Credit: Samantha HoangLong | Sahan Journal

It’s the most popular summer event in Minnesota, and even among many residents of nearby states. The Minnesota State Fair opens Thursday,  August 24, and runs through Labor Day, September 4.

A day at the fair can be even more fun if you know some things before you go. Sahan Journal has compiled a list of questions frequently asked by fairgoers.

If you have additional questions you’d like answered in this story, email

Things to know before you go

There are some things you can’t bring to the fair, or should leave in your vehicle.

  • Even though recreational marijuana was recently legalized in Minnesota, smoking it is prohibited on the fairgrounds.
  • Fair maps show designated smoking areas where people can smoke tobacco products.
  • Weapons or objects that appear to be weapons are prohibited.
  • Fireworks or other explosive and flammable objects are not allowed.
  • Bringing in outside alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
  • Drones or any remote-controlled toys are not allowed.
  • Bikes, skateboards, skates and hoverboards are prohibited.
  • Pets aren’t allowed unless they are service animals.

Hours of operation

August 24 to September 3: 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
September 4 (Labor Day): 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission to the fair ends two hours before closing time.

Where do I buy admission tickets?

Tickets can be bought online via the fair’s website for a discounted price of $15. And some metro-area Cub stores offer discounted gate admissions.

Admission tickets also can be purchased at the fair gate. They cost $18 for adults (ages 13-64), $16 for seniors (65 and over), and $16 for children (ages 5-12). Children under 4 are admitted free.

What can I bring to the fair?

  • Yes, you can bring outside food and drinks to the fair! But no outside alcoholic beverages are allowed.
  • Backpacks, bags, and coolers are allowed, but may be searched.
  • Cameras are allowed.
  • Personal electric mobility scooters, strollers, wagons, and wheelchairs are allowed. Those items are also rentable, according to the accessibility guide on the fair’s website.

How do I get to the fair?

The most popular option for experienced fairgoers is parking at a remote lot and taking a shuttle bus to the fair. Rides to and from the fair are free at these 31 locations.

There’s also parking at the fairgrounds. It’s first-come, first-served, with lot rates of $20 for vehicles and $15 for motorcycles. Cash or credit/debit cards are accepted.

Bicyclists can park their bikes at three free parking areas.

Rideshare services will drop off and pick up riders at the northeast and south ends of the fairgrounds.

Taxis have their drop-off and pick-up locations on the south side of the fairgrounds.

A map for those areas can also be found on the fair’s website.

The fair can be hot and steamy. Is there water available there?

Yes. There’s a water bottle-filling station and drinking fountains, and some vendors hand out free water. Information booths offer their locations.

I’m gluten-free. What can I eat?

Twin Cities ROCK, an independent nonprofit, has compiled a list of gluten-free fair food. A list of foods is available at Health Fair 11 on Cooper Street or at any information booth.

What if I need more information?

The fair offers an app for visitors to stay up to date on everything happening. It’s downloadable here. 

More to come…

Throughout the fair, Sahan Journal will offer continuing coverage online and on social media, including information about new ethnic food vendors.

Alfonzo Galvan is a reporter for Sahan Journal, covering work, labor, small business, and entrepreneurship. Before joining Sahan Journal, he covered breaking news and immigrant communities in South Dakota,...