SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Over 2 million people attended the Minnesota State Fair last year, which is about 36 percent of the entire state population. After breaking attendance records in 2018, the State Fair is gearing to break records again this year with new attractions, new vendors, and of course, new foods.
“The north end of the fairgrounds is a marquee of our new attractions. We've been making quite a few changes to the north end over the past few years all leading up to a big new building,” said Danielle Dullinger, State Fair spokesperson. “The North End Event Center is the centerpiece.”
This state-of-the-art exhibit hall, featuring 12,000 square feet of space, will house a new attraction each year.
Kicking off its debut year, the hall will showcase Angry Birds Universe: The Exhibit.
“Angry Birds was popularized by the phone app a few years ago and then it became a movie, so it is really popular,” said Dullinger. “This exhibit is super hands-on, super interactive, will feature a lot of math and science concepts, some really fun hands-on activities, for not just kids, but adults as well.”
There is expected to be a zip line for kids to ride through the exhibit, which will be at no additional cost. This exhibit is part of attendees’ admission tickets.
Fairgoers can purchase their tickets in advance for $12 through Aug. 21. Tickets can be purchased online at the State Fair website, mnstatefair.org, at the State Fair ticket office, the Minneapolis Visitor Center, Cub Foods grocery stores and many other locations in greater Minnesota and Hudson, Wis.
“We always encourage people to get their tickets before the Fair starts,” she said. “You'll save money. They're just $12 for any age, any day of the fair, so we consider it one of the best values out there.”
To help make getting to the Fair easier, two new park and ride locations have been added. The Grace Lutheran Church on Old Hudson Road in Saint Paul is one location, and the other is in Roseville, north of the Courtyard by Marriott.
A full list of park and ride locations is available on the website, along with information about taking Metro Transit, taxis or rideshares, or driving to the grounds. Keep in mind, parking is limited at the Fair.
One of the cornerstones to the Minnesota State Fair are the livestock exhibits. Since the beginning, Minnesota producers, as well as those from surrounding states, have brought their cattle, pigs, horses, poultry and more to the Fair to showcase.
Attendees have gotten the chance to see these animals up close and learn about them at different booths set up in the barns. The Moo Booth, the Oink Booth and the Baa Booth are interactive places for adults and kids to learn abut the animals and livestock production.
New this year will be the Goat Booth.
“Goats are a really fast-growing class for us; more than 1,400 goats came to the Fair last year,” she said. “Our goat show has become the premier goat show. Because of this and just the fact that it is really important, and our fairgoers also love them, so we created the Goat Booth.”
The Goat Booth will be at the Fair the last four days in the same location as the Baa Booth. It will feature all kinds of information about goats, how they are raised, the different types and the many products that come from goat production.
The State Fair starts Aug. 22 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2. Gates are open from 6 a.m. to midnight, and 10 p.m., on Labor Day. Many of the attractions inside the grounds open at 9 a.m. For a full list of hours and events, refer to the State Fair website at mnstatefair.org.
Perhaps this year, the State Fair will break even more attendance records.
“What's crazy to us is that it's increasingly more national. We’re getting people from all 50 states and multiple countries coming,” said Dullinger. “That's a pretty big deal to us. We’re getting to showcase the best of Minnesota to not only the state, but the country and the world.”