Known as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” the Minnesota State Fair is the largest 12-day event in North America, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. This year the State Fair will start on August 25 and run through Labor Day. It is held at the state fairgrounds, adjoining the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The site is in the suburb of Falcon Heights, Minnesota, midway between the state’s capital city of St. Paul and the largest city, Minneapolis.

Everything On-a-Stick
The Minnesota State Fair is famous for food-on-a-stick. More than 450 foods are available at the fair at over 300 food concession stands and over 60 types of food-on-a-stick. Among those foods-on-stick you can find the Pronto Pup (the MN State Fair version of a corn dog), Big Fat Bacon, key lime pie, hot dish, spaghetti & meatballs, and deep-fried pickles. Some of these items have a “cult” like following; others are just food oddities waiting to be discovered. Rest assured, you can graze the entire 320 acres of the fairgrounds all while eating various items on-a-stick.

littlefarmhands Guide To The Minnesota State Fair

(credit: Minnesota State Fair)

Little Farm Hands
“Little Farm Hands at the Fair” is an agricultural education exhibit for kids. This exhibit teaches children ages 3-10 about the process of where our food comes from by teaching them about the planting and growing process all the way through purchasing food at the grocery store. The “farm” has mock up buildings where kids can plant crops, harvest eggs from chickens, milk cows, and drive tractors. At the end they “sell” their products at a farmers market for “cash” and have the chance to buy goods at the market also.

Doggies of the Wild West
One of the new attractions at the Minnesota State Fair this year is the “Doggies of the Wild West Show”. This show is a one of a kind western themed animal attraction put on by trainer Gary Noel. All the dogs in the show have been rescued by Noel from animal shelters around the country and trained by him to perform. The “Doggies of the Wild West Show” will be performed three times daily at 12, 3, and 6pm just East of Heritage Street.

 Guide To The Minnesota State Fair

(credit: Minnesota State Fair)

State Fair Traditions
Something that all kids enjoy is a parade. Every day at 2 p.m., the State Fair Mall Parade features the high school marching band competition and follows a 14-block route beginning and ending south of Como Avenue. Included in the parade are floats, animal and specialty units, and visiting royalty from festivals throughout the state. In the evening, every night at 6 p.m. crowds converge at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell to witness an event almost as legendary as corn dogs and cotton candy. The annual Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest semifinals draw hundreds of fairgoers who grab a seat, and watch singers, cloggers and every type of performer in between compete for the right to be named Minnesota’s top talent.

Judy Grundstrom is Director of Business Development at Pixel Farm Digital in Minneapolis. You can read her personal work at

Comments (6)
  1. KYnative says:

    It would be nice if you could do an article on how people with food allergies can eat food at the fair? For my family, it is gluten.

    1. MNgirl says:

      Pickles are gluten free as long as you don’t get them breaded, bacon also. Nitro Icecream I think is safe along with the fruit smoothies and hawaiian ice…BUT like any allergy there is always the chance of cross contamination-like in the grease things are fried in or the tables food is prepared on.

      I work in GI and we have tons of kids and adults with Celiac disease(gluten intolerance) unfortunately you just have to get to know the foods yourself or ask at the stands…they usually can give you an idea of what goes into everything.

    2. DJP says:

      Sorry you have allergies, but you have to remember that articles are written for the majority of people. Otherwise they would have to write specific articles for every allergy. You need to do that research yourself…

    3. B Jacobson says:

      I found webpage that has a list of Gluten Free foods. I’d still ask, but at least it’s a starting place.

  2. Vanna says:

    where and when is Dennis Douda at the State Fair? It is truly not fair what management is doing to him. You will lose a lot viewers.

  3. Neito says:

    If you’re heading to the Fair, be sure and download the iPhone app PINPOI to find the best of all there is there! You can find it at the iTunes App Store or follow the link below:

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