2016 Family Guide to the Minnesota State Fair

2016

It’s almost here! The Great Minnesota Get Together is an event we look forward to all year long. Some people, we won’t say who, might even go every single day. It’s a busy place with so much to do, so we’ve compiled some of our family friendly fair favorites. Be sure to check out our safety tips as well as kid-friendly booths and ideas for date night at the fair. All of this and so much more. We’ll see you at the fair!

Featured Event: Rock the Cradle Pop-Up at Minnesota State Fair

State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

The Current is bringing their popular Rock the Cradle event to the Minnesota State Fair! This pop up version, presented by our sponsor, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, will feature a fun space to relax and cool off. Enjoy music from The Current and kid-friendly programming on a giant screen with fun blow up chairs. Spin the prize wheel, cool off in front of a mist fan and more! Rock the Cradle Pop-Up events are perfect for kids 2-8 years old. Learn more at rockthecradle.org.

What: Rock the Cradle Pop-Up Event

When: Sunday, Sept. 4, 9 a.m. – Noon

Where: Minnesota State Fair, MPR booth at the corner of Judson and Nelson

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

  • Care & Assistance: This is the place to go if anyone in your group happens to get lost or separated while at the fair. It’s open daily from 8:00am until 11:pm on the south side of West Dan Patch Ave near the West End Market.
  • First Aid: Dial (651)-288-4500 if you need medical assistance while at the fair. There are two first aid locations: First Aid West is located on the south side of West Dan Patch Ave between Randall Ave and Liggett Street and is open 8:00am-12:30am & First Aid East is located inside the north end of the 4-H Building on the east side of Cosgrove Street and is open 8:00am-10:00pm.
  • Food Allergies: Look for allergy warning signs at most fair vendors. These are not a requirement, however, so be sure to ask each vendor if you have a particular allergy.
  • ID Bracelets: Grab your FREE identification bracelets for your kids at the Care & Assistance building or all information booths. These can help reunite you and your children in the event that they get lost.
  • Police: Did you know the State Fair has their own police department? Call the State Fair Police at (651)-288-4500 in case of emergency. The main police station is located on the south side of West Dan Patch Ave between Randall Ave and Liggett Street and is open 24 hours. There is also a substation on the west side of Cosgrove Street north of Libby Conference Center.

State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

  • Hours: The fairgrounds open each day at 6:00am until midnight. Gates are open from 6:00am until admission ends at 10:00pm. (Hours are adjusted on Labor Day).
  • Maps: Use these maps to navigate your way around through fair. *Insider tip: download the MN State fair app on your phone! This handy tool will help you find exactly where your favorite foods are, will find your location to show you your proximity to any attraction, and best of all, it’s completely FREE!
  • Tickets:
    • Adults (13-64): $13
    • Seniors (65+): $11
    • Kids (5-12): $11
    • Children under 5: FREE
  • Ticket Discount Days:
    • August 25th: Thrifty Thursday. Save $2 on adult admission, $3 on kids admission.
    • August 29th: Senior & Kids Day. Seniors & kids tickets are $8.
    • August 30th: Military Appreciation Day. Military members and their families get tickets for any age group for $8.
    • August 31st: Ride & Read Day. Save $2 on adult admission, $3 on kids admission who present a valid library card.
    • September 1st: Seniors Day. Seniors get in for $8.
    • September 5th: Kids Day. Kids get in for $8.

State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

  • Bikes: If you live near the fair, biking is the cheapest way to park! Choose from one of three FREE bike lots on the fairgrounds.
  • Express Buses: 21 locations across the Twin Cities have express buses that run from every 15 minutes to every half hour. Buses go from 8am-midnight. Only $5 a ticket round-trip, kids 4 and under are free. Find the stop nearest to you and enjoy the most convenient way to get to the fair if you live in the suburbs.
  • Motorcycles: Only $7 to park at the motorcycle lot on Como Ave. $13 to park in any other fair parking lot.
  • Parking: The fair lots cost $13 (make sure to bring cash!). See map for locations. These are the closest proximity to the fairgrounds. However, many homeowners in the area open up their yards & driveways for smaller fees. If you don’t mind walking, these can be a great option.
  • Park & Ride: FREE Park & Ride buses are offered at 33 locations near the fairgrounds. See them all here! Buses run from 8am-midnight.

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

  • Butter Sculptures: Because where else will you see a giant head carved out of butter?! The Fair princess, Princess Kay of the Milky Way, gets the honor of having her face carved into a 90-lb block of butter each year. Check it out 9:30am-5:00pm daily inside the Dairy Building.
  • Sweet Martha’s: You can get a cone of these, but really…just go for the whole bucket. You won’t regret it. This year you can find Sweet Martha’s at three locations – they’ve expanded to include a new stand so you can buy even more of these classic fair treats. You’ll find the first on the North side of West Dan Patch Ave. between Liggett St. & Chambers St, the second on the South side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets, and the third at the West side of Underwood St. between Lee & Randall avenues.Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog
  • Fairchild: The mascot of the fair since 1966 turns 50 years old this year! Celebrate by grabbing a photo with him daily at 11:00am & 4:00pm at Visitors Plaza.
  • Giant Slide: This fair classic is perfect for kids and adults alike! Grab a sack, pile the whole family on, and have someone take a video as you fly down the slide! Only $2.50 a rider located between Dan Patch and Carnes Avenues.
  • Mighty Midway: The rides and games of the Midway are a great place to make memories with your family. Tickets cost $1 each, or you can buy sheets for $25 for 30 tickets. Kidway is a great option as well, which has rides for younger children.
  • Skyride: This is a great way to get from one end of the fair to the other while taking in the sights of the fairgrounds! Starts at Cooper Street and ends near the West End Market off Liggett Street. Only $4.50 one way or $6 round trip!
  • Space Tower: You will see the 330 foot Space Tower rising above the fair upon arriving. This legendary ride is a great way to get a 360 degree view of the fair! Located on Cooper Street and only costs $3.
  • Ye Old Mill: This classic ride is over 100 years old and is truly an enjoyable piece of history at the fair. Take a boat through the dimly lit canals as you look at fair scenes inside. Your kids will get a kick out of saying they went on the oldest ride at the fair! Only $3.25 a person, located off of Underwood and Carnes Avenues.

With 34+ new foods at the fair this year, there are options for everyone! Here are a few we are so excited to try:

  • Candied Bacon Donut Sliders: These donut holes are filled with candied bacon and red wine ganache then drizzled with chocolate. Wait, bacon, wine, AND chocolate?! Sign us up! Find them at Minnesota Wine Country.

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

  • Deep Fried Grilled Cheese Bites: Enjoy white cheddar cheese between beer battered bread, deep fried with a side of bloody mary mix marinara! Grab them at O’Garas at the Fair.

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

  • OOF-da Tacos: A fry bread shell stuffed with beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, black olives, sour cream, and onion. Vegetarian options are available too!

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

  • Cheesy French Onion Monkey Bread: Both sweet & savory, this artisan bread is full of caramelized onion, beef broth, & cheese and then baked. Look for this at the Blue Moon Dine-In Theater!

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

  • Iron Range Meat & Potatoes: Nothing says Minnesota like meat, potatoes , and wild rice! This seasoned beef is piled high with cheese, mashed potatoes, and drizzled in wild rice gravy. Find this hearty treat at Giggles Campfire Grill!

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{All photos by Minnesota State Fair}

State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

  • Baldwin Park & Family Fair: This is home to Alphabet Forest, Math on A Stick, & tons of other family friendly shopping, entertainment, and concessions.
  • CHS Miracle of Birth Center: This booth located on the south side of Judson Ave between Clough and Nelson Street has something for all ages to enjoy. Watch cows, pigs, and many other animals give birth, pet newborn baby animals, and meet some of the farmers that raise these animals. Every day a new animal is born, so be sure to check back if you head to the fair multiple times to see the latest babies!
  • Equimania: Do you have a horse lover at your house? This is the perfect exhibit for you! Learn about horse behavior, anatomy, nutrition and more from equine experts. There are many hands-on activities for kids to enjoy as well as educational lessons for them to take with them.
  • Giant Sing Along: Grab a giant microphone and sing your heart out to popular songs with your whole family! Open from 9:00am-8:00pm, this is the place to take some fun photos & videos of your kids. Find it across from the Pet Center.
  • Great Big Sandbox: Located near the Family Fair Stage at Baldwin Park, this is the perfect booth for kids of all ages to enjoy! This is a great spot to watch your kids build a sand castle, dig a trench, and fill their buckets while you relax after a long day of walking the fair! It is open 8:00am-9:00pm each day.
  • Little Farm Hands: Kemps Little Farm Hands is an interactive experience that gives children a look into how our food makes its way from farm to market to table. Grab your bucket and apron, “pick” your own produce, and cash it in for “money” at the end- which you can use to purchase a special treat! Kids ages 3-10 will love riding the tiny tractors, milking a cow, and planting crops! Open 8:00am-7:00pm each day.
  • Moo Booth: Kids will be fascinated by cow milkings and learning about cows and their behavior. The Moo Booth holds fun contests and demonstrations for people of all ages! Open daily at the Cattle Barn.

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

(Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

  • Baby Changing Stations: These are available in nearly every bathroom on the fairgrounds. *Insider tip- the West End Market has great, newer restrooms that are very clean and have changing tables!
  • Coolers, Bags, & Outside Food/Drinks: While your bags will be subject to search at the gate, you can absolutely bring them in to the fair. No need to worry about how you will keep your bottles or baby food cold!
  • Nursing Facilities: The Care & Assistance building has private nursing rooms available from 8:00am-11:00pm. You can also find nursing areas at the myTalk 107.1 booth & the TPT Twin Cities booth.
  • Stroller/Wagon Rentals: Don’t feel like hauling your stroller or wagon along? Swing by one of five HomeTown Mobility booths to get one on a first come, first served basis. Wagons are $15 a day while strollers are $12 (single) and $15 (double). Open 7am-11pm daily.
  • Sunscreen: Forget sunscreen for your little one? No worries! Head to the nearest Information Booth and grab some for FREE!
  • Water: Keep your little ones hydrated by bringing in your own sippy cups and water bottles! These can be refilled at FREE water stations located in the Coliseum, the Eco Experience booth, and restrooms south of Kidway on Cooper Street.

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

The smartest thing you can do is spend the day at the fair, head out in the afternoon and get your hands stamped on your way out so you can return at night kid-free! Get a babysitter and make it a full day at the Great Minnesota Get Together!! We could go on and on with how to spend an evening with your sweetheart at the fair, but here are a few of our favorites:

  • Head to the arcade at the corner of Carnes Ave and Nelson Street and try your hand at a few games! Hop in the photo booth and snap some cute photos!
  • The Leinie Lodge has a series of “Bandshell Tonight!” concerts each night at 8:30pm. See the full, FREE lineup here!
  • If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of the extreme thrill rides in Adventure Park. The Sling Shot and the Skyscraper will send you flying high over the fair in a way you never have before!
  • The West End Market is full of things to do. Catch live music at Schell’s Stage, shop the local artisans and vendors, and grab an adult beverage and appetizers at Lulu’s Public House, which has a great rooftop patio area.
  • Surprise your sweetheart with tickets to a Grandstand concert! Enjoy one of many great acts that play each night and watch the sunset over the fair.
  • End your date night with fireworks! Every night around 10-11pm, there is an outstanding fireworks show that can be seen across the entire fair (weather permitting). Camp out on a bench and grab a bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies as you enjoy the view! *Insider tip- watch these from the Skyride for an extra special view!

Minnesota State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

  • All-Star Stunts Dog Show: Watch dogs of all sizes compete in various competitions. Offered daily at 11:00, 2:00, and 4:30 on the North Woods Stage.
  • Grandstand concerts: Enjoy an outdoor concert at the Grandstand! Tickets are an additional cost. This years acts include top artists such as Don Henley, The Dixie Chicks, Demi Lovato & Nick Jonas, Weezer, & Bonnie Raitt.
  • Lazer Hitz Shows: These free shows are held nightly at 9:15pm on Cosgrove Street by the Family Fair at Baldwin Park. Be amazed by the laser light show set to popular music! This is a great way to end the night with your kids who may need to sit down and relax at the end of a long, fun-filled day.
  • Lumberjack Show: Your kids will LOVE watching lumberjacks climb logs, swing their axes, and do stunts of all kinds! Check it out at 12:00, 3:00, 5:30, or 7:00 on the North Woods Stage.
  • Old Iron Show: Get a glimpse of rare, antique farm equipment and enjoy free demonstrations. Perfect for the little tractor lovers in your life! Open 8:00am to 7:00pm on Lee Avenue.
  • The State Fair Parade: Check out local high school marching bands, floats,  fair royalty and more at this daily parade. Occurs every day at 2:00pm beginning at Judson Avenue. Bring a blanket and put your feet up for a bit with your family as you enjoy the sights and sounds of the parade.
  • Unite in Purple: Fairgoers will celebrate the life of Prince on Friday, August 26th from 5:00pm-close. Honor this local legend by wearing purple and listening to musical tributes all across the fair on various stages.

State Fair Guide 2016 | Twin Cities Moms Blog

{Photo by Minnesota State Fair}

Did you know that the State Fair is a great place to do some shopping? With its distinctive shopping neighborhoods, local merchants, and wide array of products, there is truly something for everyone at the fair! Here are a few tips we have for making the most of your shopping experience:

  • Shop Local- The fair is a fantastic place to meet some local business owners and support them by checking out their merchandise.  Here are several booths we recommend:
    • Birchberry Native Arts & Food- White Earth Tribe inspired coats, baskets, wild rice, teas, baby moccasins. Located in the International Bazaar.
    • Holly House Boutique- Seasonal items that showcase local artisans’ handmade designs including pillows, bird feeders, soaps, signs, bags, and slippers. Located in the upper level of the Grandstand.
    • I Like You- Locally made items by Minnesota artists and crafters including apparel, hates, mittens, prints, dishtowels, accessories, and home and wall decor. Check out their coupon in the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book for $6 off one shirt or buy two shirts and get the third free! Located in the West End Market.
    • Machine Age Lamps- Unique machine age lamps, tables, and steampunk art light fixtures designed from salvaged early American factory parts. Located in the West End Market.
    • Wish Boutique- Mixed material reversible skirts, baseball caps, mens and women’s Minnesota tees, side zippered sweatshirts, custom designed jewelry, Slapper Koozies for bottles and Vino2Go tumblers. Located in the upper level of the Grandstand.
  • Shopping Neighborhoods- From handmade gifts to the latest gadgets, you can find everything you need at the fair! Every neighborhood as something different, so be sure to check them all out! Shopping neighborhoods include: Baldwin Park/Family Fair, Creative Activities Annex, Dairy Building, FAN Central, Grandstand (two floors!), Home Improvement Building, International Bazaar, Merchandise Mart, Pet Center, Warner Coliseum, and West End Market.

3 Responses to 2016 Family Guide to the Minnesota State Fair

  1. Sarah beron August 15, 2016 at 2:20 PM #

    New this year, you can try log rolling at the Key Log Rolling and Blue Ox Log Rolling pool near Minnesota Bound and the lumberjack shows! Everyday 11am-7pm.
    http://Www.blueoxlogrolling.weebly.com

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