Festivals & Events

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Minnesota boasts many noteworthy festivals and events throughout the year, giving residents and visitors alike the opportunity to participate in a kaleidoscope of activities. Every corner of the state showcases spectacular events, highlighting the heritage and culture of the region, ranging from German Oktoberfest festivities, ice fishing adventures to American Indian powwows. Visit with colorful fur traders at Big Island Rendezvous in Albert Lea, or experience one of the largest state fairs in the nation in St. Paul. Minnesota festivals and events offer a unique experience for everyone.

In addition to the sampling of festivals listed below, hundreds of other events take place throughout the state. For more information, please visit the exploreminnesota.com events page.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival
Jan. 23 – Feb. 2, 2014
Long known as the nation's oldest winter festival, since 1886 the Carnival has provided indoor and outdoor fun while reliving the ancient legend of springtime's triumph over winter. The celebration features 75 events including parades, ice and snow carving competitions, ice skating, golf on ice and singing contests.
www.winter-carnival.com

International Eelpout Festival, Walker
Feb. 20 – 23, 2014  
This festival is a tradition steeped in ice angling on Leech Lake for one of the ugliest bottom-dwelling fish. The 34th Annual International Eelpout Festival attracts more than 10,000 participants and visitors to the tiny town of Walker, Minn., (pop. 1,500) for three days in February. Several activities are held throughout the weekend, including the 10th-annual Polar Pout Plunge, curling, bull riding, auto ice racing, rugby and a fishing show. Always a spectacle, this bucket list-worthy adventure has increasingly drawn national attention, including "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
www.eelpoutfestival.com

Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship, St. Paul
Feb. 20 – 22, 2014
The Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship makes its way to St. Paul, Minnesota, for the third year in a row in 2014 as one of five stops around the world. Two hundred of the toughest, fastest, ice cross downhill racers will go head-to-head through a downhill course full of mind-and-body-bending jumps, turns and slides – all against the backdrop of the historic Cathedral of Saint Paul with more than 100,000 spectators. Admission is free.
www.redbullsignatureseries.com

Grand Celebration Pow Wow, Hinckley
June 20 22, 2014
This American Indian event is the largest powwow in the Midwest with more than 1,200 dancers, drummers and singers from nearly every tribe in the USA and Canada participating. In addition to watching the dances, visitors learn about American Indian traditions, eat traditional food and purchase handmade crafts.
www.millelacsojibwe.org

The Judy Garland Festival, Grand Rapids
June 13 – 15, 2014
2014 marks the 38th annual Judy Garland Festival and furthermore, the 75th anniversary of "The Wizard of Oz." The Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, MN is planning a major celebration of this revered film and its iconic star, born Francis Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids in 1922.
www.judygarlandmuseum.com

Scandinavian Hjemkomst & Midwest Viking Festivals, Moorhead
June 27 & 28, 2014
This authentic Scandinavian event features dancing, entertainment, booths and food celebrating the heritage of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. The festival takes place at the Heritage Hjemkomst Center, home of the Viking ship that sailed from Minnesota to Norway in 1982.
www.nordiccultureclubs.org

Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Minneapolis
July 15, 2014
In its 85th year, the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held at Target Field in Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Twins. This marks the third time that Minnesota has hosted the MLB All-Star Game.
www.mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/all_star/index.jsp

Bayfront Blues Festival, Duluth
Aug. 8 – 10, 2014
One of the largest outdoor music festivals in the Midwest, the 25th annual Bayfront Blues Festival showcases nearly 30 national performances on two concert stages. Additional weekend events include a Moonlight Mardi Gras Cruise and live blues performances at nearly 20 Duluth nightclubs. The event takes place in Canal Park on Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world.
www.bayfrontblues.com

Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Aug. 16 – Sept. 28, 2014
Journey back in time to a 16th-century European village at the 43rd-annual Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, MN. The popular festival dons 120 European food booths, live jousting, elephant rides and belly dancing. Plus, an abundance of artisans, selling everything from 16th-century attire, pottery and hand-blown glass to real battle axes. The event welcomes more than 300,000 people each year, becoming one of the largest renaissance festivals in the country.
www.renaissancefest.com

Minnesota State Fair, St. Paul
Aug. 21 – Sept. 1, 2014
The Great Minnesota Get-Together features world-class entertainment, agricultural exhibits, horse shows, a rodeo, arts and craft displays, amusement park rides, a daily parade and food of every variety, often served on a stick! The event attracts almost 2 million visitors each year.
www.mnstatefair.org

Big Island Rendezvous & Festival, Albert Lea
Oct. 4 & 5, 2014
This celebration of history during the fur trade period of America (1650-1840) and early frontier America features music performances by groups from throughout the U.S. and Canada, hundreds of tents and campfires with more than 1,000 living history re-enactors carrying on daily life as it would have been more than 200 years ago. Demonstrations of colonial crafts, Native American skills and pioneer life are showcased throughout the festival so you can try your hand at rigid heddle weaving, spinning and spoon carving, or watch a gunsmith create a work of art.
www.bigislandfestivalandbbq.org

Oktoberfest, New Ulm
Oct. 3 & 4; 10 & 11, 2014
This old world celebration features live local, regional and European entertainment, along with plenty of great German food and locally brewed August Schell's beer. The festival also boasts musical entertainment, including New Ulm's famous Concord Singers, German brass bands, polka bands and more, and was even ranked one of "10 great places to celebrate Octoberfest" by USA Today Travel.
www.newulmoktoberfest.com

Bentleyville Tour of Lights, Duluth
Nov. – Dec., 2014
Tis' the season for holiday tradition filled with family, friends and celebration on the shores of Lake Superior at Bayfront Festival Park, home to the largest holiday display in the Midwest. Bentleyville Tour of Lights is a magical display of nearly three million lights and the tallest Christmas tree in the U.S. (twice the height of New York City's famous Rockefeller Christmas Tree). Admission to Bentleyville Tour of Lights is free to the public.
www.bentleyvilleusa.org