State Fair

Can’t wait for the State Fair? Summer kickoff event will return in May

people walk on fairgrounds
Fairgoers walk down Judson Avenue on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair on Aug. 24. Fair officials will again hold a summer kickoff event this year, set for May 23-26 at the fairgrounds.
Ben Hovland | MPR News 2023

The Minnesota State Fair is still almost five months away — but on Memorial Day weekend, fair fans can get an early taste of the festivities. 

The State Fair will hold its fourth annual Kickoff to Summer at the Fair from May 23-26. For four days, visitors can come to the fairgrounds and check out a selection of foods, merchants and games.

Several classic vendors will be offering up much-loved fair fare, including Sweet Martha’s cookies, Rick’s pickle pizza and Nelson’s foot-long hot dogs. New vendors at this year’s kickoff event will include Trickster Tacos with urban Native cuisine and Peachey’s Baking Company with Amish donuts.

Three stages will be open for performances throughout the weekend, featuring local bands and dance groups. Fairgoers can also play trivia, arcade games and take a ride on the giant slide.

Tickets for the fair kickoff go on sale Friday, April 5 at 10 a.m. They’re $13 online ahead of time or $16 at the gate — though there are daily limits on attendance. The fair is also opening free parking for the event.

This year’s Minnesota State Fair will run from Aug. 22 through Sept. 2. Fair officials have already announced several of the scheduled Grandstand performances.