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. 24-Sept. 4, is no exception.

In addition to offering the old standbys, the 2017 get-together has plenty of new exhibits and edibles, including the Great Big Wheel, the tallest traveling Ferris wheel in North America. Sports fans will enjoy the NHL Centennial Fan Arena that celebrates 100 years of unforgettable NHL moments with memorabilia, a virtual reality Zamboni experience and an opportunity to see the Stanley Cup.

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 Clown Around ride that takes little ones for a spin. 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. If you like to knit, visit Minnesota’s largest yarnbomb – a form of street art featuring crocheted, knitted and other crafted yarn creations on the Grandstand ramp.

State Fair cheese curds_square

Music fans of all kinds will find artists they love playing at the Grandstand; this year's lineup features Nickelback (Aug. 24), Stevie Nicks (Aug. 25), comedian Jim Gaffigan (Aug. 26), Toby Keith with special guest 3 Doors Down (Aug.  27), Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (Aug. 28), John Mellencamp (Aug. 29), Pentatonix (Aug. 30), Usher (Aug. 31), Garrison Keillor (Sept. 1), and country star Sam Hunt (Sept. 4).

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. Some new dishes for 2017 include duck bacon wontons, deep-fried avocado, cranberry wild rice meatballs and a pizzarito. Discover your favorite with the fair's online Food Finder.