While there are festivals year-round across the state, summer is really prime time.
The following is just a sample of what’s going on in June. If you’re planning on taking in some of the small-town festivals, plan ahead—some of these are huge events, and you’ll want to make lodging/camping arrangements ahead of time.
One of five annual festivals run by the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association, the Homegrown Kickoff offers live music, jam sessions, music classes, camping, and crafts and food.
St. Paul’s Grand Avenue welcomes the entire family for entertainment, kids’ activities, food, drink, art fair, parade—pretty much everything you need along 30 blocks.
This is a celebration of all things Judy Garland, especially her best-known and much-beloved movie. Events include musical entertainment, high tea, various tours, The Wizard of Oz on the big screen, kids’ activities, Wizard of Oz Jeopardy, and new this year—a Dash for the Ruby Slippers 5K.
A windsurfing championship combined with an indie music festival. Makes sense. See the website for this year’s musicians.
Why swim when you can portage and canoe?
Go on a beautiful bike ride—and eat caramel rolls along the way. Could it get any better?
See the city after hours and discover what kinds of creativity take place.
Montevideo—the Minnesota version—celebrates its sisterhood with its Uruguayan counterpart. Parade, queen coronation, live music, dance, canoe races, and visits from Uruguayan dignitaries.
It’s hard to imagine a more scenic location for this jack-of-all-trades festival: juried art show, Pop Art! car display, and live music.
A celebration of all things Rochester now in its 35th year, this is a busy week: carillon concert; music and dancing; treasure hunt; historic walking tours; parade; video game tournament; BubbleBall; and even a hot air balloon rally.
A celebration of the various ethnic groups that settled into northeastern Minnesota. Food, music, arts and crafts from around the world.
June 21-July 30
The annual Shakespeare Festival offers three of the Bard’s plays: The Comedy of Errors and Richard III, as well as An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, and Shipwrecked! An Entertainment by Donald Margulies.
See website for schedule and ticket information.
Celebrate the Granite City’s heritage at this annual festival, complete with fly-in pancake breakfast, tours of historic homes, 5K, fishing contest, and a community bike.
A joint Scandinavian festival, now in its 40th year, presented by local Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Swedish groups, this annual celebration includes a storytellers, live music, dancing, presentations, and of course—lots of Scandinavian food.
Parades, tournaments, food and music—and a sauerkraut eating contest. Are you up to the challenge?
Held at the lovely Gammelgarden Museum, this festival offers Swedish music, a smorgasbord, Swedish dancers, and all manner of crafts and activities. Or just enjoy a beautiful summer day at this living history site, which features several original immigrant homes and buildings.
Parade, Pride Night at the Lynx, concerts, picnic, art show—this is one packed weekend.
Enjoy a (hopefully) beautiful visit to Mears Park while soaking in the musical stylings of McCoy Tyner, Joshua Redman, and Anat Cohen, among others.
Live Dixieland bands, all day, outside. This year’s special guest is Les Fields and the Notables. Perfect summer event.
Note: A huge variety of events and festivals are listed on the website of the Minnesota Historical Society.
What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Tuesday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.