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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Minnesota State Fair begins run Thursday

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - The 2017 Great Minnesota Get-Together begins tomorrow on Thursday, Aug. 24, and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 4. This year’s 12 days of fun feature dozens of new attractions, exhibits and foods; a variety of discounts and special deal days; numerous special events; hundreds of free live music and entertainment acts; and many options for getting to the fair.

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting nearly two million visitors annually. Showcasing Minnesota's finest agriculture, art and industry, the Great Minnesota Get-Together is always 12 Days of Fun Ending Labor Day. Visit mnstatefair.org for more information. The 2017 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 24 - Labor Day, Sept. 4.

New Attractions, Exhibits & Foods
Several new attractions make their State Fair debut in 2017, including the 156-foot-tall Great Big Wheel; the Veranda, a new shop-eat-sip destination on the west side of the Grandstand’s upper level; The Great Minnesota Knit Together with Minnesota’s largest yarnbomb – located on the Grandstand Ramp; an Evening with Equine on Aug. 29; Ramberg Center Relax & Recharge Station; and more. Visit mnstatefair.org/find/new-attractions/ for descriptions and photos of all new attractions and exhibits. High-resolution photos of a selection of new attractions and exhibits are available for media use at mnstatefair.org/general_info/media_galleries.html.

Thirty-one new foods and five new food vendors have been added to the fair’s list of more than 500 food options. Visit mnstatefair.org/find/new-food/ for descriptions of this year’s new fare at the fair. High-resolution photos of the new foods are available for media use at mnstatefair.org/general_info/media_galleries.html.

Music & Entertainment
The 2017 free entertainment lineup features more than 900 shows – all free with the price of State Fair admission. Visit mnstatefair.org/entertainment/free_entertainment.html for the complete lineup.
The historic State Fair Grandstand is home to 11 nights of big-name entertainment from Stevie Nicks to Toby Keith. Tickets are available through Etix at etix.com or by calling (800) 514-3849. Visit mnstatefair.org/entertainment/grandstand.html for the complete 2017 Grandstand Concert Series lineup (sponsored by Sleep Number). A nightly Fireworks Spectacular (sponsored by Mazda) follows each Grandstand show, weather permitting.

Special Events
Several special events are scheduled during this year’s Great Minnesota Get-Together.
The Milk Run 5K (sponsored by Great River Energy, Midwest Dairy Association, Minnesota Farmers Union and Giggles’ Campfire Grill) kicks off at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27. Visit mnstatefair.org/competition/milk_run.html for more race information. Runner registration is closed for 2017.

Military Appreciation Day is Tuesday, Aug. 29, when the Minnesota State Fair honors our nation’s heroes with admission discounts and special events throughout the day. This year, the seventh annual Military Appreciation Day highlights the 100th anniversary of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with a ceremony at the Veterans Garden on the south side of the Agriculture Horticulture Building. It is followed at 9:45 a.m. with an opening ceremony flag-raising program at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell and the 34th Combat Aviation Brigade Helicopter Flyover.  

Two Minnesota senior citizens will be recognized for exceptional community service at the Outstanding Senior Citizens Award (sponsored by AmericInn Hotels & Suites) program. The ceremony is set for 10:30 a.m. on Seniors Day Thursday, Aug. 31 at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell.
In its 45th year as a Minnesota State Fair tradition, the Amateur Talent Contest (sponsored by JACK’S® Pizza) showcases MinnesotaŹ¼s top talent. During the first 10 days of the fair, semifinals will be held at 6 p.m. nightly at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell. Winners from semifinals will compete in the finals at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 3, at the Grandstand. This is a free event. Visit mnstatefair.org/entertainment/talent_contests.html for additional Amateur Talent Contest information.

Open class, 4-H and FFA competition judging takes place throughout the fair. For more information on when judging is taking place and where to see the animals, visit mnstatefair.org/competition/judging_schedule.html or see a daily schedule for each day’s livestock and horse events.
The 2017 Best Awards will be announced at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31 on the International Bazaar Stage. Awards will be presented to the very best of the State Fair’s 1,200 commercial exhibit and food vendors.

Ticketed Attractions
In addition to dozens of rides and games at Mighty Midway and Kidway, there are more than 10 different ticketed attractions for fair guests to enjoy, including: Space Tower, Ye Old Mill, Go Karts, Haunted House, River Raft Ride, SkyGlider and Skyride, among others.
Clown Around, a new Kidway (sponsored by DISH) ride, is set to make its debut taking little tykes ‘round and ‘round and up and down.

Discounts & Special Deal Days
Pre-fair discount admission tickets, ride & game tickets and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are available through Wednesday, Aug. 23, at the State Fairgrounds Ticket Office, Minneapolis Visitor Information, participating Cub stores and numerous locations in greater Minnesota and Hudson, Wis. (while supplies last). Visit mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/admission.html for pre-fair discount pricing and locations.

The State Fair offers special admission discounts on six of its 12 days with Thrifty Thursday, Seniors & Kids Days, Military Appreciation Day and Read & Ride Day. Many vendors throughout the fairgrounds also offer special savings on these deal days. Visit mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/admission.html for a listing of special discount days.

All-Day or Early Bird specials are offered each weekday on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides & games. Visit mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/box_office/midway_kidway.html for dates and more information on Mighty Midway and Kidway deals.

The 2017 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book offers 150 coupons with huge savings on food, merchandise and attractions. Bargain Books are available wherever pre-fair discount tickets are sold before the fair (not at mnstatefair.org), and at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book & State Fair Poster Carts during the fair. Coupons are valid all 12 days, and a preview of bargains is available at mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/blue_ribbon_bb.html. The Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide, available at State Fair information booths or at mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/ddga.html, offers complete details on special day deals, items for $1 and less, freebies and sign-up-to-win drawings.

Getting to the Get-Together
Free parking with free shuttle bus service to and from the fair is available from 8 a.m. to midnight daily at 33 locations within a short distance of the fairgrounds. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/park_ride.html for a full list of Park & Ride locations. State Fair Express Bus service is offered at 20 sites throughout the Twin Cities area. Round-trip Express Bus fare is available for a nominal fee. Parking at each site is free. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/express_bus.html for more information on pricing and a list of Express Bus Service locations. Metro Transit routes 960, 84, 3 and the A Line are great options to get to the fairgrounds. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/reg_bus.html for more information on these regular Metro Transit routes. Guests planning to take the METRO Green Line to the fair should get off at the Snelling Avenue Station and take the A Line or Route #84 bus to the fairgrounds. Three free secured bicycle parking areas are available on the fairgrounds and open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/bike.html for more information on biking to the State Fair.

Parking in State Fairgrounds lots is $14 (cash only). Motorcycle parking is available for $8 in a secured lot on the south side of Como Avenue across from Gate #7. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/parking.html for a map of State Fairgrounds parking lot locations. There is no guaranteed parking as space is limited and all lots are filled on a first-come basis.

App-based ride services, such as Uber & Lyft, have two designated drop-off and pick-up locations for getting to and from the fair.Fair guests can take Uber to the Minnesota State Fair and get $15 off their first ride by entering code MNSTATEFAIR when signing up at https://get.uber.com/ (New Uber users only. Expires Sept. 18 at 11:55 p.m.) Fair guests get 30 percent off two Lyft rides, up to a $5 savings on each ride, by using code MNSTATEFAIR when signing up at www.lyft.com/signup (New Lyft users only. Valid Aug. 24 - Sept. 7, 2017).Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/taxi_uber_lyft.html for more information.

Guest Services & Information
The Great Minnesota Get-Together offers many free services and amenities for guests’ convenience, including: free trolley rides on the north end of the fairgrounds; information booths (sponsored by CenturyLink) stocked with free maps, daily schedules (sponsored by Minnesota Lottery), specialty brochures, Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guides (sponsored by Minnesota Rusco) and complimentary sunscreen (partnership of Vanicream Sunscreen, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Fair); a free Wi-Fi hotspot at the West Grandstand Plaza (sponsored by DragNFly Wireless) and First Aid Stations (sponsored by Regions Hospital) located on the east and west ends of the fairgrounds. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/brochure_rack.html to see the fair’s brochure rack to view daily schedules, specialty brochures and other information. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/visitor_guide/ to view the Minnesota State Fair’s Visitor Guide.

The free Minnesota State Fair App is a useful tool to use in navigating the Great Minnesota Get-Together. This app,  created just for Minnesota State Fair fans, uses the popular Food Finder, Merch & More Search and Fun Finder tools to help guests locate their favorites. The app is free and is available for download through iTunes or Google Play.

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