MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday announced the creation of an online marketplace and four virtual competitions for guests to enter this year.

With the fair being canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans of the fair will now still be able to support their favorite vendors through the Minnesota State Fair Online Marketplace.

The searchable hub is currently slated to feature 240 vendors, with many offering State Fair deals and merchandise. There will be the hard-to-find gifts and gadgets, handmade and made-in-Minnesota goods, foodie fun, upcycled décor, helpful home services, hobby gear, treats for furry friends, apparel, and more.

Each vendor’s promotional page will include a description of their business and what they sell, along with a photo of their State Fair location.

WCCO merch will also be available on the marketplace. A portion of our store’s proceeds will go towards supporting The Food Group, a local nonprofit breaking down food barriers across Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The online marketplace will be available through Dec. 31, 2020.

The Minnesota State Fair is also offering four virtual showcases for 2020, including:

  • Cookie Decorating: Decorate cookies depicting a favorite fair activity. One person, chosen by State Fair staff and notified by email, will receive two free tickets to the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.
  • Crop Art: Join in virtually for the beloved crop art tradition. One entry in the advanced class and one entry in the amateur class, chosen by State Fair staff and notified by email, will each receive two free tickets to the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.
  • K-12 Artwork and Photography: Students from across the state are welcome to submit their artwork and photography. All who enter will receive a certificate of participation via email. State Fair staff will select three photography and three drawing/painting entries from each grade to feature on social media. Entries include photography (black and white or color) and drawing/painting (using any medium including but not limited to: crayons, markers, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media).
  • Quilt On-A-Stick: One of the fair’s most unique competitions, Quilt On-A-Stick features the 2020 theme, “Fishing in Minnesota: The One That Got Away.” Maximum dimensions are 8” x 9” and can use any quilting method – machine or by hand – with a paint stirrer as the stick. This competition will be judged, and the top five submissions will be highlighted on social media.

Entry photos will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27. Officials say the State Fair staff picks will be announced on the fair’s social media channels between Friday, Aug. 28 and Labor Day, Sept, 7.

For more information on the virtual showcases and how to enter click here.

In addition, State Fair officials say the show will go on for the 2020 Fine Arts Exhibition of Minnesota. The showcase will feature work by hundreds of artists from across the state selected through an online juried competion.

Fans of the fair can view the exhibition during special in-person gallery showings in the Fine Arts Center on the State Fairgrounds from Thursday, Aug. 27 through Labor Day, Sept. 7. Tickets for the gallery showings are $10 each and currently on sale.

The exhibition is also available through a video-recorded tour and an online catalog, both available later this summer at no cost.

For more information on the exhibition click here.

The Minnesota State Fair was canceled in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fair officials say they look forward to bringing the full fair experience back next summer.

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