State Fair food, music — and giant slide are back for Memorial Day minifair

A sign reads "Hang in there, Minnesota."
A marquee at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds offers encouraging words the April 11, 2020. After being canceled last year because of the pandemic, the return of the State Fair has become an important touchstone for many people. Now the fair will stage a five-day trial run around the Memorial Day holiday
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News 2020

The Minnesota State Fair is opening for a trial run Memorial Day weekend after shutting down because of COVID-19 last year.

The fair on Tuesday announced plans for a “Kickoff to Summer at the Fair” starting May 27. The five-day event will feature timed tickets for up to 10,000 people starting that evening through Memorial Day.

Weekend days offer visitors a day and an evening option.

Last week, Gov. Tim Walz predicted the Minnesota State Fair in August would be “a pretty close to normal event" this year after COVID-19 canceled it in 2020.

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The fair said the kickoff event will feature about two dozen food vendors — yes, Sweet Martha’s and Pronto Pups are on the list — with music at several locations around the fairgrounds. The giant slide is also planning to open for the event, weather permitting.

Tickets — $12.50 each, free for kids 4 and under with a child ticket — will be sold via a lottery, with registration closing Thursday night. There’s a limit of six tickets per customer. A presale will be open to State Fair Foundation members.

Organizers say the event will help offset losses over the last year.

Face masks will be required and other COVID-19 protocols will apply for the event — including restrictions to a single entry point on the north side of the grounds.