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Last Of The Summer Festivals In Minnesota

By Amy Rea

This is just the tip of the iceberg for festivals and events in Minnesota in August. I've avoided the more routine festivals, Crazy Days, and city parties. You can find more information about those over at Explore Minnesota. What follows is a list of the more unique possibilities this month. If there's something I've missed, please let me know. And don't forget to check out the events page at the Minnesota Historical Society—there's always something fun going on over there.

Detroit Lakes
We Fest
Aug. 3-5
Huge country music festival, this year featuring Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, and the Zac Brown Band, among others.

Twin Cities
Minnesota Fringe Festival
Aug. 3-13
Original, independent artists and performers giving it all they've got during this non-juried 11-day festival.

Red Wing
River City Days
Aug. 4-6
Red Wing's annual celebration of summer, with an antique wooden boat show, human foosball tournament, medallion hunt, pancake flipping contest, arts and crafts show, and of course plenty of food.

Metris Uptown Art Fair
Aug. 4-6

Powderhorn Art Fair
Aug. 5-6

One weekend, two big art festivals. Bring your wallet and your patience—the crowds can be heavy, especially if the weather is nice. Take advantage of Metro Transit's ArtPass, a free service connecting the two events on Saturday and Sunday:

Bayfront Blues Festival
Aug. 11-13
Annual blues festival in a lovely location. This year's performers include Robert Randolph and the Family Band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and Lucky Peterson and the Imperial Flames.

St. Paul
Irish Fair
Aug. 11-13
Held on Harriet Island, Irish Fair celebrates the city's Irish heritage with music, entertainment, dance, family activities, and of course food. 

Twin Cities Polish Festival
Aug. 11-13
All things Polish, old and new: polka and European disco, food, Chopin concerts, baking contest, and a Polish film fest.

Leech Lake Regatta
Aug. 11-14
Multiclass sailboat races for sailors of all skill levels.

Minnesota Garlic Festival
Aug. 12
Kite flying and making, entertainment, old-fashioned children's activities, the Peculiar Pragmatic Promenade, and all things garlic. Did you know that there are over 100 varieties of garlic grown here in Minnesota? It's pretty much guaranteed that vampires will not be present. 

Spelmansstamma Music Festival
Aug. 19
This traditional Swedish immigrant fiddle fest includes smorgasbord, traditional Swedish music and dancing, and children's activities.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Aug. 19-Oct. 1, weekends, Labor Day, and Sept. 39
Come lords and ladies! Followers of Sir Puke and Sir Snot! Lovers of turkey legs! Costumes, food, entertainment of the Renaissance style, at least by today's standards. Come early, or you'll be parking in South Dakota.

St. Paul
Minnesota State Fair
Aug. 24-Sept. 4
The granddaddy of Minnesota festivals. Go for the cheese curds, try one of the many new foods, stay for the rides, the animals being born, the crafts and arts exhibits, Machinery Hill, the stage shows, the cheesy giveaways, and of course, the food on a stick. Not to mention the cheese curds. 

Potato Days
Aug. 25-26
Three words: mashed potato wrestling. I'm SO there. Plus lots of lefse.

Norwood Young America
Aug. 25-27
Minnesota's oldest festival, held annually for 156 years. Activities, arts and crafts, softball tournaments, bingo, and of course food. 

What else is happening in our state? Be sure to check out the 10 p.m. Sunday night WCCO newscasts, where you can learn more in the weekly segment, Finding Minnesota.


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