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Aug. 26 – Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2021

309 Days 5 Hours 27 Mins

Food Parade Know Before You Go

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Know Before You Go

For important updates and information to know before attending the Fall Food Parade, please read the following. We also suggest following us on Twitter (username @mnstatefair) for the most up-to-date information each day of the Parade (severe weather updates, traffic information, etc.).

  • While we are limiting vehicle tickets per hour and will be 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. You’ll also receive an ordering menu (sponsored by Star Tribune), map (sponsored by Xfinity) and a vehicle number (sponsored by Humana); put the vehicle number in the center of your dashboard. In this welcome area, you can also sign up to become a Friend of the Fair member. Portable toilets and an ATM are 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.
  • 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 order 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.
  • Join the $5 challenge! Read about our Community Cares project – look for more information on the back of the map, or learn all about it now!
  • 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 one area 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 tell the order taker what you’d like and pay for your order. Staff will deliver your food to your vehicle. Guests will not be permitted to exit their vehicle.
  • Along the way, watch for State Fair mascots Fairchild and Fairborne (sponsored by Faribault Woolen Mill), play a fun “Eye Spy With My Fair Eye” in-car game to win prizes (sponsored by Cal Spas), 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 Food Parade 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 the Minnesota State Fair Fall Food Parade!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you presenting a Fall Food Parade? Will you be presenting Food Parades throughout the year?

We had never done a drive-thru food event before August, so we weren’t sure how it was all going to go. But, due to high demand and the huge success of our first Food Parade, we’re presenting an encore with a hint of fall flavor. After October, though, it will be time to start preparing the fairgrounds for winter, so we won’t be doing any more food parades for the foreseeable future.

How is the Fall Food Parade different from the parade in August-September?

We learned quite a bit from our first parade this summer, so we’ve streamlined and simplified this encore event. In a nod to October, several of the 16 vendors at the Fall Food Parade will offer items with an autumn twist, including a brie and cranberry topping option on Turkey to Go sandwiches; polish sausages and sauerkraut at Butcher Boys/Pitchfork Sausage; pumpkin spice funnel cakes and fried Oreos, plus hot apple cider, at The Hanger; deep-fried pickles and hot cider at Cheese On-A-Stick and Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade; and deep-fried pumpkin and apple pies with cinnamon ice cream at Minneapple Pie, a new vendor added to the encore Fall Food Parade.

The parade route and processes for ordering and delivering food at each vendor have stayed basically the same. All Minnesota State Fair and vendor staff will continue to follow current health and safety guidelines.

What should I bring to the Fall 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.
  • A pen to write on your order menu; you’ll receive a menu when you arrive.
  • Masks are strongly encouraged, especially for the driver or person ordering and paying for food. We will not be providing masks on site.
  • The Fall 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! Don’t forget storage containers so you can take extra food home to enjoy!

What time should I arrive to the Food Parade?

This is a popular event, and we’re trying to accommodate as many vehicles as efficiently and safely as possible while working to keep the parade traffic moving. Many variables will affect how fast or slow vehicles move, and we’ll do our best to manage the logistics and provide a fun, safe experience for you, our guests. Our best recommendation would be to arrive no earlier than 30 minutes prior to your scheduled arrival time. All vehicles will be staged and queued in lines according to arrival times. For example, if your arrival time is 11 a.m., and you arrive at 10:30 a.m., you will be directed to wait in the queue for 11 a.m.; the 11 a.m. line will then start on the parade route after the vehicles in the 10 a.m. arrival line have entered the route. We thank you in advance for your patience!

Will there be restrooms?

Limited public portable toilets along the route will be available and are noted on the map. Restrooms usually open during the fair will be closed during the parade.

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.

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.

What if I have more than five people ages 4+ in my vehicle?

If you have more than five people in one vehicle, an additional $20 ticket (plus $5 in fees) is required. You can purchase an “EXTRA OCCUPANTS” ticket when you arrive at the event. (One ticket is required for every five people.) Standard passenger vehicles only.

How will I see the mascots along the route?

State Fair mascots Fairborne and Fairchild (sponsored by Faribault Woolen Mill) will pass by parade cars. They will be riding in the Gopher Mobile and like their music loud, so you might hear them before you see them!

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.
  • Butcher Boys/Pitchfork Sausage: London Broil Steak on a Roll with onions, peppers and cheese (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)
  • Sweets & Treats: Popcorn, cotton candy and sno cones (all gluten-friendly)

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 one area 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?

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. The Sweets & Treats booth will sell Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite 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.

How can I become a Friend of the Fair at the Food Parade?

Each year the Minnesota State Fair Foundation (the nonprofit organization supporting the Minnesota State Fair) offers a special gift for donors who renew or join the Friends of the Fair membership program during the Great Minnesota Get-Together. This year, if you join or renew your membership for 2021 during the Fall Food Parade, you will receive an Official Friends of the Fair car flag (while supplies last)! The easiest way to get your flag is to sign up at home today and pick up your flag at the very first stop on the Food Parade. Sign up now!

In a year without a fair and without nearly all of its operating revenue, the State Fair needs the support of our Friends of the Fair more than ever! When you donate and become a 2021 Friend of the Fair, you help support the fair we all love, and you get great benefits, too.

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!

Is it safe to buy Fall 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.

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.)

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. The event also features greetings from State Fair mascots Fairborne and Fairchild and a fun in-car game 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.

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 nearly all of its operating revenue.

Were there presale opportunities?

Yes. 2021 Friends of the Fair members at the red ribbon level and above who join before noon Wednesday, Sept. 16, had the opportunity to purchase a ticket on Thursday, Sept. 17, before the lottery process begins. Learn more.

In a year without a fair and without nearly all of its operating revenue, the State Fair needs the support of Friends of the Fair more than ever! When you donate and become a member, you help support the fair and get great benefits too (such as access to the Fall Food Parade presale)!

Why are you using a lottery system to sell tickets?

We saw extremely high demand for our first parade in the summer, and so many guests were not able to purchase tickets. We will continue to limit the vehicle capacity in order to provide a safe and enjoyable guest experience, and we want to give more fair fans an equal opportunity to access tickets, so tickets for the Fall Food Parade were sold following a lottery process. There is a limit of one vehicle ticket per customer.

How does the lottery process to purchase tickets work?

TICKETS FOR THE FALL FOOD PARADE ARE CURRENTLY SOLD OUT. Tickets were sold using a lottery process. Here is how it worked (limit one vehicle ticket per customer):

1. Registration: If you’d like the opportunity to purchase a Fall Food Parade vehicle ticket, you must register for the vehicle ticket lottery by Thursday, Sept. 17, at noon. Registration for the lottery opened Sept. 14 and is NOW CLOSED. You’ll enter your name and contact information indicating that you would like to be entered into the random drawing for an opportunity to purchase one Fall Food Parade vehicle ticket. No payment is required at this time; registering for the lottery does not guarantee that you will be able to purchase a vehicle ticket. You may register only once; duplicate registrations will be removed. As long as you register by noon Thursday, Sept. 17, you will be entered into the lottery drawing; no priority is given to those who register early. You will receive an automated confirmation email with next-step instructions after your registration is submitted.

2. Notification: At 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21, all who registered for the lottery will receive an email notifying them if they have been either a) randomly selected for the opportunity to purchase a vehicle ticket, or b) they have been placed on the waiting list. The email sent to those who were randomly selected from the lottery will also include information on the next steps in the ticket purchasing process.

3. Those selected in the lottery can buy one vehicle ticket: Beginning Monday, Sept. 21, at noon, those who were randomly selected in the lottery may purchase one vehicle ticket to the Fall Food Parade for a specific arrival date and time. Instructions on how to do this will be contained in the email sent earlier that day by 8 a.m. All arrival dates and times will be available for purchase starting at noon. We recommend that if you have limited dates and times of when you can attend the parade, you purchase your vehicle ticket as soon after Monday, Sept. 21, at noon, as possible. If you have more flexibility of when you can attend, you have until Tuesday, Sept. 22, at noon, to purchase your ticket. Arrival dates and times will become more limited as people purchase tickets, but all who are selected in the lottery will be able to purchase one vehicle ticket until Tuesday, Sept. 22, at noon. If you do not purchase your vehicle ticket by noon Sept. 22, you will still have access to available dates and times if any remain, but people selected from the waiting list will also have the opportunity to purchase a vehicle ticket (as outlined below), and there is a chance that the event will sell out and you will not be able to purchase a vehicle ticket.

4. Those selected from the waiting list can buy, if vehicle tickets remain: At approximately 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22, if there are still vehicle tickets available for the parade, randomly selected registrants on the waiting list will receive an email notification with instructions on how they can purchase a vehicle ticket beginning at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22. This waiting list group will then have until noon Wednesday, Sept. 23, to purchase their vehicle ticket before another round of waiting list people are given the opportunity to buy. This waiting list notification and purchase process will continue daily until all vehicle tickets are sold. Available dates and times will become more limited as more people purchase vehicle tickets.

5. Sold-out notification: When all vehicle tickets have been sold, all who registered for the lottery will receive an email notifying them that vehicle tickets are no longer available. As of Sept. 24, tickets are sold out for the Fall Food Parade.

Can I buy more than one vehicle ticket?

Due to high demand and to give more guests an opportunity to attend the parade, sales will be limited to one ticket per customer.

All information subject to change.

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