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Wander Minnesota: Last Gasps Of Summer Vacation

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Summer sun (credit: Jupiter Images)

Summer sun (credit: Jupiter Images)

Amy Rea Amy Rea
Amy Rea is a freelance writer and author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000...
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Believe it or not, we’re only a couple of weeks from Labor Day weekend. Some students will be heading back to school before then, and everyone else the day after Labor Day. It’s not too late to cram some fun into your summer, though.

It’s not too late to think about a quick getaway. Many resorts around the state still have openings in August and Labor Day; do a lodging search at Explore Minnesota to find some great opportunities for a last-minute, close-to-home vacation.

The approach of Labor Day might signal the end of summer, but fortunately, it also signals the Great Minnesota Get-Together: the Minnesota State Fair. Opening August 26 and running through Labor Day, the Fair has something for just about everyone. Not to mention the state’s best selection of food on a stick.

Opening a few days earlier and sticking around a few weeks longer, the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee will open its gates August 21, running weekends (and Labor Day) through October 3. (It then hastily reopens on October 8 for the Trail of Terror.) Every weekend has its own theme, including the Highland Fling, Irish Festival, and the Royal Rumble, which offers a 5K/10K run/walk.

Billed as Minnesota’s oldest celebration, Stiftungsfest takes place August 27-29 in Norwood Young America. Stiftungsfest is a celebration of the founders of the community, with emphasis on German heritage; expect plenty of hearty German food and music, as well as an arts and crafts show, children’s activities, and a softball tournament.

The Sibley House in Mendota and Historic Fort Snelling celebrate agriculture with Harvest Weekend, September 4-6. Visitors will learn how residents of both sites prepared for winter and try historic foods, as well as old-time games and activities. A free shuttle will take participants between the two sites.

If you’d like to take a brief weekend trip and enjoy an outstate festival, you can’t go wrong with Barnesville’s Potato Days on August 27-28. There are plenty of potato-based treats to be consumed, including French fries and, of course, lefse, but it’s not just the eating that’s worth a visit: where else can you find a festival that offers a mashed potato wrestling competition?

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.

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