Minnesota State Fair Tips, Bargains & Need-To-Know Info
The 2018 Minnesota State Fair is underway and runs through Labor Day -- featuring dozens of new attractions, exhibits and foods; a variety of discounts and special deal days; numerous special events; and hundreds of free live music and entertainment acts. Here's what you need to know.
New Attractions & Exhibits
Several new attractions make their State Fair debut in 2018, including the Cambria Kitchen (formerly the Creative Activities Demonstration Kitchen) -- totally transformed into a state-of-the-art facility to showcase presentations, featuring a full schedule of premier local chefs and demonstrators, including Andrew Zimmerman.
New Fair Foods for 2018
Twenty-seven new foods and two new vendors have been added to the fair’s list of more than 500 food options at 300 different concession locations.
Music & Entertainment
The 2018 free entertainment lineup features more than 900 shows - all free with the price of State Fair admission.
The historic State Fair Grandstand is home to 11 nights of big-name entertainment including Sugarland and Old Dominion. Tickets are available HERE or by calling (800) 514-3849. A nightly Fireworks Spectacular follows each Grandstand show, weather
Military Appreciation Day is Tuesday, August 28th, when the Minnesota State Fair honors our nation’s heroes with admission discounts and special events throughout the day. The day begins at 9:30 AM with a ceremony at the Veterans Garden on the south side of the Agriculture Horticulture Building. It is followed at 10 AM with an opening ceremony flag-raising program at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell and a helicopter flyover by 34th Combat Aviation Brigade.
The Amateur Talent Contest showcases Minnesotaʼs top talent. During the first 10 days of the fair, semifinals will be held at 6 PM nightly at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell. Winners from semifinals will compete in the finals at 7:30 PM Sunday, September 2nd, at the Grandstand.
In addition to dozens of rides and games at the Mighty Midway and Kidway, there are more than 10 different ticketed attractions for fair guests to enjoy including: Space Tower, Ye Old Mill, Go Karts, Haunted House, River Raft Ride, SkyGlider and Skyride, among others. Charlie Chopper, a new Kidway ride, is set to make its debut airlifting pint-size pilots skyward for a birds-eye view of the fairgrounds.
Discounts & Special Deal Days
The State Fair offers special admission discounts on six of its 12 days with Thrifty Thursday, Seniors & Kids Days, Military Appreciation Day and Read & Ride Day. Many vendors throughout the fairgrounds offer special savings on these deal days.
The 2018 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book offers 150 coupons with huge savings on food, merchandise and attractions. Bargain Books are available wherever pre-fair discount tickets are sold before the fair, and at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book & State Fair Poster Carts during the fair. Coupons are valid all 12 days.
Getting to the Get-Together
Free parking with free shuttle bus service to and from the fair is available from 8 AM to Midnight daily at 33 locations within a short distance of the fairgrounds.
State Fair Express Bus service is offered at 21 sites throughout the Twin Cities area. Round-trip Express Bus fare is $5 for persons five years and older; children age four and under ride free with a paid fare. Parking at each site is free.
Metro Transit routes 960, 84, 3 and the A Line service the fairgrounds directly. Click HERE for more information on these regular Metro Transit routes. Guests planning to take the METRO Green Line to the fair should get off at the Snelling Avenue Station and take the A Line or Route #84 bus to the fairgrounds.
Three free secured bicycle parking areas are available on the fairgrounds and open from 6 AM to Midnight. Click HERE for more information on biking to the State Fair.
Parking in State Fairgrounds lots is $13 (cash only). Motorcycle parking is available for $7 in a secured lot on the south side of Como Avenue across from Gate #7.
Guest Services & Information
The Great Minnesota Get-Together offers many free services and amenities for guest convenience, including: free trolley rides on the north end of the fairgrounds; information booths stocked with free maps, daily schedules, specialty brochures, Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guides and complimentary sunscreen; a free Wi-Fi hotspot at the West Grandstand Plaza and First Aid Stations located on the east and west ends of the fairgrounds.
Minnesota State Fair App
The free Minnesota State Fair App is the smartphone user’s official guide to navigating the Great Minnesota Get-Together. This special technology created just for Minnesota State Fair fans uses the popular Food Finder, Merch & More Search and Fun Finder tools to help guests locate their favorites. The app is available to download for free through iTunes or Google Play.
Have fun at the Fair and have a Pronto Pup for me! - Pete