The Minnesota State Fair is almost here! I’m super bummed that summer’s going by so fast, but happy that we have a fabulous state fair, one that was rated the #1 state fair in the nation! The 2016 Great Minnesota Get-Together runs Aug. 25 through Labor Day, Sept. 5.
You probably know how expensive the fair can be. It’s hard to spend less than $100 within a few hours just between admission, food and rides! But there ARE many ways to save with a little bit of planning. Here are some tips I gathered from my own experiences plus directly from State Fair materials:
Pre-fair discount admission tickets are $10 (a $3 discount off the regular adult admission price and a $1 discount off the regular seniors and kids admission prices) and are valid any day of the fair. Also prior to the fair, Mighty Midway and Kidway ride & game tickets are $15 for a sheet of 25 (a $10 savings).
Discounted State Fair admission tickets, discount Mighty Midway and Kidway ride & game tickets, and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are available through Aug. 24 at the State Fairgrounds Ticket Office off Como Avenue (Loop Gate #9), participating Cub stores and numerous locations in greater Minnesota and Hudson, Wis. (while supplies last). A complete list of sales outlets is available at mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/admission.html or by calling (651) 288-4400.
During the fair, regular admission is:
$13 for adults (13-64)
$11 for seniors (65+)
$11 for kids (5-12)
Children (under 5) are always admitted FREE.
Mighty Midway and Kidway tickets purchased at the fair are $1 per ticket, $25 per sheet of 30 tickets or $40 per sheet of 54 tickets. Throughout the fair, Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are $5 and available at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book & State Fair Poster Carts.
Special Deal Days
If you can get to the fair on one of their special deal days, definitely plan to! Almost everyone can qualify for a discount on one or more of the days. Here are the discount days:
Thrifty Thursday – Aug. 25. Discounted admission for adults (13-64) is $11 and kids (5-12) is $8.
Seniors & Kids Day – Monday, Aug. 29. Seniors (65+) and kids (5-12) are admitted for just $8.
Military Appreciation Day – Tuesday, Aug. 30. when active military and their families, as well as retired and veteran military and their spouses, are admitted for just $8 when they purchase admission at the gate with documentation of U.S. military service.
Read & Ride Day – Wednesday, Aug. 31. Guests presenting valid public library cards when purchasing admission at the gate are admitted for the following discounted prices: adults (13-64)
$11; seniors (65+) $8; and kids (5-12) $8. (One card is required for each discounted admission.)
Seniors Day – Thursday, Sept. 1. Seniors (65+) are admitted for just $8.
Kids & Last Chance Day – Monday, September 5 (Labor Day). Kids (5-12) are admitted for only $8.
In addition, many vendors feature special day deals on
- Thrifty Thursday, Aug. 25
- Seniors & Kids Day, Aug. 29
- Military Appreciation Day, Aug. 30
- Seniors Day, Sept. 1
- Kids & Last Chance Day, Sept. 5
Participating vendors will display a special deal sign and are listed in the Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide available at all information booths (sponsored by CenturyLink) and at mnstatefair.org. Select vendors also feature closeout prices on Kids & Last Chance Day, Sept. 5.
More Fun for Less at Mighty Midway & Kidway
Specials are offered every weekday on rides and games at the Mighty Midway and Kidway (sponsored by DISH). All-day specials run:
- Thrifty Thursday, Aug.25
- Read & Ride Day, Aug. 31
- Kids Days, Aug. 29 and Labor Day, Sept. 5
Early Bird specials are offered until 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 26; Tuesday, Aug. 30; Thursday, Sept. 1; and Friday, Sept. 2.
Blue Ribbon Bargain Book
I was thrilled the last time we were at the State Fair and someone handed me their blue ribbon bargain book as they were leaving! We used a few of them and I decided that they can be a great deal, especially if you’re going with a group and can share it.
I received a copy of the 2016 Blue Ribbon Coupon Book at a Blogger Preview event I attended earlier this month, and there are some really good coupons. You can see what’s in the book here.
The 2016 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book offers 150 coupons for food, merchandise and attractions throughout the fairgrounds:
- Coupons are valid all 12 days of the fair and a preview of bargains is available at mnstatefair.org.
- Bargain Books are available at State Fair, Gift Shops and Bargain Book & State Fair Poster Carts at the fairgrounds during the fair.
Free Entertainment and Attractions!
There is a lot of fun included as part of admission, including fun for kids, fireworks, live entertainment and more. Here is a list of what you can find for free:
This year’s State Fair features more free attractions and exhibits than ever, including:
• Nightly fireworks spectacular (sponsored by Mazda)
• Live music and entertainment all day and night at stages around the fairgrounds
• The daily parade at 2 p.m. featuring the High School Marching Band Competition (sponsored by McDonald’s)
• The Giant Sing Along (presented by Bremer Bank)
• Music and fun just for kids at Family Fair (sponsored by Coca-Cola and Go RVing)
• 3rd Lair SkatePark BMX and skateboarding demos at The X-Zone
• Ongoing culinary demonstrations in the Creative Activities Demonstration Kitchen (sponsored by Gold Medal Flour)
• Dog agility and police K-9 demonstrations outside the Pet Center (sponsored by Sam’s Club)
• FAN Central (sponsored by Xfinity), which features local sports teams and hometown heroes
• The CHS Miracle of Birth Center, where nearly 200 baby calves, lambs and piglets will be born during the fair’s 12-day run
• The finest needlework, handcrafts, baking and canning that Minnesota has to offer presented in the Creative Activities Building (sponsored by Gedney Foods Company)
• Fruit, wine, Christmas tree, crop art, flower, vegetable, potato, bee & honey contests along with the Giant Pumpkin Contest (sponsored by North Suburban Eye Specialists) in the Agriculture Horticulture Building
• Thank a Farmer Magic Show on the Christensen Farms Stage (sponsored by the Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation), where children of all ages learn about the role agriculture plays in our daily lives
• The 4-H Poultry Prince & Princess Competition (sponsored by Gold’n Plump), which recognizes young leaders in Minnesota’s poultry industry
• Insight, ideas and products for fair guests planning to update or remodel their homes in the Home Improvement Building (sponsored by LeafFilter)
• The Timberworks Lumberjack and All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash shows at The North Woods (sponsored by Good Health Saunas)
• The Kemps Little Farm Hands agricultural education experience (sponsored by Kemps, Cub, John Deere Company, Faribault Woolen Mill Co., Cargill and Minnesota Corn Growers Association)
• Karaoke and live music in The Garden (sponsored by Treasure Island Resort & Casino)
• And much, much more – use the Fun Finder at mnstatefair.org or daily schedules available at any information booth for a complete list of activities.
Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guides
Available for pick up at any information booth, the Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide details special day deals, items available for $1 or less, freebies and places to sign up and win prizes.
Free Minnesota State Fair App
The free Minnesota State Fair App is the official smartphone user’s guide to finding your way around 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 free and is available for download through the iTunes or Google Play.
Free Information & Guest Services
The Great Minnesota Get-Together offers many free services and amenities for guest convenience, including:
• Park & Ride service from more than 30 Twin Cities metro locations
• New this year: Designated Uber drop-off and pick-up locations for getting to and from the fair. New Uber users can catch a free first ride to or from the fair when they sign up at t.uber.com/MNStateFair16 and enter code: MNSTATEFAIR16 for up to $20 off the first ride (new Uber users only).
• Free trolley rides on the north end of the fairgrounds. New this year: A free ADA-accessible trolley will run along Randall Avenue with stops at Buford Avenue and Gate #18 at Dan Elmer Way. The trolley, which runs 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 9 p.m. daily, will serve guests who enter at Buford Avenue or park at the Robin Lot.
• Information booths (sponsored by CenturyLink) stocked with free maps; daily schedules (sponsored by the Minnesota Lottery); specialty brochures; complimentary sunscreen (partnership of Vanicream Sunscreen, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Fair); Deals, Drawings and Giveaways Guides; and more.
• First Aid Stations (sponsored by Regions Hospital) located on the east and west ends of the fairgrounds • A Wi-Fi hotspot at the west Grandstand Plaza (sponsored by DragNFly Wireless)
• Free identification bracelets to help reunited lost children with their families
• And more! Use the online visitor guide for more information on guest services and answers to frequently asked questions – http://www.mnstatefair.org/general_info/visitor_guide/.
For more information about values, special discount days, bargains and more at the Minnesota State Fair, visit mnstatefair.org. The 2016 Great Minnesota Get-Together runs Aug. 25 through Labor Day, Sept. 5.
(Photos courtesy of MNStateFair.org)