It's State Fair Time!

By Explore Minnesota

Minnesota State Fair Ferris Wheel
Photo by Robert Ferdinandt

The Minnesota State Fair is known for foods on a stick, adorable baby animals, great concerts and those infamous butter sculptures. This year's event, held Aug. 25-Sept. 5, is no exception.

In addition to offering the old standbys, the 2016 get-together has plenty of new attractions and edibles, and will be announced in the coming months.

Visit the West End Market, a one-of-a-kind destination that celebrates the spirit of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The area includes the Minnesota State Fair History & Heritage Center, showcasing treasured artifacts and photographs that highlight the fair’s 150+ years of history.

Thrill seekers of all ages will find dozens of rides in the Mighty Midway and Kidway including the new Charlie Chopper that airlifts pint-size riders to experience a birds-eye view of the Kidway. For the grown-ups, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild sells flights of local beers, experts host demos on gardening and eco-living, and merchants sell everything from handcrafted pottery to accessories made of bicycle parts.

New exhibits for 2016 include the Hen House that showcases modern housing for two flocks of hens, the Recipe Card Roundup giveaway featuring six top ribbon-winning recipes, and the National Park Service Centennial Celebration on August 29.

State Fair cheese curds_square

Music fans of all kinds will find artists they love playing at the Grandstand; this year's lineup features Don Henley (Aug. 25), Charlie Wilson with special guest Fantasia (Aug. 26), Dixie Chicks (Aug. 27-28), Happy Together Tour 2016 (Aug. 29), G-Eazy (Aug. 30), A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor (Sept. 2) Weezer (Sept. 3) and Bonnie Raitt (Sept. 5).

It wouldn't be the State Fair without indulging in some one-of-a-kind foods. Mini donuts, cheese curds, french fries, corn dogs and chocolate chip cookies are among the staples, as well as more than 60 things on a stick, from candied bacon donut sliders to deep fried grilled cheese bites to SPAM sushi. Discover your favorite with the fair's online Food Finder.