We’re just a few days out from opening of the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. We realize that this year will present a different sort of get-together and a wide spectrum of attitudes about attending. If you’re choosing to wait for the 2022 Fair to return, we hope you’ll consult our GUIDE TO THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR when the time rolls around. A few of the events on this list will not be available this year (noted below) but again, we hope to see them represent in 2022. If you are choosing to head to the Fairgrounds with your family this year, we feel confident recommending this list of our favorite live Minnesota State Fair family entertainment options to enjoy together.
10 FAMILY-FRIENDLY LIVE ACTS AT THE MINNESOTA STATE FAIR
Family-friendly acts at Baldwin Park stage
Baldwin Park is a hub of entertainment for the grade school-and-under set. The Family Fair Stage hums all day, every day with magicians, break dancing, jugglers, and chances for kids to get up and dance. And, you patient parents, we near-guarantee adults will be entertained as well. The seating is shaded, a welcome relief after exploring all that Baldwin Park has to offer including the Alphabet Forest, Math-on-a-Stick exhibit, and the Great Big Sandbox. Find the complete stage schedule here. (2021 NOTE: The Great Big Sandbox will not be present this year. If your kids wish to go digging, try the Eco Experience’s Nature Play Area.)
History on a Schtick
History lessons can be amusing for kids and their families alike – as dramatized by the Minnesota Historical Society and their quirky show History on a Schtick. Performed twice daily through the run of the Fair (10 & 11am) at West End Market’s Schilling Amphitheater, the script is filled with Minnesota-centric singing, trivia and prizes.
Talent show finalists perform
In its 48th year, the Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest presents semifinals at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell each night of the Fair leading up to the final competition before Labor Day. Grab some dinner-on-a-stick and come watch these talented hopefuls perform at 6pm – and come early for a good seat. The winners in each age division will advance to the finals held Sunday, Sept 5, at the Grandstand (with FREE admission!).
Arts A’Fair performances
Popping up in two Fairgrounds locations — the plazas at the North End & at West End Market — the Arts A’Fair performers include street theater, dancing, drumming, storytelling and puppet shows. Plan ahead and find their schedules here.
4-H Arts-In shows
Talented 4-H kids from across the state work hard to learn an impressive musical theater performance in just one week. And not only do they memorize songs and dances, they help to write the script, make costumes and build the set. Take a break from the sun and catch the State Arts-In Shows in the relatively cooler 4-H Building; choose from 3 or 4 times daily by using checking the daily schedule.
Here comes the parade
Daily at 2pm, the State Fair Parade comes marching along its route from its start near the Haunted House. See competing high school marching bands, the Princess Kay float and other royalty, assorted stunt performers and more. Map the parade or pick out a good viewing spot here.
Stunt dogs & lumberjack feats
Death-defying dog acts or axe-wielding lumberjacks your thing? Both are fun to cheer along with and there’s a lot of all-ages appeal here (though a bit of a warning, the volume level might be too much for the very youngest). Shows by the All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash and the Timberworks Lumberjack Show are performed daily in the North Woods area of the Fairgrounds.
Live entertainment we hope will return for the 2022 Minnesota State Fair
YOU and your family get to provide the entertainment at this giant karaoke gathering on the northern end of the Fairgrounds. Lyrics to 50 crowd-sourced popular songs are displayed on a jumbo screen and there’s a field of microphones set up to belt them out. Get the Giant Sing-Along playlist here.
Skateboard & BMX bike tricks
Coax the teens and tweens into spending some time with you at the Fair with promises of these wheel-y cool shows at the 3rd Lair Skate Park. Located in Adventure Park. skills are shown off five times daily.
Laser Encore’s Laser Hitz Show
Perhaps you’re one of those who can pack in a day at the Fair and still be standing (awake) at 9:15pm. Or you enjoy coming out to the Fair in the latter part of the day for the evening entertainment. Either way, seek out the Laser Hitz show — colorful dancing beams set to popular tunes — nightly near the Fine Arts Center.
MORE STATE FAIR PLANNING TIPS
The Minnesota State Fair makes it easier than ever these days with a number of planning resources available to visiting families. If you’re like me, and find having a good plan helps maximize the fun and minimize the stress of a visit with kids, keep these tools in mind:
- Download the official Minnesota State Fair App free on iTunes or Google Play to easily access the Daily Schedules, Food Finder and Merch & More search tools. Create a personal itinerary from hundreds of activities for your family, your group or just for yourself. Save and/or print out your schedule and bring it along to the get-together. Google Maps is also integrated on the app to help you make your way around the Fairgrounds. Or you can visit the Fair’s mobile website at m.mnstatefair.org.
- Daily schedules and brochures are always available at the many information booths scattered around the Fairgrounds.
- We’ve pulled together a list of family safety tips to keep in mind when you’re at an event as large-scale as the State Fair.
- Do you thrive on checklists? Take our list of 50 Things To Do For Families at the Minnesota State Fair when you head out to the great get-together.