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Aug. 24 – Labor Day, Sept. 4, 2023

151 Days 15 Hours 3 Mins

New Attraction: History Walking Tour – 5 New Stops

History Walking Tour – 5 New Stops

The History Walking Tour, a two-mile, 12-stop self-guided exploration of some of the State Fair’s most historically significant spots, introduces five new additions to the tour: One-Mile Track, Plaza Bandstand, Cattle Barn, Baldwin Park and Pets at the Fair.


  • One-Mile Track
    • In 1885 when the State Fairgrounds moved to its now-permanent site, a one-mile dirt track was built for horse racing. In 1939, the one-mile track was replaced with a new half-mile track.
  • Plaza Bandstand
    • In 1927, 17 years after it was constructed south of the Grandstand, the Plaza Bandstand featured John Philip Sousa and his band performing the “Minnesota March,” composed at the request of University of Minnesota students and alumni.
  • Cattle Barn
    • When planning for the new Cattle Barn, the goal was “not simply a mere cattle barn but a real exposition building,” according to the State Fair board. Constructed in 1920-21, the barn can hold 1,000 head of cattle. As part of the World War II war effort, the building was converted to a manufacturing shop for military aircraft propellers. In 1947, the building was reconverted and held cattle once again.
  • Baldwin Park
    • Over the years, this area has held Machinery Hall, poultry, Machinery Park, 4-H performances and high school bands. In 1983, it was renamed Baldwin Park, and a stage was built for daily entertainment.
  • Pets at the Fair
    • The first dog bench shows were held from 1912 to 1916 and returned in 1930 to the Poultry Building. In 1972, dogs moved to the Dog Exhibit building west of the Grandstand. In 1991, the Pet Center on the north end of the fairgrounds opened for purebred dog breeder exhibitions, commercial displays, veterinary groups and more. The current Pet Pavilions opened in 2018.

Pick up a tour brochure at any tour stop on the fairgrounds, the J.V. Bailey House or the History & Heritage Center. Visit at least eight of the 12 stops and collect a prize! Free with fair admission. (See brochure for details.)

Additional Resources


Located throughout the fairgrounds

The History Walking Tour is supported by the Minnesota State Fair Foundation and the Minnesota Historical Society.