Media // News Releases // Press Release

For Immediate Release
State of Minnesota

Media Contact(s):

Alyssa Hayes, Explore Minnesota
O: 651-276-8738 // [email protected]

Meredith Kessler, Weber Shandwick
O: 651-308-6224 // [email protected]

State Tourism and Event Leaders Recognize Summer Travel, Festivals and Events Comeback with Announcements

Explore Minnesota kicks off the start of the busy summer travel season during National Travel and Tourism Week event today at Mall of America

ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 4, 2022) – Today Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism promotion office, was joined at the Mall of America by leaders from the Minnesota Festivals and Events Association, Minnesota State Fair, Twin Cities in Motion, and Twin Cities Pride to kick off the summer travel season and celebrate the comeback of many events and festivals in 2022 with sneak peeks and special announcements.


  • Twin Cities in Motion announced an all-new live race day artist collaboration, set to debut during Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon’s 40th anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 2. On marathon day, this first-of-its-kind live artist marathon activation will place 10-12 Minnesota artists creating original art in real time at the start of the race, along the course, and at the finish line, inspiring runners and spectators alike.
  • Twin Cities Pride recognized its 50th anniversary and event evolution by announcing a new, all-ages headline performance by Carly Rae Jepson at The Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday, June 25. Also new in 2022 is OUT Venture, an all-outdoors event featuring activities like rock climbing, watersports, and cycling on Saturday, May 21, at Boom Island in Minneapolis following the annual Rainbow Run.
  • The Minnesota State Fair shared excitement and anticipation as they welcome back more visitors from across the state, country and internationally to celebrate the best of Minnesota. The Minnesota State Fair typically generates $268 million in economic impact.


Today’s remarks coincide with National Travel and Tourism Week (May 1-7), an annual tradition that recognizes the power of travel in local communities and marks the start of the busy summer travel season across the country. A recent Explore Minnesota survey showed that 89% of travelers intend to hit the road this summer season, with 57% adding fairs, festivals and events to their vacation itineraries.

Minnesota festivals and events are making a big return in 2022, with many celebrating milestone anniversaries like Mall of America’s 30th Birthday, the 50th Annual Twin Cities Pride Festival, the 40th Anniversary of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, the 50th Annual Water Ski Days in Lake City and the 100th Birthday of Judy Garland in Grand Rapids, to name a few.

“Festivals and events fuel the state’s tourism industry, local communities and businesses, from restaurants and lodging to retail and transportation,” said Lauren Bennett McGinty, state tourism director, Explore Minnesota. “The return of many of the state’s signature events, mixed with milestone anniversaries and pent-up demand for travel, give us a lot to look forward to in Minnesota this summer and beyond.”

Festivals and events contribute to Minnesota’s traditional $16.6 billion tourism industry, still recovering from $14 billion in losses since January 2020. National travel spending is also down nearly $755 billion over the last two years, with much driven by the hard-hit event, international inbound and business meetings sectors. Over the last two years, Explore Minnesota directed more than $3 million in crisis grants to communities, as the industry looked for ways to adapt and pivot to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

Minnesota event leaders expressed additional enthusiasm ahead of the summer travel season.

  • “Large and small events from every corner of the state have become more innovative in order to serve their communities. While we remain cautiously optimistic, attending events is a great way to connect with family and friends, and support the wide variety of events that Minnesota has to offer,” said Junia Joseph-Benham, president, Minnesota Festivals and Events Association.


  • “We’re thrilled events are returning to Minnesota in full force this summer. Festivals and events bring communities together like nothing else, and the Minnesota State Fair is no exception. The State Fair has brought people together for more than 160 years, and we look forward to hosting Minnesotans along with bringing people back from across the country and the globe during the 12 days of fun ending Labor Day,” said Renee Alexander, deputy general manager, Minnesota State Fair.


  • “The beauty of Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Weekend extends beyond the fall colors decorating the lakes, river and parkways the course is renowned for. The event is colored with the beauty of the human spirit, and we’re excited to see that reflected through the artists’ work on race day this year,” said Dean Orton, president, Twin Cities in Motion.


  • “Twin Cities Pride is honored to recognize its 50th year, and the importance of festivals and events to the state. Pride is more than a festival, it’s a space for community, and just as Minnesota’s LGBTQIA+ community is growing and evolving, so is Twin Cities Pride. We’re thrilled about new changes to our 2022 lineup, including today’s headline concert announcement at The Armory in Minneapolis, in addition to new and even more inclusive events like OUT Venture,” said Dot Belstler, executive director, Twin Cities Pride. 


Visit for statewide travel resources, festival and event listings. Travelers should continue to take local COVID-19 guidelines into consideration as they explore the state.


Event images

Images from event organizers, along with today’s press conference can be found here. 


Event media contacts  

Minnesota Festivals and Events Association: Junia Joseph-Benham, 404-452-6570, [email protected]

Minnesota State Fair: Lara Hughes, 651-288-4321, [email protected]

Twin Cities in Motion: Charlie Mahler, 952-423-8126, [email protected]

Twin Cities Pride: Caroline Sweeney, 913-645-3518, [email protected]


About Explore Minnesota

As the state's tourism promotion office, Explore Minnesota works to inspire consumers and facilitate travel to and within Minnesota while pursuing an entrepreneurial approach and leveraging the state's tourism investment with increased involvement by the private sector. A council of tourism industry representatives connects Explore Minnesota with tourism businesses and organizations throughout the state. Tourism is a key sector of the state's economy, generating $1.1 billion in state sales tax on $16.6 billion in leisure and hospitality sales and employing nearly 276,000 workers in Minnesota's leisure and hospitality businesses.


Visit, and share your sights with @exploreminn on Twitter, or @exploreminnesota on Instagram and Facebook, using #OnlyinMN.