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Aug. 22 – Labor Day, Sept. 2, 2024

267 Days 1 Hours 30 Mins

Kickoff to Summer at the Fair

Thanks for Joining Us!

Enjoy a slice of the fair! Get together with family and friends, savor State Fair food favorites at 30+ vendors, raise a glass to a bright summer ahead, tap your toes to live music on three stages, enjoy activities and attractions for the whole family, shop 20+ specialty Minnesota merchants, and so much more! This is the ultimate way to kick back and relax at the iconic State Fairgrounds! Plus, there’s free parking!

To make this an extra-special experience, attendance is limited per day.

  • Thursday, May 25: 4-9 p.m.
  • Friday, May 26: 4-9 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 27: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (SOLD OUT)
  • Sunday, May 28: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Tickets are $12.50 each when purchased in advance (fees and tax included) and $15.50 each during the event (via QR code, credit/debit only; fees and tax included). Save $3 when you buy in advance online! Children 4 and under are free and do not require a ticket. Each ticket is valid for a specific day. You will choose your day when you purchase tickets. Attendance is limited per day. This event is rain or shine. Tickets are non-refundable.

Note that tickets for this event are limited for each day, and some days may sell out.

Questions about tickets: Contact the Minnesota State Fair Ticket Office at or 651-288-4467.

Is it safe to buy 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.

Food & Brews

Fair food faves and refreshing summer beers! View our downloadable program and detailed event map for additional details.

  • Al’s Subs & Malt Shop
  • Andy’s Grille
  • Auntie M’s Gluten Free – new this year!
  • Baba’s
  • Ball Park Cafe
  • Bayou Bob’s
  • Big Fat Bacon
  • Blue Moon Dine-In Theater
  • Cafe Caribe
  • Cheese-on-a-Stick and Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
  • Chimborazo – new this year!
  • Coasters
  • Dino’s Gyros
  • Duke’s Poutine
  • El Sol Mexican Foods
  • Fresh French Fries
  • Giggles’ Campfire Grill (two locations) – new this year!
  • Hansen’s Foot Long Hot Dogs & Corn Dogs
  • Minnesnowii Shave Ice
  • Mouth Trap Cheese Curds
  • Nelson’s Foot Long Hot Dogs & Corn Dogs
  • The Perfect Pickle
  • Produce Exchange
  • Pronto Pups (two locations)
  • Que Viet Concessions
  • RC’s BBQ
  • Richie’s Cheese Curd Tacos – new this year!
  • Rick’s Pizza – new this year!
  • Sambusa Express – new this year!
  • Summer Lakes Beverage
  • Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar
  • Sweets & Treats
  • Tiny Tim Donuts
  • Tot Boss
  • West Indies Soul Food

Kickoff Happenings

Music & Entertainment

Spring into summer with live entertainment and plenty of fun activities! View our downloadable program and detailed event map for additional details.

Three Stages of Free Entertainment!

  • Visitors Plaza Stage (VP) sponsored by Treasure Island: At Dan Patch Ave. & Underwood St.
  • Family Fun Stage (FF) sponsored by Cal Spas: At DNR Park
  • Christensen Farms Stage (CF): On Judson Ave. near CHS Miracle of Birth Center

Thursday, May 25

Friday, May 26

Saturday, May 27

Sunday, May 28

ASL Interpretation

ASL interpretation is available for performances upon request with 14 days advance notice. Please contact  or 651-288-4448 for information.

Fun Around the Fairgrounds

DJ Entertainment

Dance, sing and tap your toes to summertime tunes sponsored by Adagio Djay Entertainment. Providing a symphony of music, melodies and excitement into the perfect experience.

Say hello to our furry friends Fairborne & Fairchild

Watch for our beloved furry State Fair mascots sponsored by Mattress Firm – they’re done hibernating and ready to help us spring into summer! Find them in various locations around the fairgrounds throughout each day of the event. Catch them at the Mattress Firm tent Thursday & Friday and 6 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m. & 6 p.m.!

Giant Slide

A chance to ride the slide in May! Tickets are $4; cash only. The slide is open weather permitting; if it rains, the slide will reopen when it dries.

NEW – Mini Golf Games

Brought to you by Can Can Wonderland, play through a unique mini golf course with some State Fair-favorite themed holes. Located east of the Grandstand Ramp. Games are $7.

NEW – Play at the Pickleball Courts

Practice your pickleball prowess at courts located in the east Grandstand Plaza, brought to you by Lucky Shots Pickleball Club. Free to play!

NEW – Stroll Through History

Learn about the rich history of the fairgrounds on a guided historical walking tour brought to you by the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. Meet near the Giant Slide. It’s free!

  • Thursday, May 25 at 6 p.m.
  • Friday, May 26 at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 27 at 1 & 4 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 28 at 1 & 4 p.m.

NEW – Roving Entertainment

ROCK-IT THE ROBOT (Thursday-Sunday) and The Bubbler (Saturday & Sunday) will make their way throughout the fairgrounds each day. Keep an eye out for these interactive, engaging entertainers!

NEW – Skateboard Lessons & Demos

Pick up some sweet skateboard skills with lessons and demonstrations from 3rd Lair. 30-minute group lessons will cost $20 per rider, up to five riders per lesson. Equipment provided. Find them on the southwest corner of Dan Patch Ave. and Liggett St.

Trivia Mafia

Put your thinking caps on and play live trivia challenges led by the folks of Trivia Mafia, known for their popular games at local pubs, breweries and special events. Yes, there are prizes! Trivia Mafia is located in the Grandstand Building, sponsored by T-Mobile, lower level. Each session is approximately 45 minutes. It’s free to play!

Yard Games & Board Games

From beanbag toss to giant chess to Jenga and all sorts of board games, we’ll have a wide assortment of things to try with your friends and family! Yard games are in Dan Patch Park. Check out board games in Dan Patch Park from the games tent. Free to play! Proudly sponsored by Renewal by Andersen.

Learn About Friends of the Fair!

The Minnesota State Fair Foundation‘s Friends of the Fair donations help fund a wide range of fair projects, AND our Friends get some fair-time benefits too. Stop by one of the Friends of the Fair carts located near the info booths (see map) and sign up when you’re at Kickoff to Summer!

Win Door Prizes!

Winners from each day will be randomly drawn from all who purchased Kickoff to Summer at the Fair tickets through Etix and opted in to enter. Winners of fabulous prizes will be notified the week of June 5, sponsored by Minnesota Rusco!

NEW – Cheer on Our Milk Runners!

Our largest Milk Run 5K Race ever, presented by By the Yard, will take place Saturday, May 27 at 9 a.m.! Come support our nearly 2,000 runners as they race through the fairgrounds. A valid admission ticket must be presented to enter the fairgrounds as a runner or spectator. Registration for runners closed March 28. Rain or shine.

Specialty Shopping and Exhibit Booths

Unique finds from artisans and merchants! View our downloadable program and detailed event map for additional details.

  • 3rd Lair
  • Angry Minnow Vintage
  • Beisswenger’s Hardware
  • Bulljive
  • Crystal Visions
  • Ecofun Motorsports
  • Every Third Saturday
  • Glitter Glamper
  • GoodThings
  • Hagen and Oats
  • Holly House Boutique
  • LeafFilter Gutter Protection
  • Lucky Shots Pickleball Club
  • Mattress Firm
  • Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans
  • Minnesota Rusco
  • Must be Ruff
  • Paddle North
  • Paul’s Porch Pots
  • Rainbow Midwest Inc.
  • Sota Clothing
  • Star Tribune
  • State Fairwear
  • T-Mobile

Join in the Minnesota State Fair Community Gives Together

Bring a food donation for Second Harvest Heartland when you Kickoff to Summer! Most needed items include canned fruits and vegetables, canned meat (chicken, tuna and salmon), peanut butter, instant potatoes and rice, cereal and oatmeal, and low-sugar, low-sodium and gluten-free items. (Please no glass containers, perishable items or home-canned foods.) Financial contributions are also being accepted at Presented in partnership with Cub Foods. Thank you for your generosity!

Drop off your donations at either of our gates when you visit, view it on our map. Learn more on our Minnesota State Fair Community Gives Together webpage.

Event Program

Check out the downloadable program and detailed event map, or pick up a copy at an information booth at the fairgrounds. The Kickoff to Summer event program & information booths are sponsored by Humana.

Food, beverages, merchandise and select activities are an additional cost.

Know Before You Go

Need tickets? Buy in advance online and save $3. Below is the information you need to know before you go:

  • Tickets: Tickets must be printed with the barcode visible, or they may be scanned off your mobile device via the link included in your purchase confirmation email. This email with your tickets was sent from Etix shortly after you completed your online purchase. If you need your confirmation email resent, please contact Etix at 1-800-514-3849.
  • Your day: Check your ticket and arrive anytime during the day you purchased. Only those with tickets for the designated day will be admitted during that time. If you would like to leave the grounds and re-enter, just get your hand stamped when you exit.
  • Entrances: There will be two public entrances: At Snelling and Hoyt avenues, north of the water tower (parking available in the Robin Lot off Randall Avenue); and at Como Avenue just east of the Coliseum (with a large amount of parking available in the lots south of Como). Whether arriving by car, Uber or Lyft, taxi, bike, bus or on foot, all guests will need to make their way to one of these gates to enter the event. Free parking! (Parking & Entrance Map.)
  • Health & safety: The Minnesota State Fair’s security program includes walk-through metal detectors at entry gates. Bags, purses, coolers and packages will be subject to search at each of the event entrances. Prohibited items include:
      • Weapons or objects that appear to be weapons
      • Fireworks or other explosive and flammable objects
      • Alcoholic beverages or any illegal substance
      • Drones or any remote-controlled toys
      • Bikes, skateboards, skates, hoverboards
      • Outside food and drink with the exception of sealed plastic water bottles or an empty reusable water bottle
      • Other items may be refused at the discretion of State Fair management or law enforcement.
      • Pets, including emotional support animals.
  • Rain or shine! In the case of inclement weather, please bring umbrellas, ponchos or other rain gear.
  • What to bring: Your ticket; board games if you’d like; cash and credit card if you plan to buy food or merch or participate in ticketed activities; and food donation items for Community Gives Together collection. Plus, we’re pretty sure you’ll want to take home fair food to share or save for later, so bring an empty cooler, storage containers and maybe even some foil or plastic wrap!
  • Entertainment and happenings: See the downloadable event program. Printed copies will also be available at the on-site information booth, sponsored by Humana.
  • Pets: Fido and friends, including emotional support animals will need to stay at home. Service dogs that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability are permitted.
  • Designated smoking areas: For the comfort and safety of all, two designated smoking areas are available. Smoking (including the use of e-cigarettes and vape pens) is permitted only in these areas. See the detailed event map.
  • Wi-Fi: Event hotspot sponsored by DragNFly Wireless. Check out the location in our detailed event map.
  • Cash or credit: For a list of which food vendors accept cash and/or credit, please check out the menus. Merchandise vendors accept cash or credit. The Giant Slide accepts cash only. ATMs are available on-site. Check out the detailed event map.
  • Lost & found: The on-site information booths, sponsored by Humana, will house lost & found during the event. Questions: 651-288-4555;
  • Souvenir drink bottles: Vendors are not able to refill State Fair souvenir drink bottles at this event.

Electric Mobility Scooters, Strollers, Wagons and Wheelchairs

HomeTown Mobility is accepting reservations for wheelchairs and electric mobility scooters. Reserve online (select “Kickoff to Summer on the MNSF grounds” from the list) or call HomeTown Mobility at 712-938-2029 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time. (Note: Reservations made by phone are subject to a $5 call-in fee.) Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. Cancellation must be made 48 hours in advance to receive a refund, less a $5 cancellation fee per rental unit. A valid driver’s license or state ID is required when picking up your rental.


  • Electric mobility scooter: $70
  • Wheelchair: $25
  • Double stroller: $25
  • Single stroller or wagon: $20

If rented on-site (without a reservation), all equipment is available on a first-come basis with no guarantee of availability.

At the Kickoff event, HomeTown Mobility will have two locations (see Parking & Entrance Map), one inside Gate 16 on the north, and one inside Gate 10 on the south by Como Avenue. Cash or credit accepted. Battery charging for personal scooters is not available at the HomeTown Mobility site.


All information subject to change.

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Kickoff to Summer at the Fair
is proudly sponsored by

Mattress Firm

Adiago Djay Entertainment

Treasure Island Resort and Casino

Minnesota Rusco

humana logo

T-Mobile logo

cal spas logo

renewal by anderson logo

cal spas logo