Entertainment is the Minnesota State Fair’s Middle Name

Attractions, Events, Family, Food, Minnesota, MN, Summer, Twin Cities

Raise your hand if you’re excited for the Great Minnesota Get Together, AKA the Minnesota State Fair, to begin. ????

The 2017 fair is going to be bigger & better than ever with the new additions they have in store for you! Don’t worry, the new guys won’t take away from your favorite go-to Minnesota State Fair traditions like the Giant Slide, the Daily Parade (2pm daily) and concerts at the Grandstand. There may even be some areas of the Minnesota State Fair that you didn’t even know about. We’re here to give you a broad vision of all the amazing, fun and exciting entertainment, attractions and foods to check out this year. Let the fun commence!

Let Them Entertain You

It’s safe to say that the Minnesota State Fair truly has something for everyone. Where else can you see the live birth of a piglet, watch Princess Kay get carved into a 90-pound block of butter, ride the Orbiter, eat a tub of Sweet Martha’s Cookies, and finish the day with a live concert from Sam Hunt? We’re going to guess, nowhere. The fair offers 900 shows with 100+ acts throughout the 12 days of the Minnesota State Fair making it Minnesota’s Largest Music Festival.


12 days of the Minnesota State Fair brings 12 acts to the Grandstand, the largest stage in the fairgrounds with 13,000 seats. Beginning with Nickelback on the 24th, Stevie Nicks on the 25th, Jim Gaffigan on the 26th, Toby Keith on the 27th, Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons on the 28th, John Mellencamp on the 29th, Pentatonix on the 30th, Usher on the 31st, The Minnesota Show with Garrison Keillor on the 1st, Phantogram on the 2nd, Amateur Talent Contest Finals on the 3rd, and finally, Sam Hunt on the 4th. Tickets are still available for some of the nights!

Leinie Lodge Bandshell

Music at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell is FREE with fair admission. An estimated 5,000 music fans (3,000 seated & 2,000 standing) can enjoy live music from 3 different musicians/groups throughout each day of the fair. When the sun goes down, the stage turns into Bandshell Tonight with popular acts: The Pointer Sisters, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Chris Janson, Tanya Tucker, Foghat, and Hippo Campus. Make sure you grab a seat (and a cold brew from Leinenkugle’s) early for the acts you don’t want to miss!

International Bazaar

From music to dancing, the International Bazaar showcases cultural entertainment at its finest. Enjoy Native American dancing, authentic Cuban music, Latin infused jazz music, Germanic tunes from a 35-member wind instrument band, and Chinese cultural dance. All FREE with your admission into the fair.

Schell’s Stage at Shilling Amphitheater

Yes, it’s true… more FREE entertainment. The Schell’s Stage offers some unique entertainment that you wouldn’t normally see. Acts include The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers, The Minnesota State Fiddle Contest and daily entertainment from the Minnesota Historical Society presenting History On-A-Schtick (a must see). You’ll also enjoy music from several musicians ranging from ukulele Americana, old blues and orchestra big band music.

Continuing with the FREE Shows…

We have a few more stages to talk about that are FREE (can you believe it!?). Ramberg Center, Family Fair Stage at Baldwin Park, Cosgrove Stage, The Garden Stage, Festival of Nations Demo Stage, The North Woods, and the X-Zone. PHEW!

Family Entertainment

Going beyond the free shows you can enjoy throughout the Minnesota State Fair there’s plenty of other free fun for families to check out. Alphabet Forest is full of alphabet activities from creating a alphabet Ferris wheel to meeting Blue Ribbon authors. Math On-A-Stick lets you explore math in a fun way by playing different games and activities. Little Farm Hands brings working on the farm to life for children, ages 3-10. Laser Encore is a nightly (9:15pm) laser show choreographed to your favorite hit music.

There is SO MUCH MORE to explore at the Minnesota State Fair but why read about it when you can go out and enjoy it yourself! Use the fair Fun Finder to find all the things you love most when going to the fair.

New Attractions & Vendors

This year the Minnesota State Fair has 20 new attractions/vendors to check out. We highlighted some of our favorites for you.

  • The tallest traveling Ferris wheel in North America, the Great Big Wheel, will carry riders 15 stores high (156 feet!) for an epic view of the fairgrounds.
  • Hockey fans will spend time roaming the NHL Centennial Fan Arena where 100 years of unforgettable NHL memorabilia will be all in one place. Even the Stanley Cup will make an appearance September 1-2!
  • Minnesota’s largest yarnbomb, The Great Minnesota Knit Together, will be displayed by the Grandstand Ramp. You’ll want to get your picture taken with the fair inspired crocheted and knitted artwork. Tag your photos with #TheGreatMNKnitTogether.

New Food

We would never forget to mention the food at the Minnesota State Fair! Every year fair fans anticipate when the new foods are announced. This year 31 new foods will be the hot new food items to try along with classic favorites. Also, don’t forget the specialty brews & beverages! We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek taste of five food newbies!

1. Italian Bomba Sandwich

You’ll find this Italian sandwich at Mancini’s al Fresco on the north side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets. This sammie is packed with beer-braised pork shoulder, prosciutto cotto ham, fontina cheese, giardiniera, and aioli. It offers a nice punch of spice but it’s not overly spicy. It will make your taste buds do the bomba!

2. Pizzarito

You read that right! The Pizzarito from Green Mill (located on the east side of Cooper St. between Randall & Wright avenues) is a mix between pizza & a burrito = brilliant! The flour tortilla wraps around a mix of pepperoni, Italian sausage, risotto, mozzarella, and marinara. Then the tortilla is slathered in garlic butter and topped with parmesan and Italian spices before it’s baked and served with marinara for dipping. The Pizzarito is the perfect snack to pair with a cold beer!

3. Sweet Corn Blueberry Éclair

We bet you didn’t think you could find something so elegant looking and sounding at the Minnesota State Fair. YOU CAN! The Farmers Union Coffee Shop, located on the north side of Dan Patch Ave. between Cooper & Cosgrove streets, is baking the Sweet Corn Blueberry Éclair with Kernza® flour and filling it with sweet corn pastry cream and topping it with a blueberry glaze. We would eat this éclair for breakfast or when you need something slightly sweet; it’s not overly sweet, which we like.

4. Mobster’s Caviar

Caviar at the Minnesota State Fair? Well, sorta… Mobster’s Caviar is a mix of cream cheese dip with crab meat, green onions, fresh red peppers and water chestnuts. They’ll have whole wheat flatbread crackers to dip and enjoy this refreshing and light dip. We definitely prefer this “caviar” over the real deal! The Hideaway Speakeasy (a NEW vendor) is serving up this dish in the Veranda, Grandstand upper level.

5. Brown Ale and Onion-Gouda Tipsy Pie

A Tipsy Pie is exactly what it sounds like… a booze infused pie. Now that we have your attention, the Brown Ale and Onion-Gouda Tipsy Pie can be found at Sara’s Tipsy Pies in the Food Building. This particular pie has onions that have been caramelized in Lift Bridge Brewery’s Chestnut Hill Brown Ale and mixed with smoked Gouda cheese. It’s all baked in a flaky pie crust and topped with an onion sugar and a sweet beer glaze drizzled on top. Cheers!

Getting Ready for the Fair

Now that your head is spinning with all of the things you MUST do at the fair this year, it’s time to get prepared. You can order your Minnesota State Fair admission tickets online and check out the discount days and other special days & events. Also, save money once you’re at the fair with 150 coupons with the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. Download the Minnesota State Fair app to have the daily schedule on your phone and right at your fingertips. You can always utilize the info booths located throughout the fair to ask any fair related questions. Last but not least, get your hotel room booked with our Minnesota State Fair Hotel Packages!