The Minnesota State Fair is almost here! And it’s August 25th through September 5th, 2022.
I’m super bummed that summer goes so fast, but I’m happy that we have a fabulous state fair, one that was rated the #1 state fair in the nation!
COVID is still around, so you may or may not be sure about attending this year (our family just had it a few weeks ago so I understand!). But if you are planning to go, here is a list of the ways you can save money at the fair this year!
To sum it up, I personally recommend:
1) getting your ticket in advance (or going on a special deal day),
2) sharing a Blue Ribbon coupon book with someone else (there are WAY too many coupons for one family to use),
3) studying the map, the schedules of free events and entertainment, and the Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide before you go to plan out your visit,
4) parking for free and using their free bus transportation to and from the fair,
5) bringing your own water bottle and filling it up for free at water fountains throughout the fair,
6) using their free app to help you find your way around.
Here are all the ways you can save, gathered from my own experiences plus directly from State Fair materials. First, get your tickets in advance to save on admission!
The regular price for tickets during the fair is $17 for adults (13-64), $15 for seniors (65+), and $15 for kids (5-12) and children 4 and under are always free.
Mighty Midway and Kidway tickets purchased at the fair are $1 per ticket, $25 per sheet of 28 tickets, and $50 per sheet of 60 tickets. Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are $5 and available at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book & State Fair Poster Carts (while supplies last).
But you can save on tickets for everyone if you get them before the fair.
Pre-Fair Tickets are available through Aug. 24.
• Pre-fair discount admission tickets: $14 (valid for any age, any day of the fair – note that kids age 4 and under are always free)
• Pre-fair Mighty Midway and Kidway discount ride & game tickets: $15 for a 20-ticket sheet (a savings of up to $5)
• Blue Ribbon Bargain Books: $5
Pre-fair discount admission tickets, Mighty Midway and Kidway discount ride & game tickets and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are available at mnstatefair.org, the State Fair Ticket Office (off Como Avenue [Loop Gate #9]), participating Cub locations and numerous locations in greater Minnesota and Hudson, Wis., through Aug. 24 (while supplies last). To see a list of all the places you can get pre-fair discount tickets, visit mnstatefair.org/tickets/admission-tickets.
Rre-fair discount admission tickets purchased online can be printed at home or scanned from mobile devices for no additional fees. Aug. 1 through Aug. 24, the State Fair Ticket Office is located at the Como Loop Gate (#9). Ticket office hours are:
- Aug. 1–19 (Monday through Friday): 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Aug. 6 (Saturday): 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Aug. 13 (Saturday): 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Aug. 20 (Saturday): 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Aug. 21 (Sunday): 9 a.m. to noon
- Aug. 22–24 (Monday through Wednesday): 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more ticketing information, visit mnstatefair.org/tickets/.
The fair hours are:
• Fairgrounds Admission: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Labor Day
• Fairgrounds Hours: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Labor Day
The Minnesota State Fair Ticket Office on the fairgrounds also sells all Grandstand show tickets prior to and during the fair. Day-of-show concert tickets are available at the ticket booths on the east end of the Grandstand, which open at noon daily.
Free & Cheap Ways of Getting to the Fair
Parking can be expensive and a hassle, so there are many other ways to get to the fair! Every year we take the bus shuttle from a location near the fair. It’s free and the shuttles come every few minutes so we’ve never had to wait long.
Take the bus!
Free parking with free shuttle bus service to and from the fair is available at 30 locations within a short distance of the fairgrounds. Visit this website for a full list of Park & Ride locations.
State Fair Express Bus service is offered by Metro Transit, Minnesota Valley Transit Authority and SouthWest Transit from several sites throughout the Twin Cities area. There is a small fee for these busses. There are other bus routes that can get you there as well. Visit their website here for info.
Take an Uber or Lyft!
They have designated drop off and pick up places for these. Get info here.
Ride your bike!
They have free secured bicycle parking. Find info here.
Otherwise, parking in State Fairgrounds lots is $17 (cash or credit/debit). Motorcycle parking is available for $11 in a secured lot on the south side of Como Avenue across from Gate #7. There is no guaranteed parking as space is limited and all lots are filled on a first-come basis.
Special Discount Days
Many days during the fair offer special discounts.
OPENING DAY • THURSDAY, AUG. 25
Admission prices are reduced all day when tickets are purchased at the gate, and many merchandise and food vendors offer special Opening Day bargains for all fair guests. All-day specials are offered on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides & games. Gate Admission on Opening Day: • Adults (13-64): $15 • Seniors (65+): $12 • Kids (5-12): $12 • Children (4 and under): free
SENIORS DAY • MONDAY, AUG. 29 (also THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1)
Admission prices are reduced all day for seniors (65+) when tickets are purchased at the gate. All-day specials are offered on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides & games. Many merchandise and food vendors offer bargains for all fair guests.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY • TUESDAY, AUG. 30
Active military, retired military and veterans and their families receive an admission discount when they purchase a ticket at the gate and present valid documentation of military service. • Active military, their spouses and kids: $12 • Retired military and their spouses: $12 • Military veterans and their spouses: $12
KIDS DAY • WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31
Kids (5-12) are admitted for $12 all day when tickets are purchased at the gate. Many merchandise and food vendors offer Kids Day bargains for all fair guests. All-day specials are offered on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides & games.
SENIORS DAY • THURSDAY, SEPT. 1
Admission prices are reduced all day to $12 for seniors (65+) when tickets are purchased at the gate. All-day specials are offered on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides & games. Many merchandise and food vendors offer bargains for all fair guests.
KIDS DAY • MONDAY, SEPT. 5
Kids (5-12) are admitted for $12 all day when tickets are purchased at the gate. Many merchandise and food vendors offer bargains for all fair guests. All-day specials are offered on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides & games.
Blue Ribbon Bargain Book
The State Fair Blue Ribbon Bargain Book offers 100 coupons with huge savings on food, merchandise and attractions. Each coupon offers at least 30 percent off listed items. Coupons are valid every day of the fair. For more information on the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book, including a list of all coupons, visit mnstatefair.org/blue-ribbon-bargain-book/.
Is it worth it?
I think it is. Get one and share it with another family because you’ll probably only use a few of the coupons. It can be worth it if you plan to shop and get a lot of food.
Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide
This free guide lists discount days, best values, free stuff, sign-up-to-win drawings and hidden bargains at the fair, including deals on food and beverages. The Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide is available during the fair at all information booths and at mnstatefair.org/deals-and-discounts/.
Last Chance Deals
Special food and merchandise bargains are offered on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5, at many locations throughout the fairgrounds. These deals can be found on Sept. 5 in the Last Chance Day Deals flier at all information booths and at mnstatefair.org/deals-and-discounts/.
Mighty Midway and Kidway Specials
Specials are offered every weekday on rides and games at Mighty Midway and Kidway. All-day specials run Thursday, Aug. 25; Monday, Aug. 29; Wednesday, Aug. 31; and Monday, 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.
Free Entertainment, Exhibits and Attractions
Check out all these cool things to do that are included with admission!
• Survival: The Exhibition, the immersive and engaging wilderness exhibit for all ages, debuts in North End Event Center and is free with fair admission. More information: mnstatefair.org/new-this-year/attraction/
• Nightly fireworks spectacular
• Live music and entertainment lineup features more than 900 shows throughout the fairgrounds including the Cosgrove Stage where community groups perform; The Timberworks Lumberjack and All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash shows at The North Woods, Family-friendly entertainment at the Family Fair Stage at Baldwin Park and more. Additional information: mnstatefair.org/free-live-music-and-shows/
• The daily parade at 2 p.m. features the high school marching band competition
• Dog agility demonstrations outside the Pet Pavilions
• Learn more and get inspired at free exhibits like the Eco Experience, DNR and Moo Booth
• Many free things to do with kids at exhibits like Alphabet Forest, Math On-A-Stick and more. Additional information: mnstatefair.org/general-info/kids-guide/
• FAN Central features local sports teams and merchandise
• A wide variety of horses can be seen daily throughout the fair in the Horse Barn and also competing as part of the Minnesota State Fair Horse Show, as well as two horse education exhibits,free with fair admission.
• Swine at the State Fair features a host of competitive events in 4-H, FFA and open class categories, along with a sow and piglets and the winner of the fair’s largest boar competition
• The finest needlework, handcrafts, baking and canning that Minnesota has to offer presented in the Creative Activities Building, along with the Cambria Kitchen, home to daily demonstrations
• Fruit, wine, Christmas tree, crop art, flower, vegetable, potato, bee & honey contests along with the Giant Pumpkin Contest in the Agriculture Horticulture Building
• Shopping, specialty merchants and unique artisans are plentiful on the fairgrounds at: The Grandstand Exhibit Building, which has two levels of more than 160 vendors; Creative Activities Annex; Family Fair at Baldwin Park; International Bazaar, Home Improvement Building; Merchandise Mart and more. More information: mnstatefair.org/general-info/shopping-destinations/
• The Dairy Building which is home to the famed Princess Kay butter sculptures and malts and sundaes, as well as several vendors selling outdoor gear, home improvement merchandise, wool products and more
• The DIRT demonstration stage located in the Agriculture Horticulture Building offers free sessions from master gardeners, florists, lawn enthusiasts and other outdoor experts
• Thank a Farmer Magic Show on the Christensen Farms Stage, where children of all ages learn about the role agriculture plays in our daily lives
• The Kemps Little Farm Hands agricultural education experience
• Karaoke and music in The Garden
MORE FREE STUFF AT THE FAIR
Free Trolley Rides
You can get free trolley rides on the north end of the fairgrounds! These were great the year it rained when we were there and we didn’t want to get soaked walking back to the bus stop!
Free Information booths
These are throughout the fair and stocked with free maps (sponsored by Star Tribune).
Free daily schedules and free ID wristbands to help reunite lost children and vulnerable adults with their families or guardians. I recommend getting the ID wristbands if you have little ones, for peace of mind!
A Free Wi-Fi hotspot at the west Grandstand Plaza
This is great if you need good internet access.
First Aid Stations
These are located at the west and east ends of the fairgrounds.