so much. From roller coasters, reptile shows, and haunted houses to a carousel, giant slide, and space tower, you’ll find something for both the thrillseeker and laidback person in your group.
3. The Music and Activities
The Minnesota State Fair touts 900 shows, and over 100 acts taking place during the 12 days of the fair. A ton of the performances are completely free with the price of admission. Some shows require an additional fee. Back in 2013, I went to the Macklemore concert located at the Grandstand. We showed up several hours early to enjoy the fair, and finished up the night with a great concert.
4. The Shopping
The shopping scene at the state fair is pretty incredible because it is highly focused on unique and local merchants. You can get all your holiday shopping done here, there is truly something for everyone. From doll clothing, pottery, hand-carved wooden sculptures, and fishing gear to purses, wallets, and kids toys, it’s hard not to find something incredible!
5. The Educational Experiences
You could truly spend hours on the educational experiences at the state fair, and this is one of my favorite elements. Check out the Miracle of Life Birth Center to potentially see farm animals being born, visit the Goat, Moo, Baa, and Oink Booths, learn about horticulture and bees, and check out the Thank A Farmer Magic Show. On certain days, you might also see a lumberjack show, a parade, and a talent contest!
The Minnesota State Fair is Incredible
The Minnesota State Fair is the second-largest state fair in the country, second to only Texas! And in 2015 Minnesota won the “best state fair” in the United States by USA Today. It’s truly unlike anything else you’ll find. With award-winning farm animals, locally made foods and products, and an unbelievable amount of ways to entertain yourself, it’s something everyone should experience!