The Great Minnesota Get-Together is officially here! And as a self-proclaimed state fair fanatic and expert, I’m excited to inform you that this year’s extravaganza is going to be even bigger and tastier than ever before. Including icon Diana Ross hitting the Grandstand stage and some eats I can’t wait enjoy, here are 5 new attractions not to miss at this year’s Minnesota State Fair.
Each year, the list of fresh eats lands on our radar long before the annual 12-day extravaganza begins. The new vendor I’m most excited to have join the flavor conversation is chef Yia Vang’s Union Hmong Kitchen. The Twin Cities eatery will be crafting an array of sweet and savory options, including the dej qab zib, which I’ve been dreaming about for weeks. This coconut lychee colada is composed of coconut milk, lychee syrup, lime and mint. Served over ice, the alcohol-free and vegan-friendly treat will help make Union Hmong Kitchen a new state fair favorite.
One of the most iconic destinations at the Minnesota State Fair, the Agriculture Horticulture Building will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. The structure is home to a variety of competitions, demonstrations and displays celebrating the most breathtaking parts of annual crops and blooms from across the North Star state, including flowers, produce, bees and honey, beer, crop art, Christmas trees and much more. My favorite part? The annual scarecrow competition; I’m excited to see which bird-scarer wins the coveted blue ribbon.
Speaking of blue ribbons, the Minnesota State Fair Foundation is excited to launch its newest fundraising initiative, Blue Ribbon Bingo. Each bingo round includes five games and gives you the chance to win not only tickets to next year’s state fair but your very own handcrafted blue ribbon that will be the envy of your friends and family for the rest of time. Also, the Guinness World Records‘ largest ribbon rosette holder will be on display for photos, honoring the legacy of the fair’s most prolific blue ribbon baker, Marjorie Johnson.
The Grandstand has built a reputation as one of the ultimate Midwest stages to play. With previous lineups including the likes of Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and even the late, great Johnny Cash, it’s hard to imagine how this year’s roster could possibly top the list. Enter Diana Ross. Hailed as one of the greatest entertainers of all time, Ms. Ross will be gracing the Grandstand on September 3, giving second weekend fairgoers the opportunity to boogie down to some of the most recognizable and beloved songs to ever hit the airwaves. It will be a historical evening filled with sequins, dancing and an epic fireworks show.
Entering a competition is one of the greatest fair traditions (not to mention one of the most Minnesotan activities one could ever participate in). The Great Chocolate Cake Contest at the Creative Activities building is already being hyped as the hottest (and sweetest) new competition to hit the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The contest’s only requirement? That chocolate serves as the predominant ingredient and flavor in the cakes. Entries are allowed to be any size or type, including layer, sheet, tube, cupcake or even bite-sized. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see this year’s competitors bake up a storm.