Featured Photo by Minnesota State Fair
Southern Minnesota Fairs And Festivals Near The Minnesota River Valley
Minnesota summers are best spent in the outdoors on a lake or exploring the many state parks and amazing natural areas the state has to offer. But another exciting summer pastime is going to the annual fairs, festivals, and events. If you don’t know where to start, a great place to check out this summer is southern Minnesota near the Minnesota River Valley. With the perfect mix of culture, heritage, and tradition plus food, beverages, and exciting attractions there are festing opportunities for everyone in these Minnesota communities.
Photo by Bavarian Blast
1. Bavarian Blast (New Ulm)
New Ulm is a Minnesotan community with a strong German heritage and from that heritage comes the annual summertime event, Bavarian Blast. For those who enjoy live music and entertainment, Bavarian Blast is perfect with one of the main attractions being four days of German-style bands and old time rock and country music. The festival also features plenty of food and drink options, craft shows, souvenir sales, kids’ events, a fun run, and the Bavarian Blast Parade on the final day. Some of the events nod to German heritage as well, such as the Stein holding contest, sauerkraut eating competition, and barrel rolling. Additionally, for kids sixteen and under admission to the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday events is free, making it a relatively inexpensive outing for the family. Don’t forget your lederhosen if you have them, as it is common for festival goers to dress up for the occasion.
Photo by Uptown Food Truck Festival
This annual festival is a food lover’s paradise, showcasing all styles of food from mini donuts to locally grown pork to green papaya salad. Here you can sample food truck delicacies from over 50 different food trucks; there are even treats for your dog. Along with the food, there are games like life-size Jenga and bean bag toss, fashion and clothing trucks, a mobile escape room, shoe shines and haircuts, henna tattoo artists, a psychic tarot reader, and live music from local artists. The best part is admission to the event is completely free, so you’ll have more money to put towards supporting the local food truck businesses. The St. Paul Food Truck Festival is an easy way to support the St. Paul communities while being rewarded with a day filled with great food and fun with friends and family.
Photo by Minnesota State Fair
If you’ve never been to the Minnesota State Fair, or even if you have, you should make plans to visit this summertime staple event this year. Twelve days of fried fair foods like deep fried pickles on a stick and the fan favorite Sweet Martha’s Cookies, various beverages including unique Minnesota craft beers and wines, fair rides and games, livestock competitions and shows, and many more exciting events are hard to beat, especially when each year brings new vendors, food booths and options. You can count on over 500 food items, 900 free entertainment shows, 1,000 vendors, and fireworks each evening of the fair. The Great Minnesota Get-Together, as the event is nicknamed, is one of the biggest state fairs in the US, drawing 2 million guests annually and you can partake in the fun this year between August 26th and September 6th to end your summer on a great note.
Photo by Montgomery Area Community Club
4. Kolacky Days (Montgomery)
Kolacky Days are a four day celebration of Montgomery’s Czechoslovakian heritage and culture with special events and festivities. The festival mixes Czech traditions with modern festival events including Czech dancing, a Bohemian tractor pull, a car show, authentic Kroj costumes, the US National Prune Spitting Championships, and much more. The celebration kicks off on a Thursday night with a Czech art show and an outdoor movie and ends on a Sunday evening with a kolacky eating contest and raffle drawing with plenty of fun, food, and excitement in between. You can enjoy the Pivo (beer) Garden and food stands, participate in sports events, watch demonstrations and live music, all while learning and appreciating the heritage of the Montgomery area.