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Beyond the Minnesota State Fair at the Fairgrounds

Events, Minnesota, MN, Twin Cities

Minnesota State Fair

 

Every summer it’s bittersweet when the Minnesota State Fair rolls around for 12 days of food-on-a-stick, thrilling carnival rides & games, live music, and much, much more. It’s sweet because THE STATE FAIR IS HERE! 🤩 and bitter because summer is over 😭.

But did you know that hundreds of other events are held at the fairgrounds throughout the year? That’s right, HUNDREDS. We broke down the fairgrounds’ popular events into categories for you. Maybe you’ll find another event that will become an annual tradition like the Minnesota State Fair has become for many families.

Horse Shows

The fairgrounds sees A LOT of horses stomping around the grounds throughout the year. Shows take place in the spring, summer and fall months giving you a wide array of events to attend. Most of the horse shows are open to the public!

Spring: Sahara Sands Spring Classic, FASH Spring Horse Show & Minnesota Horse Expo
Summer: Tanbark Cavalcade of Roses Horse Show, Capitol Classic Horse ShowMAQHA Corporate Challenge, & North Central Reining Extravaganza
Fall:  Minnesota 4-H State Horse Show, Western Saddle Club Horse Show, Fall Festival Arabian Horse Show, & Minnesota Harvest Horse Show

Car Shows & Swap Meets

Car lovers hit the jackpot each year at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds with 5+ car shows and swap meets. Attendees not only get to see these unique cars up close but they get to chat with vendors who love cars just as much as they do.

Spring: Spring Extravaganza Car Show & Swap Meet
Summer: GMCCA Car Show & Swap Meet, MSRA Back to the 50’s, Street Machine Summer Nationals & Motorcycle Swap Meet
Fall: Roadsters Swap Meet & Midwest Fall Swap Meet & Antique Auto Show

Races

Staying fit is fun when you sign-up for a run with friends and family! These runs are unique because they take place throughout the Minnesota State Fairgrounds without the crowds lined-up for a bucket of Sweet Martha’s Cookies.

Midsummer Mile: The Midsummer Mile features three waves of runners. Competitive Women’s and Men’s waves are available and a Family & Friends wave for those who are looking for a more relaxed race atmosphere. It’s all about bringing back the mile run!

The Color Run: Known as the happiest 5K on the planet, The Color Run celebrates healthiness, happiness, and individuality. It’s all about helping participants achieve their fitness goals by providing a fun running environment.

Jingle Bell Run: Run to raise funds and awareness to cure America’s #1 cause of disability, arthritis. Get decked out in your favorite holiday costume or festive outfit for a fun run with friends and family. 100% of your registration fee goes back to the Arthritis Foundation.

Antique Shows

Whether you’re a fan of antique furniture, toys or military relics, the antique shows taking place at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds will please any and all collectors.

Winter: Winter Antique Show
Spring: Antique Spectacular Show & Flea MarketNorthland Antique Toy, Doll & Advertising ShowMWCA Weapons Show & Sale, & Minneapolis-St. Paul Military Relic & Collectors Show
Fall: MWCA Weapons Show & Sale & Minneapolis-St. Paul Military Relic & Collectors Show

Family Friendly

Going to the Minnesota State Fair is a family affair that Minnesota’s can’t miss! You don’t want to miss these other family friendly events happening around the fairgrounds.

Saint Paul Osman Shrine Circus: The longest continuously running Shrine Circus in America can be found at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. It’s the most fun you’ll have at the circus!

Dog Olympics: The Dog Olympics is put on by a student group at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. At the event you will watch competitions, browse interactive community & club booths, and demonstrations.

North Star Roller Girls: Watch the North Star Roller Girls compete on a flat track roller derby at the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum. It’s a unique sport that the whole family will get a kick out of!

Pumpkin Nights: Walk among 3,000+ hand-carved synthetic and 1,000 fresh pumpkins on a half-mile walking path throughout the fairgrounds. The larger than life displays are a must see!

Crafts

We all know someone who can whip together the cutest baby photo scrapbook or knit a trendy scarf for the perfect gift. If that person is you (we’re jealous) then these craft shows are for you!

Craftstravaganza: This one-day art market is FULL of handmade goods. Beyond shopping you can partake in free workshops and activities throughout the day. Admission is FREE.

Stamp & Scrapbook Expo: Are you into scrapbooking, paper crafting and/or stamping? If you said yes, then the Stamp & Scrapbook Expo is for you! This show is the #1 rated consumer scrapbook show in the nation.

Entertainment

Prepare to be entertained for hours and hour and hours! These annual events may be for a niche crowd, but  you should give them a try to see if that niche is you.

MSP ComiCon: Midwest Comic Book Association brings comic book lovers 100,000 square feet of extreme comic book mayhem! Attendees can mingle with dealers and creators from around the United States.

Fall ComiCon: Midwest Comic Book Association brings comic book lovers 33,000 square feet of awe inspiring comic book wonderment! Attendees get the chance to visit with 100+ comic creators.

Soundset: Featuring music from popular hip hop artists, Soundset is a fun music festival that takes place on The Midway at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

Beer Lovers

If you’re a fan of locally crafted Minnesota beers then you’re in luck with these beer themed events! Get your tickets for the beer fests early as they have become VERY popular.

Beer Dabbler Winter Carnival: If you’re into attending the biggest outdoor beer festival in Minnesota then look no further! Yes, it’s the dead of winter in Minnesota and it’s cold outside, but you’ll warm up with a few pints of beer.

St. Paul Summer Beer Fest: What could be better than being outside in the summer drinking beer? Sounds perfect to us. At the beer fest you will have the opportunity to sample beer from 100+ breweries. Enjoy live music, food and seminars, too.

Twin Cities Oktoberfest: Two days of non-stop fun and entertainment is on tap during Twin Cities Oktoberfest. There’s plenty of Summit beer to go around while you listen to live music and snack on traditional Oktoberfest foods.

Miscellaneous

Are you a fan of out of the box events? There’s so many different events happening at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds that they don’t all fit into a category!

Winter: Horse Crazy Holiday Market
Spring: Munchkin Markets Children’s Consignment, Minneapolis St. Paul Mini Maker Faire & Model Railroad Show & Sale
Summer: International Gem & Jewelry Show & Pet-A-Palooza
Fall: Minnesota Beef Expo, Munchkin Markets Children’s Consignment, Model Railroad Show & SaleState 4-H Dog ShowRummage MN, Twin Cities Arts & Crafts 20th Century Design Show, & Twin Cities Book Festival

Weddings & Meetings

The Minnesota State Fairgrounds is located right in Roseville’s backyard and offers charming, unique and picturesque buildings to host weddings. Four architecturally distinct venues are available for wedding ceremonies and receptions April through October. Any time of year, you and your guests will enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens, unparalleled atmosphere and convenience. More information. With more than 15 buildings available to rent and 320 acres of versatile land, the fairgrounds are an ideal site for meetings, receptions, trade shows and conferences. The fairgrounds can accommodate both small and large events with building sizes that range from 10,000 to 60,000 square feet. A variety of catering and concession options are available along with equipment rental and free parking for all event attendees.


If you’re a vendor showing at one or more of these events or attending from out of town, stay in a Roseville hotel! Roseville offers the closest hotels to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.