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The 2020 Minnesota State Fair is canceled. Learn more. See you Aug. 26 – Sept. 6, 2021!

Food Parade Know Before You Go

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When did tickets sell out for the Food Parade?

Tickets for the first-ever Minnesota State Fair Food Parade are currently sold out. Our website and ticketing service experienced unprecedented volume; in 2½ hours, we reached our capacity of 19,000 vehicle tickets sold for this 13-day historic event. The capacity is limited in order to present the event in a safe and enjoyable manner for guests. We understand Minnesotans are missing the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year, and we regret that we cannot accommodate more fair fans. We look forward to bringing the full fair experience back to our 2 million guests in 2021.

What is included in the $20 ticket price?

Each $20 vehicle ticket includes entrance for up to five people per vehicle. An additional ticket is required if you will have more than five people. (Children ages 4 and under are not counted.) As a thank-you for attending the event, each ticket purchaser will receive an insulated Minnesota State Fair reusable lunch bag and a goodie bag of giveaway items from our sponsors and partners. The event also features greetings from State Fair mascots Fairborne and Fairchild and fun entertainment and activities along the parade route. (Please note that a $3 facility fee and $2 service fee will be added at the time of ticket purchase. Sales tax is included.) Food purchases are not included in the ticket price.

What entertainment can be seen along the route?

The event will feature appearances by State Fair mascots Fairborne and Fairchild (sponsored by Faribault Woolen Mill), a trivia contest (sponsored by Summit Brewing) and live entertainment from the following performers:

Please note: The performers and schedule of performances vary from day to day of the Food Parade.

Why does it cost $20 per vehicle to enter?

We count on annual State Fair revenue to fund the maintenance of our 322-acre fairgrounds and to build the foundation for the next fair’s preparations. While we didn’t incur some of our expenses this year due to the cancellation, a large part of our budget is dedicated to maintenance, operation and programming expenses that continue regardless. Additionally, a per-vehicle fee helps to cover costs of providing adequate staffing, amenities and public safety services associated with hosting a large drive-thru food event at the fairgrounds. Although we are considered a quasi-state agency because our existence is included in state statute, the Minnesota State Fair is self-supporting and, at this time, has not received state government appropriations since 1949.

We are thankful to the many fair fans who are looking forward to enjoying some State Fair food favorites and who will be helping the State Fair weather a year without 95% of its revenue.

What if I have more than five people ages 4+ in my vehicle or I would like an additional insulated Minnesota State Fair reusable lunch bag?

If you have more than five people in one vehicle or would like extra lunch bags, an additional $20 ticket is required. You can add an “EXTRAS” ticket on to your vehicle ticket purchase during the check-out process in Etix. (One ticket is required for every five people and lunch bag.) Standard passenger vehicles only; see below for more information.

What health and safety requirements will be in place?

The Minnesota State Fair and our guests must comply with Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 guidelines. We encourage those in your vehicle who will be placing and paying for orders to wear masks. All State Fair staff will wear masks. Concessionaire staff will wear masks and gloves. To assist with social distancing, all guests are asked to remain in their vehicle. We will conduct all transactions at your car window and deliver the food to you. Restrooms will not be open, but limited public portable toilets will be available. Vendors will follow Minnesota Department of Health guidelines for food workers and food establishments, including frequent hand washing and disinfecting and sanitizing work surfaces and customer contact equipment.

Will there be restrooms?

Limited public portable toilets along the route will be available and are noted on the map (check back in the coming weeks for a map). Restrooms will not be open.

How does the Food Parade work? What can I expect?

  • We expect that this will be a popular event! While we are limiting vehicle tickets per hour and working hard to move guests through the parade route as efficiently as possible, please plan for a multi-hour experience. This is much more than a grab-n-go, in-and-out event. We appreciate your patience!
  • Make sure to check your ticket and arrive on the day and time you selected.
  • Enter the State Fairgrounds at the intersection of Snelling and Hoyt avenues, north of the main gate and the water tower.
  • At the welcome area (where the Transit Hub is at fair time), have your ticket scanned, and get your insulated Minnesota State Fair reusable lunch bag thank-you gift and a goodie bag of surprises from our sponsors and partners (sponsored by Xfinity). You’ll also receive an ordering menu (sponsored by Star Tribune) and a vehicle number (put the number in the center of your dashboard). In this welcome area, you can also sign up to become a Friend of the Fair member. An ATM is available here, too. (The Food Parade menu lists which vendors take cash and/or credit.)
  • You’ll be directed to the appropriate queue line, depending on the arrival time you selected and noted on your ticket. In the Midway lot, drop off your food donation for Second Harvest Heartland.
  • While you’re waiting to enter the parade route, take a look at the ordering menu and parade map and decide how many items you’d like at each stop. Write quantities on the menu, so you’ll be ready to show this to the order takers at each vendor. You don’t need to get something at each stop, but all vehicles will follow the same one-way 1.5-mile route through the iconic fairgrounds.
  • The parade route starts at the east end of the Midway Welcome Lot (sponsored by Allina Health | Aetna). There will be two lanes of vehicles on the route. In some areas of the route, there will be a bypass lane for those who want to skip ahead to vendors. We will also need to keep a lane open for emergency vehicles.
  • At the vendors where you’d like to order food, simply stay in the parade line and show your menu to the order taker. Staff will deliver your order to your vehicle and collect payment. Guests will not be permitted to exit their vehicle.
  • Along the way, watch for live music, entertainment performers and photo opportunities (sponsored by Mazda), play a State Fair trivia game (sponsored by Summit Brewing, with prizes courtesy of Summit Brewing, Faribault Woolen Mill, Cal Spas, GoodThings, Kemps, Kwik Trip, Schuler Shoes, Cub and Hoffman Weber Construction!), see State Fair mascots Fairchild and Fairborne (sponsored by Faribault Woolen Mill), learn fun facts about the State Fair and our beloved fair food, wave at special guests, and marvel at the fairgrounds (we look a little different when there isn’t a fair!). Listen to State Fair Radio on iHeart Radio for sing-along songs, music by Grandstand artists, and other interesting State Fair nuggets.
  • Please note that limited public portable toilets along the route will be available and are noted on the map (check back in the coming weeks for a map). Restrooms will not be open.
  • After the last parade stop, vehicles will exit at the north end of the fairgrounds to Hoyt Avenue.
  • Before vehicles leave the fairgrounds and after the last stop, you may park for a short time in a designated parking lot to enjoy your food. Select Minnesota State Fair merchandise will be for sale in this area. Please keep socially distanced from those nearby. Along the parade route, guests will not be permitted to leave their vehicles to eat or picnic.
  • Thank you for joining us for our first-ever Minnesota State Fair Food Parade!

 What should I bring to the Food Parade?

  • Your vehicle ticket on your phone or printed out. When you purchase your ticket, you’ll select a date and time to attend; check your ticket to make sure you come on the correct day and time.
  • Pen to write on your order menu; you’ll receive a menu when you arrive. (Check back for a link to see the order menu ahead of time.) Bring extra pens for kids to do an in-car bingo game along the parade route.
  • An optional food donation for Second Harvest Heartland. (Please note that items should not be past their “best by” or expiration dates.) Monetary donations may be made directly to Second Harvest Heartland.
  • Masks are strongly encouraged, especially for the driver or person ordering and paying for food. We will not be providing masks on site.
  • The Food Parade menu lists which vendors take cash and/or credit. There will be limited ATMs on site noted on the map.
  • A bib, hand sanitizer, plenty of napkins or whatever else you’ll want to have in your vehicle to help you enjoy your fair food!

Can I attend as a pedestrian or biker? Can we go through the parade on a bus or in an RV or oversized vehicle?

Because this is a drive-thru event, guests must be in a standard passenger vehicle to participate; for safety and social distancing purposes, pedestrians, bikes and motorcycles will not be permitted. We understand that this may prevent those without vehicles from attending, but safety is our top priority, and mixing walkers and bikers with heavy vehicle congestion is a concern. In addition, because our roadways will be crowded with cars, and to keep the ordering process expedited, buses, RVs, limousines, commercial passenger vans, oversized vehicles and trailers are not permitted.

Can I buy more than one vehicle ticket?

Yes, you can purchase up to 2 vehicle tickets for the same date and time. In order to share tickets with another driver, if you select mobile ticket delivery to an SMS number, look in the top left corner of your ticket for a button to send individual tickets to another SMS. In the top right corner, there is a button to send individual tickets via email. If you select the print-at-home option, the two tickets will print separately and you can share a print-out with another driver. If you purchase two vehicle tickets, you will have the option of purchasing up to two “EXTRAS” tickets if you have more than five people in a vehicle or would like an additional insulated lunch bag.

Why is the Food Parade limited to 16 vendors?

Since announcing that the 2020 Minnesota State Fair was canceled, fair fans have been asking about the opportunity to eat fair food. We explored many options, but needed to be realistic about how many cars we could accommodate and how we’d be able to safely and efficiently move guests through a drive-thru event. Given the current health situation and state guidelines on event size and social distancing, we were not able to plan a walk-around food experience. (See the list of vendors and menu items.)

Can I make special requests, ask for custom food orders or place a pre-order?

Our vendors will not be able to accommodate special requests or custom orders because of our need to move vehicles through the parade route as efficiently and quickly as possible. Pre-ordering will not be available.

Will any gluten-friendly, vegetarian or vegan foods be for sale?

  • Turkey to Go: Turkey legs and frozen turkey by the pound (gluten-friendly); all items are pine and nut free
  • Pitchfork Sausage/London Broil: London Broil Steak on a Roll with onions, peppers and cheese (gluten-friendly without bun); Italian Sausage Sandwich with onions and peppers (gluten-friendly without bun)
  • El Sol: Tacos with Hard Corn Shell (gluten-friendly); Bean Burrito without cheese (vegetarian)
  • Fresh French Fries (gluten-free and vegetarian)

Will there be a bypass lane so I can skip the vendors where I don’t wish to make a purchase?

All vehicles will follow a one-way parade route through the fairgrounds passing by each vendor. In some areas along the route, there will be a bypass lane. For traffic management and safety reasons, we are not able to create a bypass lane throughout the entire route. We will have two lanes of traffic, and the third lane must remain open for emergency vehicles.

Can I get out of my car to eat?  

Along the parade route, guests will not be permitted to leave their vehicles to eat or picnic. Before vehicles leave the fairgrounds and after the last stop, they may stop for a short time in a parking lot to enjoy their food. Please keep socially distanced from those nearby.

Can I bring my State Fair souvenir drink bottle to get it filled?

Because all beverages will be sold in bottles, and there won’t be any fountain drinks, we will not fill souvenir bottles you bring from home. (The Cheese On-a-Stick/Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade booth will sell lemonade in State Fair souvenir bottles.)

Is smoking permitted?

Smoking in your vehicle is permitted, but we ask that you not smoke when you’re interacting with food vendors and staff.

Can I bring my pet to the Food Parade?

Dogs and other pets will not be permitted outside of vehicles to go potty, so we ask that Fido and friends please skip this adventure.

Is it safe to buy Food Parade tickets from a source other than Etix?

Unfortunately, as with any event ticket, you run the risk that a ticket bought from an unauthorized third party will not be valid when we scan it at the entrance. If your ticket is not valid, you will not be permitted to enter.

Is there another way I can support the State Fair if I’m not attending the Food Parade?

A year without a fair will present challenges. If you’d like to support the Minnesota State Fair, you can do so through the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. The Foundation is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the unforgettable memories and traditions you experience only at the Minnesota State Fair. To learn more about the Foundation, its impact and how to contribute, visit the Foundation’s website. Thank you for your support!

Can I donate to the food drive if I am not attending the Food Parade?

Please consider making a monetary donation directly to Second Harvest Heartland. If you would like to contribute food items, please do so at any area Cub store. (There will not be a general public drop-off location at the fairgrounds.) Cub is our Food Drive partner, with donations benefitting Second Harvest Heartland. Thank you!

All information subject to change.

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