Tag - MInnesota State Fair

Twin Cities August Family Events & Activities Guide
Summer Farm Fun in the Twin Cities
FFTC’s Ultimate Summer Events Guide in the Twin Cities
Hang Out With the Vulcans at Snow Park at the Fair
2015 Minnesota State Fair: Featuring FFTC’s Fair Favorites–the Dairy Building, Eco Experience, Alphabet Forest
10 Ideas for Free or Cheap Family Fun in August
State Fair: Alphabet Forest
Cooking State Fair Food At Home
State Fair: Getting in for Free or for a Reduced Rate

Twin Cities August Family Events & Activities Guide

Twin Cities August Guide

It is our hope that you can use our August Family Events & Activities Guide page as a convenient way to find our traditional Free & Budget lists along with all the special themed activities each month brings. In August we are highlighting one of our absolute favorite events, the Minnesota State Fair, as well as reminding you of all the festivals and outdoor entertainment left to enjoy before summer’s last gasp.  As always, we hope to be inspiration in planning your family time together!

– Anne, Gianna & Joy
Family Fun Twin Cities

This guide is brought to you by Wheel Fun Rentals.For over 25 years, Wheel Fun Rentals has offered ways for riders of all ages to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. With seven Minnesota locations, choose from a complete lineup of recreational vehicles like Surreys, specialty cycles, two-wheeled bikes, watercraft and more. Selection may vary; please visit our website for current availability. Read More

Summer Farm Fun in the Twin Cities

Gale Woods Farm Collage

The FFTC Team’s city kids love the opportunity to visit farms not much further than their urban backyards! Browse the favorites below for ideas on where your own little ones can get up close to animals, play at farm chores, pick their own produce, and learn through living history activities: Read More

FFTC’s Ultimate Summer Events Guide in the Twin Cities

Everything you need to know about family fun this summer is in the Ultimate Summer Guide to the Twin Cities.

Family Fun Twin Cities' Ultimate Summer Guide

Wheel Fun RentalsThis guide is brought to you by Wheel Fun Rentals.

For over 25 years, Wheel Fun Rentals has offered ways for riders of all ages to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. With seven Minnesota locations, choose from a complete lineup of recreational vehicles like Surreys, specialty cycles, two-wheeled bikes, watercraft and more. Selection may vary; please visit our website for current availability.


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Hang Out With the Vulcans at Snow Park at the Fair

Despite the bone-chilling temps the last couple years, I took the kids out to the Winter Carnival Snow Park at the Fair to change their minds about the St. Paul Vulcans. See, the little ones had always been wary of that wailing fire truck. Not to mention the red-cloaked men who once tried to ambush their mother at a parade in order to paint a huge black V on her cheek. I was willing to forgive and forget because the Krewe are the ones responsible for reviving the Minnesota State Snow Sculpting Competition and organizing a super fun Snow Park at the Fair around it.
Here's how the St. Paul Vulcans managed to win the hearts of my three girls

Here’s how the St. Paul Vulcans managed to win the hearts of my three girls (and why we’ll be back at the Vulcan Fun Day this Sunday): Read More

2015 Minnesota State Fair: Featuring FFTC’s Fair Favorites–the Dairy Building, Eco Experience, Alphabet Forest

MN State Fair 14



As our State Fair Second-in-Command, I wanted to make sure to feature FFTC’s fair favorites.  I like to plan out my day to the fair and if you are like me, you will find the fair more enjoyable if you have a rough sketch of the day.  So pick one or two of these wonderful attractions and linger there.  You will be glad you did.

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10 Ideas for Free or Cheap Family Fun in August

Don’t look at these 10 ideas as an end-of-summer bucket list — because personally, I’m not ready to look fall in the face — but take these suggestions as a reminder that there is plenty of the season left to enjoy! Here’s what August has in store for the Twin Cities:

tm dye garden

textile center

Dye Garden Family Art Day @ Textile Center, 3000 University Avenue SE #100, Minneapolis, 55414

When: Saturday, Aug. 1 • 10am-1pm
Cost: Free
Details: The whole family is welcome to come play in the Textile Center’s natural plant dye garden, create a macrame plant hanger and bring a miniature garden home. Refreshments will be provided.

NNO15_logo[1]National Night Out Twin Cities

When: Tuesday, Aug. 4 • times vary
Details: Community gatherings across the Twin Cities encourage you to get out, spend the evening with your neighbors and promote safe neighborhoods. Minneapolis has an extensive list of registered block parties (complete with proposed activities) here, organized by neighborhoods. St. Paul’s list can be found here. Even if you don’t plan to leave your own ‘hood for the evening, ideas for your own bash abound on these lists.

Beach Party @ Bryant Lake Regional Park, 6800 Rowland Rd, Eden Prairie, 55344

When: Wednesday, Aug. 5 • 12-3pm
Cost: $5/pp
Details: Ride a waterslide, try an obstacle course, make a craft, and play games. Meet pond critters, birds of prey, and reptiles. Build a sand castle and win a cool treat.

Groovin Web Promo[1]FINAL Groovin’ in the Garden @ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, 1225 Estabrook Dr, St. Paul, 55103

When: Wednesday, Aug. 5 • 6-8pm
Cost: Free
Details: Catch the final Groovin’ in the Garden performance (local band “i like you.”) and, depending on the ages of your kids, they might let you sit and enjoy while being entertained by the free Park & Rec equipment: a jump castle, giant climbing wall, and lawn games. If not, at least you can hear the music while the kids exhaust themselves. Bring a blanket and picnic or purchase food onsite.

Pet Expo @ Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, 6666 East River Rd, Fridley, 55432

When: Saturday, Aug. 8 • 1-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Bring along your pet and spend the afternoon on an animal scavenger hunt in the galleries, mugging in the photo booth, browsing vendors, and creating a pet rock to take home. Currently on exhibition in the historic Banfill-Locke house is Pets On View.


banfill-locke center for the arts


Dakota County Fair & Heritage Village @ Dakota County Fairgrounds, 4008 220th St W, Farmington, 55024

When: Aug. 10-16, 2015
Cost: $5/adults, $2/kids 6-12, $2/seniors, 5 & under free; $5/daily parking
Details: Heritage Village comes to life as it was a century ago during the run of the Dakota County Fair. Costumed characters interpret rural life as you visit the village buildings and take in demonstrations. Admission to Heritage Village is included in your ticket to the Fair, which also hosts many free activities, exhibits, and live entertainment.

tm exploratots (2)

exploratots @ crosby farm regional park

ExploraTots @ Crosby Farm Regional Park2595 Crosby Farm Road, St. Paul, 55116

When: Wednesday, Aug. 12 • 10-11:30am
Cost: Free
Details: Connect to the natural world with your preschooler (designed for ages 2-5) through hikes, stories, and hands-on activities. Older children are welcome to attend; no pre-registration required. Enter the park at the Gannon Road entrance and meet at the picnic pavilion. The ExploraTots program meets on the second Wednesday of each month. For more free and low-cost environmental education programs in St. Paul, click here.

10 Ideas for Free Family Fun at the Great Minnesota Get-Together

The Minnesota State Fair does not exactly scream “free” or “cheap”, you say? It’s true that costs can quickly add up between admission, treats and carnival rides, but for many families (mine included) a trip or few to the Fair is a summer must-do. We’ve included this list of 10 free attractions included in Fair admission to give you an idea of all the budget-friendly fun that is to be had. (Note: this is 2014’s list, but all attractions are scheduled to return for 2015.)

10 More Ideas for FREE Family Fun at the State Fair

The Fair has so much free fun to offer we felt it warranted a second mention on our August list!

10 MORE Twin Cities Beaches, Playgrounds & Attractions to Try This Summer

Don’t mourn the end of summer just yet, there’s still time and sun enough to hit the local beaches. Following up on our original list of 10 Twin Cities Beaches & Playgrounds to Try This Summer we present 10 MORE Twin Cities Beaches, Playgrounds & Attractions to Try This Summer.


State Fair: Alphabet Forest

Congratulations to Shanda for winning The Fabulous Fair Alphabet.  Congratulations to Chelsey for winning On the Day You Were Born.   Look for details in your email!

Giveaway is now closed!  Thanks to our wonderful readers for participating!!!   

This is an absolute must see attraction! Laidback and fun, the Alphabet Forest is perfect fun for the whole family!

And Debra Frasier–local author and creator of the Alphabet Forest–has offered two books to giveaway.  One lucky reader will receive Fabulous Fair Alphabet (to get you ready for your big fair adventure), and one will win On the Day You Were Born. Keep reading for more details.

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Cooking State Fair Food At Home

We are trying to eat healthier, more sustainably and with more social awareness.  This article really isn’t about that.

It doesn’t matter how you dress up deep fried foods, they are a treat.  The State Fair is a treat.  That said, I did start with a healthified corn dog recipe from Out of the Box.  Then we dialed back the healthy to fit our budget and time constraints.  If you care at all about making a healthier recipe, I would start with their recipe.

We only had time to go to one grocery store, and we chose Aldi.  Aldi’s cornflour is wholegrain and all natural; but that’s pretty much where we stopped with the healthified ingredients.  I believe Aldi does have some turkey franks, but we chose to go with the all beef hot dogs.  All these things can be modified to fit your family’s personal tastes and your own shopping preferences.   Overall we found this recipe to be much easier than we expected and way better than any corn dog we ever ate.

As long as we had the oil heated up, we also made deep fried cheese sticks — using the same batter we made for the corn dogs and deep fried Oreos (actually the Aldi knock-off) — using just-add-water boxed pancake mix.  This entire meal was delicious, not particularly nutritious and will probably suffice for deep fried foods until well into the football season.

This is our modified recipes with pictures.


  •  One Package of Hot Dogs stuck through with chopsticks.
  • 1 1/4 C corn meal
  • 3/4 C flour
  •  1 1/2 tsp baking powder 
  •  1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs
  •  3/4 C milk
  • Enough Oil to fill big wok halfway 

The recipe we followed had suggested mixing the batter by shaking it in a jar and then dipping the hotdogs into it.  This did not work at all.  We ended up dumping it into a shallow bowland “painting” the batter on with a spatula.  I’d suggest skipping the jar and just mix it in a mixing bowl. Our 8-year-old did the mixing with supervision and dipped and painted her own dog.

It is really important to make sure the chopstick goes at least three-quarters of the way through the hotdog.  Otherwise it will be too floppy and maybe fall off.

Hot Dog

While we were prepping the dogs, we heated oil in our wok.  This is the point at which we realized our new kitchen thermometers don’t have temperature marks on them (only “rare”, “medium” and “well done”).  So we just waited the oil sizzled when we flicked water on it.  If you have kitchen thermometers that are actually useful, heat the oil to 375ish.  When the oil is ready, set the corn dogs in the oil.  Cook until they are golden brown.

Because of the nice, long chopsticks, we let the 8-year-old put her own hot dog in the oil with a warning that she needed to do it slowly and then back away so she didn’t get splattered.


This is what the corn dogs looked like when they were done.  We all thought these were the best corn dogs we ever had.  We think we’ll make them again sometime during football season.

Corn Dog

After we made all the corn dogs, we used the remainder of the batter to coat cheese sticks.  These were also deep fried in the wok — using a plastic slotted spoon to set them in and pull them out.  Again we fried these until they were golden brown.  We did not let our kids help with any portion of the cheese.  It was too messy and dangerous.


(This meal is embarrassingly unhealthy.  I really wish I could tell you we had a salad or some sort of veggie with this, but I don’t want to lie.)  After we deep fried our dinner of hotdogs and cheese we made deep-fried Oreos.  There is no real recipe to this.  We mixed up one cup of just-add-water pancake mix with the appropriate amount of water, dipped the Oreos and fried them.  Once again, the eight-year-old did the mixing with supervision, but we did not let her help with putting them in or out of the oil.  These were to die for; but we were pretty deep-fried out by the end of this process, so the majority of the cookies went out to the DJs working in our studio.


Overall, I never want to eat this much deep-fried food in one sitting again.  If you are concerned about overspending at the Fair, this could be a good tactic.  Make these foods a day before you go; and you’ll be seeking out the healthy food at the fair for sure.


**Slider image image courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

State Fair: Getting in for Free or for a Reduced Rate

image courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

image courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair

It’s August and we all know what event is just around the corner, don’t we?

The Minnesota State Fair is coming August 22-September 2, 2013.  Many of us think it’s time to plunge into our savings account and get ready to come home broke.    Because for an entrance fee at $12 per an adult ticket and $10 per child, it can be  pricey to admit your family for one day, not to mention 2 or more.

But I have discovered some great ways to get in free.  Instead of costing you money, it will cost you some time, but I think you will find it worth it.





2013 farmVolunteer for a shift at one of the exhibits or attractions.

In return for a 3 or 4 hour shift, you are able to put your time in and then enjoy the rest of the day at the fair.  I would recommend volunteering as early in the day as you can, especially if you bring your kids with you.  At some of the exhibits, your kids can help out, too.  No joke!  What a fun service type of project for the whole family.  When I volunteer at the State Fair, I have the best time.

Some potentials you could check into are included on this list.  I would double check what age you need to be to volunteer:  Some may be age 5 and others may be age 12.

If you know of another volunteer opportunity, please let us know!

2013 familyRamsey County Library Bookawocky Children’s Reading Program

The Ramsey County Library Bookawocky Program  partnered with the Minnesota State Fair and one of the prizes of completing the reading program for ages 5-11 is a ticket to the State Fair.  The program goes until August 18.  All they have to do is read four books, and fill out a form explaining about the book’s plot and what you liked best.  Or if you are more artistically minded like my kids, you can draw a picture.  It’s just four books.  You can still totally get this done.  Even if you are like me and my son, Dash.

“Okay, Bud, we are going to read 4 books, and then I want you to draw pictures about the books, okay?”

“But I don’t want to draw pictures, Mom!”

“Well, if you want to go to the State Fair, you will.”

Yes, I threatened Dash to read.  I did. I don’t normally have to do that. Honestly, my son loves to read with me.  He cries when he can’t, but he doesn’t like to do hard work and  isn’t fond of drawing pictures.

image courtesy of the MN State Fair

image courtesy of the MN State Fair

Early Bird Discount

Get early bird tickets at the State Fair Box Office or at any Cub Foods Service Desk until August 21, 2013  or online until August 15 for $9.  These tickets are only available while supplies last.







image courtesy of the MN State Fair

image courtesy of the MN State Fair

Special Discount Days

According to the Minnesota State Fair Website, even if you miss all the good deals before the fair, you still have lots of chances to reclaim some cash during the fair.

This is what I’ve found, but we need your input!  Do you have August 22-September 2, 2013 on your calendars?  Do you know of a way to save some money getting into the State Fair?

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