By Amy Rea
This is just the tip of the iceberg for festivals and events in Minnesota in August. I’ve avoided the more routine festivals, Crazy Days, and city parties. You can find more information about those over at Explore Minnesota. What follows is a list of the more unique possibilities this month. If there’s something I’ve missed, please let me know. And don’t forget to check out the events page at the Minnesota Historical Society—there’s always something fun going on over there.
Huge country music festival, this year featuring Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, and the Zac Brown Band, among others.
Minnesota Fringe Festival
Original, independent artists and performers giving it all they’ve got during this non-juried 11-day festival.
River City Days
Red Wing’s annual celebration of summer, with an antique wooden boat show, human foosball tournament, medallion hunt, pancake flipping contest, arts and crafts show, and of course plenty of food.
Metris Uptown Art Fair
Powderhorn Art Fair
One weekend, two big art festivals. Bring your wallet and your patience—the crowds can be heavy, especially if the weather is nice. Take advantage of Metro Transit’s ArtPass, a free service connecting the two events on Saturday and Sunday:
Bayfront Blues Festival
Annual blues festival in a lovely location. This year’s performers include Robert Randolph and the Family Band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Lucky Peterson and the Imperial Flames.
Held on Harriet Island, Irish Fair celebrates the city’s Irish heritage with music, entertainment, dance, family activities, and of course food.
Twin Cities Polish Festival
All things Polish, old and new: polka and European disco, food, Chopin concerts, baking contest, and a Polish film fest.
Leech Lake Regatta
Multiclass sailboat races for sailors of all skill levels.
Minnesota Garlic Festival
Kite flying and making, entertainment, old-fashioned children’s activities, the Peculiar Pragmatic Promenade, and all things garlic. Did you know that there are over 100 varieties of garlic grown here in Minnesota? It’s pretty much guaranteed that vampires will not be present.
Spelmansstamma Music Festival
This traditional Swedish immigrant fiddle fest includes smorgasbord, traditional Swedish music and dancing, and children’s activities.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Aug. 19-Oct. 1, weekends, Labor Day, and Sept. 39
Come lords and ladies! Followers of Sir Puke and Sir Snot! Lovers of turkey legs! Costumes, food, entertainment of the Renaissance style, at least by today’s standards. Come early, or you’ll be parking in South Dakota.
Minnesota State Fair
Aug. 24-Sept. 4
The granddaddy of Minnesota festivals. Go for the cheese curds, try one of the many new foods, stay for the rides, the animals being born, the crafts and arts exhibits, Machinery Hill, the stage shows, the cheesy giveaways, and of course, the food on a stick. Not to mention the cheese curds.
Three words: mashed potato wrestling. I’m SO there. Plus lots of lefse.
Norwood Young America
Minnesota’s oldest festival, held annually for 156 years. Activities, arts and crafts, softball tournaments, bingo, and of course food.
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.