The Ultimate List of County Fairs in MN

The Ultimate List of County Fairs in MN

Last updated on August 16th, 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 MN county fairs have 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 lines for rides are next to nothing compared to the big fairs.


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.

Giant Corn Dog Eating at the Caver County Fair


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 different animals. And remember to always ask before you go up to pet animals. Some may be friendlier than others.

The Killer List of Day Trips you can take today


Have you ever wanted to compete at a Fair? The Minnesota 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… In some cases, in order to get it into the MN State Fair, you need to have it placed in your county fair. Check out the County Fairs website to get full details on the rules for each category.

List of County Fairs in MN

MN County Fair Dates in 2019




*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.

Are you ready for summer fun?

Have I convinced you yet to visit a county fair in MN? 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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Does Your MN Summer Bucket List include a stop at a County Fair? If not, it should! They are the prefect fix for the State Fair Lovers. OnlyinMN | Twin Cities | Saint Paul | Minnesota Summer | Fairs and Attractions

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  • Reply Terry Sindelir July 31, 2018 at 8:12 am

    In 2008 my wife and i set out to attend every county fair in the state, its been 11 years now and we have attended 52 0f them so much fun,we rank each one as we go.
    1. steele county
    2.carver county\
    3 .stearns couny

    • Reply Jenn July 31, 2018 at 8:45 am

      Wow Terry, that’s crazy. Doing them in one year may be logistically impossible. Plus you’ll need a break from all the fried foods!

  • Reply Guillermo Narvaez September 8, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    If you were to visit seven or so fairs throughout the state (excluding the Metro, I am trying to cover diverse regions of the state… in 2019 as this season is done), which ones do you recommend? I hear Owatonna is very popular, how about six more?

    • Reply Jenn September 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

      I haven’t been to them all myself but from the one’s I have been to, here are my recomendations.
      1. Sterns County in St. Cloud
      2. Carver County in Wacconnia
      3. Dakota County in Farmington,
      4. Itaska County Fair in Grand Rapids
      5. Brown County Fair in New Ulmn
      6. Washington County Fair in Stillwater
      Have a great time exploring!

  • Reply Guillermo Narvaez September 9, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Thank you for the suggestions. I will try to let you know how it goes.

  • Reply Tom Albert January 24, 2019 at 7:09 am

    I have been looking for a list of fairs and you provided! However, I’m refining it a bit and looking for the fairs that feature a little of the “off beat”. In Henderson, Mn, I have gone to the Sauerkraut Days just for the unique teeshirt. Enjoyed it so much I’ve gone for several years now and I live over by Rochester! If you know of any more unique festivals, could you pass it on? I so enjoy those! And thank you for what you’ve put together here!

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