The Minnesota State Fair has announced a laundry list of new upcoming attractions for this year’s event and they’ve definitely got some doozies. Fair goers this year can expect to see a wide variety of new additions that range from new vendors, new rides, and new events.
At the top of the list, this year the Minnesota State Fair will host the Great Big Wheel, which boasts itself to be the tallest traveling Ferris wheel in North America. The giant Ferris wheel gently lifts riders 15 stories high making for some pretty spectacular views of the State Fairgrounds and surrounding areas. The 156-foot-tall Great Big Wheel features 36 enclosed gondolas with each having the ability to carry up to six people at a time and a spectacular lighting display illuminated by half a million LED lights. The Great Big Wheel will run from 9am-11pm and cost riders $5 per ticket.
The new Veranda is a new shop-eat-sip destination on the west side of the Grandstand’s upper-level merchandise and shopping area. It will feature boutique-style shopping with nearly 20 vendors showcases vintage, trendy, upcycled, handmade and made-in-Minnesota goods.
Also new this year is The Great Minnesota Knit Together. Minnesota’s largest yarnbomb – a form of street art featuring crocheted, knitted and other crafted yarn creations – will blanket topiaries on the Grandstand Ramp. Clever, whimsical and colorful, the photo-worthy vignettes are the handiwork of Knitteapolis, Midwest Machine Knitters’ Collaborative, Minnesota Knitters’ Guild, Crochet Twin Cities, and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities, along with crafters from throughout Minnesota and across the country who sent us dozens of pieces to be added to the community yarnbomb. If you’re into following along online, use #TheGreatMNKnitTogether to keep a closer eye on what’s going down.
Hockey fans are in for a treat this year with the NHL® Centennial Fan Arena. The arena is designed to honor 100 years of unforgettable NHL moments and extraordinary players and teams with videos, memorabilia, a virtual reality Zamboni® experience, special guests, and an appearance by the revered Stanley Cup®. The NHL® Centennial Fan Arena will run from Sept. 1-4, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m and the Stanley Cup® will be available for viewing on Sept. 1-2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Thursday, Aug. 24 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Evine, Minnesota’s own entertainment video retailer (evine.com), will be broadcasting live from the State Fair into more than 87 million homes with celebrity guests Paula Deen and John O’Hurley. Pull up a bleacher seat at the virtual studio as Paula whips up a dish in the kitchen and John, the puppy whisperer, demonstrates tricks for pet parents. Stay for meet and greets, a chance to play on-air host and other fun activities! “Paula Deen’s Kitchen” live broadcast will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m with a meet and greet to follow from 2-3 p.m. The “Pet Shoppe with John O’Hurley” live broadcast will run from 2-3 pm, with his meet and greet going from 11 a.m. to noon.
On August 29th, starting at 6pm, the Evening with Equine event will feature a variety of equestrian events for all of you horse lovers out there. The Northern Lake Vaulters will be displaying the art of equestrian vaulting, a combination of dance and gymnastics on the back of a moving horse. We Can Ride will demonstrate how therapeutic riding, hippotherapy, and equine-assisted learning can impact the lives of children and adults with disabilities or special needs and the Windy Ridge Riders Drill Team will perform a precision drill exercise requiring teamwork, timing, steady spacing, speed control and good horsemanship.
For all of you people that can’t get enough of dressing up animals, on August 27th at 11am, you can watch the Dress a Sheep contest! Creativity, hustle and a bit of moxie combine in this brand-new contest at the State Fair. Teams of up to four people (in complementary costumes) have 10 minutes to outfit their willing and wooly comrade in a clever costume. Dressed to impress, the teams parade around the show ring hoping to win over both the audience and the judges.
The Agriculture and Horticulture buildings will also be hosting a few new attractions this year. The Ask the Cider Maker event will have experts from the Minnesota Cider Guild answer questions about making cider from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily (except Aug. 24) at the Cider Display in the Apple Booth. The Hands-On Ag Literacy event will feature fast, fun make-and-take activities at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture exhibit presented by Minnesota Agriculture in the Classroom. This will run from 1-3 p.m. Aug. 24 & 31 (livestock animal ear tags); Aug. 26 & Sept. 2 (living necklaces); Aug. 28 (pollinator feeders). The Beekeeper’s Corner will feature 15-minute mini-classes on beekeeping topics such as honey bee behavior, hive management, beekeeping equipment and more. Class times are at 3:00, 3:15, 3:30, 3:45 p.m. daily at the Bee & Honey exhibit.
That’s a whole lot of new going on at the fair, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are all kinds of other daily events and activities going on too. If you’re interested in the full rundown of all the new events and exhibits, check out the Minnesota State Fair website.