Aug 25, 2022 - Things to Do

Minnesota State Fair: What to know about this year's events

crowd at the state fair
Photo: Judy Griesedieck/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The 2022 Minnesota State Fair begins Thursday, kicking off 12 days of end-of-summer fun.

The big picture: It's the first "normal" fair since the pandemic; 2020 was canceled and 2021 was hampered by uncertainty, COVID concerns and bad weather.

  • "It just has a whole different feel than 2021," State Fair general manager Jerry Hammer told Axios of the preparations.

State of play: Fair officials are planning for attendance of roughly 1.7 million, shy of 2019's record 2.1 million visitors.

  • Hammer said vendors are "in a much better place this year," with many of last year's labor shortage and supply chain issues resolved. Most vendors that survived the pandemic returned, he added.

Yes, but: The fair isn't immune to inflation, which means fairgoers might encounter higher prices beyond tickets, which are up $1 from last year.

  • "I expect things will cost more for vendors, for everybody," Hammer said. "If you're in business at all, you're not immune due to inflation."

What's new: In addition to new fair foods and drinks, such as Pickle Pizza and White Claw slushies, the Midway is adding several new roller coasters, Blue Ribbon Bingo and a host of other attractions.

  • This year's concert line-up, meanwhile, includes The Beach Boys, Pitbull, Florida Georgia Line and Portugal. The Man.

Yes, and: Gerry Kulzer will take over the butter bust creation for Linda Christensen, who retired last year after decades in the Dairy Building.

Threat level: Low, according to Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington. But that hasn't stopped officials from putting together what he called the "most robust and the most versatile and most flexible plan" he's seen in his decades in local law enforcement.

  • The plan includes 200 officers from 55 agencies across the state and enhanced security inside and outside the gates. Metal detectors will be at the entrances again this year.

Details: The fair is open daily from 7 am to 11 pm through Labor Day, when it closes at 9 pm.

  • Tickets can be purchased online, at some local grocery stores or at the fairgrounds.
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