This Minnesota State Fair guide includes tips and information on food, rides, dates, tickets, hours, and accessibility.

Minnesota State Fair Guide: Tips And Everything You Need To Know!

This Minnesota State Fair guide includes tips and information on food, rides, dates, ticket prices, hours, and accessibility.

Minnesota State Fair Guide

When we were invited by Visit Roseville to attend a press trip in the city and go to the Minnesota State Fair, we literally squealed! We’d always wanted to go and thankfully, now that we’re digital nomads, we were able to work the visit into our schedule.

Pro Tip: Also check out these other Fun Things To Do In Roseville!

We spent over five hours at the fair, although you can easily spend all day there. While there, we tried all kinds of food, went on rides, and took in the fun atmosphere.

We wanted to create this Minnesota State Fair guide to show you why this fair is amazing and why you should plan a trip to visit. We also wanted to offer tips so that when you do visit, you’ll have the best day ever!

And so that it almost feels like you were there with us, we also made a video! It’s at the end of the article. 🙂

The Minnesota State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair
Vicky and Buddy with Fairchild, the Minnesota State Fair mascot
Vicky and Buddy with Fairchild, the Minnesota State Fair mascot

Minnesota State Fair COVID-19 Protocols

We know everyone is curious about the fair and it’s Covid protocols. Per the Minnesota State Fair website,

…At the present time, face coverings, Covid vaccinations or negative tests are not required for fair guests, employees or volunteers. This is subject to change as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves. If anyone is experiencing Covid-related symptoms, they should not attend or remain at the fair. Thank you for helping to keep your fellow fair fans healthy!

Minnesota State Fair Food

The Minnesota State Fair food is incredible, and honestly, the biggest reason why we were excited to go to the fair. We’d heard about all kinds of food that we wanted to try, both from social media and from friends.

What we didn’t realize, however, is that there are about 300 concession stands at the fair and all together they serve about 500 different kinds of food. Also, about 60 of these incredible meals come on a stick! How awesome is that?!

So what were we most excited to try? The fried cheese curds. Ever since we tried cheese curds in Milwaukee, Wisconsin our lives just haven’t been the same.

What were we most curious to try? Sweet Martha’s Cookies. Martha has been making cookies since 1979 and in 2018, their cookies brought in a whopping five million dollars in 12 days. We’d seen this video about Sweet Martha’s Cookies and ever since, we’d wondered if they really were that good.

But besides those two things, we wanted to try as much as we could and I think we were pretty successful. We kept hearing about other yummy treats we had to get as we spoke to people, and by the end of the day, we managed to eat everything that had been on our ever growing list of Minnesota State Fair food to try.

Our first food stop actually ended up being Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar. There are a few locations strategically placed around the fairgrounds, but we visited the one on the west side of Underwood St. between Murphy and Lee avenues.

It was early morning, but there were already people lining up. You can buy either a bucket of cookies or, if you feel that may be too much, you can buy a cone of cookies instead. So does Sweet Martha’s deserve the hype…??

Yes!! The cookies were so good!! Especially since they are constantly baking cookies, you’ll get them as they’re out of the oven which means they are warm and gooey.

We will say that it’s best to eat them when you first get them. If you save them for later, they get a little hard. But still, a hard cookie is still better than no cookie lol!

The first Minnesota State Fair food that we tried was Sweet Martha's Cookies
Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar
Buddy with a bucket of cookies from Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar
Buddy loved the bucket of cookies!
Sweet Martha's Cookies has both buckets and cones of cookies
Would you get a bucket or cone of cookies?

Our next food stop was Tom Thumb Donuts. Their cinnamon-sugar mini donuts are great and come with 16 mini donuts per bag for $5.

Tom Thumb's Mini Donuts at the Minnesota State Fair
Tom Thumb’s Mini Donuts

Next, we stopped at Pronto Pups. Here we tried a Pronto Pup, which is a 6″ flour-battered deep-fried hot dog. It’s similar to a corn dog, but the batter is different, which makes it a “pronto pup” instead of a corn dog.

To be honest, we didn’t taste much of a difference between it and corn dogs we’ve eaten in the past (maybe because their flour-based batter also contains some corn meal, wheat flour, and rice flour). We just know that it tasted great!

Eating a Pronto Pup at the Minnesota State Fair
Pronto Pups

Our next delicious food stop was Big Fat Bacon.

Holy. Moly.

Bacon on-a-stick hadn’t even been on our radar, but when we saw it, we knew we had to have it. This 1/3-pound bacon is grilled with maple syrup and ended up being our biggest food surprise of the fair. Seriously guys, it was amazing!

Big Fat Bacon at the Minnesota State Fair
Big Fat Bacon

Next, we headed inside the Food Building. Inside there are dozens of food vendors, but we were there for one… Mouth Trap Cheese Curds. There are some other concessions at the fair that sell cheese curds, but we were told by locals that they don’t compare to Mouth Trap.

The line was long, but behind the counter is a well oiled machine. The employees are quick and efficient and within what seemed like seconds, we had our delicious deep-fried cheese curds.

My mouth is watering as I type this…

They were tasty, chewy, and just… yum! We could’ve eaten two servings, but chose to practice self control (it was SO hard) in order to try more of the food that still remained on our list.

The Food Building at the Minnesota State Fair
Food Building
Inside the Food Building at the Minnesota State Fair
Inside the Food Building
Mouth Trap Cheese Curds at the Minnesota State Fair
Mouth Trap Cheese Curds

As we started heading into our dessert phase, our next foodie stop was Deep Fried Candy Bars. Here they have batter-dipped deep-fried candy bars on-a-stick like Snickers, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, and even Reese’s peanut butter cups.

We, however, were there for the deep-fried Oreo cookies. We’d had fried Oreos before, so we were excited to have them again. Although we felt like there could have been a little less batter (the batter/cookie ratio was a bit off), it was still pretty good.

Deep Fried Candy Bars and fried Oreos at the Minnesota State Fair
Deep Fried Candy Bars

Our last treat of the day was at Dairy Goodness Bar inside the Dairy Building. We’d heard their sundaes were the best, but especially the strawberry sundaes so that was what we got. The sundae was rich and creamy and tasted so fresh! We really enjoyed it!

Dairy Goodness Bar and strawberry sundae at the Minnesota State Fair
Dairy Goodness Bar

Oh! Before we forget… for those of you that like beer, we recommend you check out The Hanger. They have beer flights and small snacks too.

The Hanger serves beer flights at the Minnesota State Fair
The Hanger

Minnesota State Fair Rides

Besides food, you’ve also got to check out the Minnesota State Fair rides! There are three main areas where the rides are located: Adventure Park, Mighty Midway, and Kidway (for the kiddos).

All rides are priced individually, so you can just pay for what you want to ride. One of the best Minnesota State Fair tips we can give… keep in mind what you’ve eaten before going on certain rides. The last thing you want is to throw up that delicious food lol!

The Great Big Wheel is a Minnesota State Fair icon and a must-ride. Plus, it’s also the tallest traveling Ferris wheel in North America. It’s 15 stories high!

The Great Big Wheel is a Minnesota State Fair icon
The Great Big Wheel

Overall, we think there are about 40 rides and attractions, so if you’re main reason to visit is to go on the Minnesota State Fair rides, you will not be disappointed.

Minnesota State Fair rides
There are rides for all ages
Minnesota State Fair rides
Want to go for a swing?

The ride we were most excited for was the Giant Slide. It’s always been a fair favorite for us, and we were thrilled that the line wasn’t too long. Down we went as we giggled with glee!

Giant Slide at the Minnesota State Fair
Giant Slide

Minnesota State Fair Grandstand

There are a few places where you can do some shopping at the fair, but we recommend checking out the Grandstand. There are two levels, with many of the items being locally made.

Pretty much anything you can think of is there, from clothes to kitchen appliances and from makeup to saunas. We even spent a few minutes testing out a massage chair!

Minnesota State Fair Lineup

Want to hear some great music? The Minnesota State Fair lineup is great every year. In 2019 they had musicians like Dierks Bentley, Lionel Richie, and Hootie & the Blowfish, just to name a few.

Some of the concerts you have to pay extra for, but there are also many that are included in the general admission price. These concerts can be found in locations all around the fairgrounds and throughout the day and night.

Minnesota State Fair Schedule

The Minnesota State Fair dates are always the 12 days leading up to and through Labor Day. The Minnesota State Fair schedule for the next few years is…

2022: Aug. 25 – Sept. 5

2023: Aug. 24 – Sept. 4

2024: Aug. 22 – Sept. 2

That should you give you plenty of time to plan your future trips… 😉

Greetings from Minnesota mural at the Minnesota State Fair
We love you Minnesota!

Minnesota State Fair Hours

There are a few different hours that we’d like to point out, because they vary depending on where you want to go or what you want to do. The fairgrounds themselves and ticket booths open at 7am.

Most of the buildings open at 9am, except for the Food Building which opens at 8am. For rides, both Adventure Park and Kidway open at 9am and Mighty Midway opens at 10am.

The fairgrounds close at 11pm, with the ticket booths closing at 9pm. Most of the buildings close at 9pm. Adventure Park and Mighty Midway close at 11pm and Kidway closes at 10pm.

Minnesota State Fair Tickets

We think the price of Minnesota State Fair tickets is relatively cheap; maybe all the other fairs we’ve gone to have been over priced lol!

Adults (13-64): $17

Seniors (65+): $15

Kids (5-12): $15

Children (4 and under): Free

To get even more bang for your buck, the fair also offers discount days such as Military Appreciation Day, Seniors and Kids Day, and even Read & Ride Day which offers discounted admission prices if you show your valid public library card. If you purchase tickets early, you also save a few dollars.

Minnesota State Fair Accessibility

We wanted to include an accessibility section in this Minnesota State Fair guide, because it’s important that everyone be able to enjoy the fair. We are happy to report that the fair is wheelchair friendly and deaf friendly!

At the fair you can rent wheelchairs and scooters and they even have designated areas with special electrical outlets for recharging scooters. The fair also provides ASL interpreters for some of their shows and special requests for interpreter services can be requested ahead of time.

Minnesota State Fair Tips

Here are some additional Minnesota State Fair tips that we hope will ensure your day at the fair is incredible…

  • We highly recommend downloading the Minnesota State Fair app. It has maps, daily schedules, and lists of nearby food concessions.
  • If you want to try a lot of different food, consider sharing with a friend or family member. It will save you money and save room in your tummy for more yummy treats.
  • Bring comfortable shoes that you can walk around in all day.
  • Check the weather! If its raining, bring a poncho (it’s easier than an umbrella). If it’s super sunny, the fair does provide free sunscreen at their information booths.
  • Bring a backpack if you think you’ll be shopping or taking home any snacks. For security purposes, it will be searched when you enter. Keep in mind though, that there are no storage lockers.
  • If you are visiting with kids or picky eaters, we recommend bringing a cooler. You are allowed to bring in outside food and drinks (no alcohol).
  • There are cell phone charging stations located throughout the fairgrounds, but we recommend bringing your own portable cell phone charger.
  • Make sure you’re around for the parade, which takes place daily at 2pm, rain or shine. The bands were awesome!
  • We recommend staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Roseville. It’s only 12 minutes from the fairgrounds and has great amenities.
Minnesota State Fair parade takes place daily at 2pm
Minnesota State Fair parade

A Day At The Minnesota State Fair Video

Of course our Minnesota State Fair guide had to include a video. We hope you enjoy it!

YouTube video

Final Thoughts On The Minnesota State Fair

We had such a great time at the fair and would recommend it to anyone that’s in the area at that time. The food, the rides, the atmosphere… it’s all so fun!

We hope that you’ve found this Minnesota State Fair guide useful and that it helps you plan your trip. If you have any questions that we haven’t answered, please feel free to ask them in the comments below. 🙂

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This Minnesota State Fair guide includes tips and information on food, rides, dates, tickets, hours, and accessibility.

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  1. Wow, that’s a pretty big deal fair. I didn’t realize how big the fair was until you broke it down here. Seems like it would take years to try all the different food at the fair. I wonder how many pizza vendors were there. You two certainly got quite the fill of delicious “meals”. )

    That’s awesome to see they provided ASL interpreters at some of the shows. I know it makes every event more enjoyable when we can watch ASL interpreters and understand what’s happening. Wouldn’t it be great if every fair in the USA had ASl interpreters and performers too?

  2. Rhonda Albom says:

    Is Fairchild made out of dried grass? Or something else? And I’ve never heard of fried cheese curds before, yum!

  3. Great tips we have Tom Thumb donuts at the Illinois state fair as well I love the fact that you include a hotel and upcoming events so that you can plan ahead. The state fair offers a unique experience of fun talent and food.

  4. Let’s go to a state fair together and split everything. I think, even if I only ate a single bite of each thing, I would be so full by the end of the day. I might need two bites of that bacon though. It looks super yum

  5. I don’t think I can ever go to any state fair with you Vicky because I am going to leave so fat but happy! So of all the food I might pass on the fried cheese curds but I definitely would stand in line for Martha’s cookies, that Big Fat Bacon on a Stick, and definitely a Pronto Pup…I love any sort of Corn Dog and if this is made with different batter, I would have to test it out! As for dessert, sign me up for the deep fried candy bars…any of them…actually all of them. I love deep fried Oreos and we just recently tried Snickers & Mars Bars. But I would definitely want to try the Reeses Peanut butter cups!
    As for the rides, I think the only ones we could do without barfing our fair food would be that awesome ferris wheel!

  6. I will get stuck with all those great fair food that are new to me” big fat bacon, mouth trap cheese curds, and deep-fried candy bars for dessert! Wow!

  7. Minnesota State Fair seems like the place to be if you want to taste all that deep fried goodies! I’m not a great fan of Ferris wheel and this kind of rides, but I would definitely like to go this fair for the food. Your pictures literally made me drool!

  8. We do love to visit places for special events. And the Minnesota State Fair looks like a fun one to plan. I might need more than one day to sample food from the 300 concessions. Love the full cone of cookies! Ferris Wheels are always fun. Especially if this is the largest travelling one in North America. But I do need to stay away from certain rides that just make me sick. But it looks like we would have no trouble finding fun things to do.

  9. Had no idea that the Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest in the country. You’ve put together a great guide here, especially for someone who has never been. Heck, I have family in Minnesota, and I still haven’t been to visit yet. This would be a fun thing to include on the itinerary! Love that you tried so many fun foods — cheese curds, fried oreos, and that maple grilled bacon sure look good!

  10. This fair looks like so much fun. But wait a minute – you spent just a couple of hours and managed to try all these heavy foods? Wow! I think I would explode after just one of those snacks – and I would opt for the cheese snack.

  11. I’ve attended my fair share of state fairs. I just love how creative they get with the deep-fried foods. Deep-fried ice cream and deep-fried frog legs is what I remember. I also love the rides, especially the Ferris Wheel! I didn’t know the Minnesota State Fair was the largest in the country, I thought the one in Sacramento California was damn large!

  12. We are already convinced to attend the Minnesota State fair. 500 type of dishes And 50 on stick is simply wow. The Martha cookies 🍪 look so tempting. I guess we will but bucket. The giant slide and great big wheel will top my list of activities here. Thanks a lot for writing this complete guide.

  13. What a lovely fair. And the most amusing thing is the eccentric nature of the food… cookies on cones? Mini donuts? deep-fried candy bars? These guys are real nonconformists!

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