Last updated on January 29th, 2019
When you ask Minnesotan’s, “What is their favorite fair or festival?” they almost always say the Minnesota State Fair. But did you know you don’t have to wait until then to enjoy all the fun? There are county fairs going on all summer long. As much as I love the MN State Fair, I love getting to the county fairs in MN even more. Their size and location make it so easy to visit and it’s affordable for the whole family.
Why visit the County Fairs over the State Fair?
The County Fairs have many of the same components that the MN State Fair has, like the great food, animals, competitions, and rides. But everything is closer together so you don’t have to walk as far to see everything. The crowds are smaller every day. This makes it especially nice when you have young kids and strollers. You also don’t have to take a day off work to visit a county fair to avoid the horrible weekend crowds that plague the MN State Fair. There are a bunch of other benefits of attending a county fair.
The county fair has fun events like tractor pulls, pig races and demolition derbies that you won’t see at the State Fair. The Carver County Fair even has a Rock-Paper-Scissors competition. A lot the County Fairs in MN are bringing in some big names in entertainment too. This enables you to get closer to the artists at a fraction of the cost as the State Fair. Depending on the fair, it may be a standing room only concert, lawn chair event or a stadium event.
The rides at the county fair are on a much smaller scale. This is great when you have indecisive riders. I also feel that my money stretches a little further on their rides vs those at the State Fair. I’m not sure why.
The big draw to any fair is always the food. It’s why I’ve always given you the rundown before of the latest and grates that the MN State Fair has to offer. But have you checked out the local food scene? The County Fairs have the same mini donuts, cotton candy, and cheese curds too. But they are also bringing in the fancy stuff like gourmet Apple Pies, corn dogs, pork chops, smoked meats, s’mores and so much more.
The County Fairs have all the same animals in a condensed down version. While the state fair has a large number of animals, do you really need to see 100 different types of the same animal? In most cases, I’m fine seeing a couple of each type of cows, or chickens, or pigs, or lamas. It’s also a great opportunity to speak with the owners to get more information on the different animals. And remember to always ask before you go up to pet animals. Some may be friendlier than others.
Have you ever wanted to compete at a Fair? The County Fairs have a ton of different categories you can enter, similar to the State Fair. But only a fraction of the competition compared to the State Fair making it a perfect opportunity to take home a ribbon. The cost to enter and prize money is often the same. And if you enter a piece in the county fair, there is nothing stopping you from entering it in the State Fair too, hint hint… Check out the County Fairs website to get full details on the rules for each category.
List of County Fairs in MN
2019 MN County Fair Dates
10-13 Aitkin County Fair, Aitkin*
17-21 Waseca County Fair, Waseca*
23-28 Anoka County Fair, Anoka
24-28 Scott County Fair, Jordan*
*Denotes Free Gate Admission During The 2019 Year. Sometimes, you may be asked to pay a small fee for parking per car when there is free fair admission. Some locations offer free parking and gate fair admission. See the County Fairs Website for details.
Additional MN County Fairs w/ unconfirmed dates
The MN County fairs are still working on all the details for 2019. A few fairs still have not released their dates for 2019 yet. Once they are confirmed I’ll get them added to the master list. But for now, here are the 2018 dates to give you an idea of when they are normally held.
28-1 Cass County Fair, Pine River
11-15 Kittson County Fair, Hallock
18-21 Wabasha County Fair, Wabasha*
25-28 Rock County Fair, Luverne
Are you ready for summer fun?
Have I convinced you yet? I’m already dreaming about the different foods I want to eat. This year alone, I’m hoping to make it to at least two Fairs, including the Hennepin County Fair. If you haven’t already been to a county fair yet, what are you waiting for? Make sure to share this Ultimate List of County Fairs in MN so you can start enjoying some of the fun.
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