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Aug. 22 – Labor Day, Sept. 2, 2024

60 Days 10 Hours 40 Mins

Kickoff to Summer at the Fair

Kickoff to Summer logo

Thanks for Joining Us!

The fourth annual Kickoff to Summer at the Fair will return May 23-26, 2024! This slice-of-the-fair event features more food and fun things to do than ever before – but with the laid-back patio vibe we all love about Minnesota summers. Favorite fair food and brews at nearly 40 vendors, music and entertainment free with admission, shopping at 20+ specialty Minnesota merchants, inflatable axe throwing, arcade games, mini golf, pickleball, Giant Slide rides, yard games, history tours, free parking, and so much more! Plus, the ever-popular Milk Run 5K Race will take place Saturday, May 25 at 9 a.m.

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

  • Thursday, May 23: 4-9 p.m.
  • Friday, May 24: 4-9 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, May 26: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Save $3 when you buy in advance online! Tickets are $13 each online (fees and tax included) and $16 each at the gate via a QR code (credit/debit only; fees and tax included). 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 651-288-4427.

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! Visit our Menu & Vendor Offerings page and view our downloadable program and detailed event map sponsored by Re-Bath for additional details.

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

Three Stages of Free Entertainment!

Plus, check out even more live entertainment at Andy’s Grille, Cafe Caribe, Dino’s Gyros and RC’s BBQ!

Thursday, May 23

Friday, May 24

Saturday, May 25

Sunday, May 26

ASL Interpretation

ASL interpretation is available on Saturday, May 25: Trivia Mafia (11:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.); History Tours (1, 4 p.m.). Additional ASL interpretation may also be provided 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.

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.

Adventure Zone

Stop by the Adventure Zone, proudly sponsored by Human Touch, for mini golf, inflatable axe throwing and pickleball! Find fun activities for friends and family alike in one stop!

  • Mini Golf On-A-Stick
    • No ifs, ands or putts, this mini golf adventure is the place to par-tee! Can Can Wonderland Mini Golf On-A-Stick brings a unique mini golf course with nine State Fair-favorite themed holes. $10 per person; children 3 and under are free with a paid adult.
  • NEW! – Practice your Axe Aim
  • Play at the Pickleball Courts

NEW – Play at The Arcade! 

Stop by The Arcade, located on the north side of Dan Patch Ave. between Nelson and Underwood streets (see map – coming soon) for dozens of coin-operated arcade games – fun for all ages!

Stroll Through History with the Minnesota State Fair Foundation

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

  • Thursday, May 23 at 6 p.m.
  • Friday, May 24 at 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, May 25 at 1 & 4 p.m. (ASL for both tours)
  • Sunday, May 26 at 1 & 4 p.m.

Plus, stop by to learn about the Minnesota State Fair Foundation‘s Friends of the Fair program. Donations help fund a wide range of fair projects, AND our Friends get some fair-time benefits too. Find it all south of Judson Ave. west of the Adventure Zone when you’re at Kickoff to Summer!

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!

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 south of West Dan Patch Ave.

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!

  • Thursday & Friday: Games starting at 5, 6:30 & 8 p.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: Games starting at 11:30 a.m., 1, 2:30, 4:30 & 6 p.m.
    • ASL Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

Family Fun Zone

Join us at the Family Fun Zone located at Dan Patch Park, proudly sponsored by Renewal by Andersen. 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! Check out board games from the games tent at Dan Patch Park. Free to play!

MathHappens and More

Visit DNR Park for a Pop Up Math Play Space for all ages brought to you by MathHappens! Plus, stop by the activity tent for fun DIY crafts for kids and adults alike. All free!

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 3, sponsored by Minnesota Rusco!

Cheer on Our Milk Runners

The annual Milk Run 5K Race will take place Saturday, May 25 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 26. Rain or shine.

Learn Life-Saving Skills

Just a few minutes is all it takes to learn about Hands-Only CPR and AEDs.

  • Hands-Only CPR: Two steps can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. As a bystander, you can:
  1. Call 911
  2. Push hard & fast in the center of the chest
  • AED: Using an AED within the first three minutes of sudden cardiac arrest increases the survival rate by over 80 percent.

Learn the simplicity of using an AED. Stop by and visit with certified trainers and cardiac arrest survivors at the tent on Carnes Avenue, east of the Grandstand Ramp. Brought to you by the American Heart Association and the Center for Resuscitation Medicine at the University of Minnesota. National CPR and AED Awareness Week is June 1-7. This is a Minnesota State Fair Community Gives Together initiative.

Specialty Shopping and Exhibit Booths

Unique finds from artisans and merchants! Visit our Menu & Vendor Offerings page and view our downloadable program and detailed event map sponsored by Re-Bath for additional details.

  • 3rd Lair SkatePark & SkateShop
  • Airbrush Caricatures
  • Always Northern Permanent Jewelry
  • Angry Minnow Vintage
  • Can Can Wonderland
  • Crystal Visions
  • Frankie’s Marine
  • Gifts Made By Hand
  • Glitter Glamper
  • GoodThings
  • Gotta Go Gotta Throw
  • Hagen and Oats
  • LeafHome Water Solutions
  • LeafFilter Gutter Protection
  • Lip Esteem
  • Lucky Shots Pickleball Club
  • Mattress Firm
  • Minnesota Exteriors – Blue Flame Gas Association
  • Minnesota Rusco
  • Minnesota State Fair Foundation
  • Must be Ruff
  • Northern Pine Co. Boutique
  • Northstar Council – Boy Scouts of America
  • Paddle North
  • Rainbow Midwest
  • Renewal by Andersen
  • Roots, Shoots & Leaves
  • Sota Clothing
  • State FairWear
  • Star Tribune
  • T-Mobile
  • Treasure Island Resort & Casino

Event Program

Check out the downloadable program and detailed event map sponsored by Re-Bath, or pick up a copy at an information booth at the fairgrounds.

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.
  • 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 CHS Miracle of Birth Center (with a large amount of parking available in the lots south of Como). Whether arriving by car, pick-up or drop-off, bike, bus or on foot, all guests will need to make their way to one of these gates to enter the event. Free parking (space is limited)! Our designated Bike lot  is proudly sponsored by ICON EV (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 of any kind, including but not limited to: firearms, knives, objects that appear to be weapons, pepper spray, mace, tasers or other self-defense items
      • Fireworks or other explosive and flammable objects
      • Outside alcoholic beverages or any illegal substance
      • Drones or any remote-controlled toys
      • Bikes, skateboards, skates, hoverboards
      • Pets, including emotional support animals
        • Service animals allowed
      • Face coverings intended to conceal wearer’s identity
        • Religious and health reasons permitted
      • 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
  • Rain or shine! In 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. 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 sponsored by Re-Bath. Printed copies will also be available at the on-site information booths.
  • Pets: Fido and friends, including emotional support animals, will need to stay 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 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: $75
  • Wheelchair: $30
  • 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 9 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 & Casino

Minnesota Rusco


Human Touch

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cal spas logo

minnesota corn logo

renewal by anderson logo

icon electric vehicles

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