The fair can be expensive but you can still do and see some really wonderful things for free or cheap.
Here are a few of my FREE picks:
I love the DNR building. I can spend a good bit of time watching all the fish in the pond and in the new indoor fish exhibit. I hear there is a huge sturgeon in there this year.
You can also get a free lake map from the DNR. In the past, they have had someone outside at a little store selling fishing licenses but they will also give you a copy of a lake map if you know the name of the lake and the county it is in. Yes, there are 30 Long Lakes in Minnesota.
Head over to the Eco Experience building, they have many free demonstrations each day. I am interested in many of the topics such as vertical gardening, rain barrels, eco fashion, straw bale gardening, healthy local foods cooking demonstrations, and chickens in the city. I mean where else can you learn how to become an urban chicken farmer?
You can look at the full schedule at the Eco Experience HERE.
Minnesota Public Radio broadcasts from the fair and many times they have performances from musical artists that are performing later that night. P.O.S. will be at the MPR booth on August 29th at 4PM and the pre-show music-on-a-stick is from 3-5PM on August 30th.
See the full schedule at the MPR booth HERE.
There is free entertainment on many different stages at all times of the day. I think this is one of the best benefits of coming to the Fair.
Here are my picks:
Hanson– Known for their hit from the 90’s MMMBop, they are making a come back. August 26-27 at 8:30PM.
Jared Sherlock– Great for families, Jared is a magician who will surprise and amaze you. September 1-2 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The Okee Dokee Brothers– Great for families, these Grammy award winners are fun and know how to get your children dancing. August 24-25 at 10:30AM , 11:30AM , and 3:00PM.
The full schedule is available HERE.
Always do the free park and ride or bike to the fair. It is way less hassle then trying to park at the fair.
If you volunteer at the fair usually you get in for free. If you have some extra time and know of a place where you want to volunteer, it is a great way to do something good and get in free.
You can listen to people sing “Call Me Maybe” at The Giant Sing Along for free or even sing along yourself. If you are into that kind of thing.
Not sure where this is at the fair, but the Boy Scouts have a climbing area for kids and it is free.
It is free to walk through the Fine Arts building. You will get to see art from local artists and the building is air conditioned.
If you are looking for free swag, don’t miss the Education Building where most of the colleges give away something such as the purple St. Thomas bag. All of the news stations and construction type companies give away stuff at certain times during the day. Stop by early on to see when you get in line for free stuff. KARE 11 is giving away blue sun glasses, Home Depot usually does make it and take it crafts, and Menards has nail aprons.
I also suspect the health fair will be giving away pretty neat stuff this year since MNSure is launching and Healthcare Reform is underway.
Gopher State One Call is giving away free bright colored yardsticks if you promise that you will call before you dig. They are located across from the Giant Slide. Give it to your favorite teacher as a beginning of the school year gift.
You can see a list of all the free items on this deal list HERE.
Here is a list of cheap items at the Fair:
Get an Apple Cider Freeze in the Ag/Hort building, they are only $1 and made from cider from the Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake.
Also in the Ag/Hort building you can get a Honey Stick from Mademoiselle Miel for only 50 cents. They have a smoked scotch version that I have to try. Plus, the money goes to benefit the University of Minnesota Bee Lab.
All you can drink milk for $1 is always a favorite of mine. I can taste the freshness of the milk and it actually is quite refreshing.
Because many of the best things in life are free
What is your favorite free thing to do at the fair?
1. People Watching.
Where do all these people reside when the Fair is not going on?
2. Trying all of the new foods.
Okay, maybe not all of them. The one that caught my eye was the new candied bacon cannoli from Ole’s Cannoli.
3. Free Hanson concert (or any of the free concerts).
My middle school self is thrilled. Mmmm Bop. You can watch Hanson for free at the Bandshell on August 26th and 27th at 8:20PM. I heard their new single is pretty good. I am sensing a come-back.
4. Visit the new attractions.
You can ice skate in August at the D1 Backyard Rink near the Fine Arts Building. Go to the Luminarium Exxopolis, whatever the heck that is…
5. Seed Art.
Art made from seeds, it can not be missed in the AG & HORT building.
6. The Fine Arts Building.
This building houses great work from local artists. I always love to walk around and see amazing work that people have created.
Meow. Wednesday, August 28 at 7:00PM. Tickets are $10. I went last year to the one at the Walker Art Center and it was purrfect.
8. All you can drink milk & Martha’s cookies.
If you haven’t figured out how to do this yet it is pretty easy. First, buy a bucket of Martha’s to share. Next, walk over to the all you can drink milk booth and buy a cup. Then, eat cookies with ice cold milk. Enjoy!
When will they put the booths next to each other?
I want to see the rabbits in the poultry barn. Why? because they are cute and fluffy.
10. Eat all of your favorite foods.
Get the staples: Corn Dog, Pronto Pup, Cheese On a Stick, Deep Fried Candy Bar, Luigi Fries, Cheese Curds, and Mini Doughnuts.
Have any questions about the fair? I am somewhat of an expert, so ask away.
My post from the 2012 Minnesota State Fair: HERE
because “Our state fair is a great state fair, don’t miss it don’t even be late. It’s dollars to donuts that our state fair is the best state fair in our state.”
What do you look forward to at the MN State Fair?
This Sunday, July 14 is Sister Cities Day in Minneapolis. It is a day to celebrate the connections Minneapolis has with cities all around the world. This Aquatennial event at Nicollet Island Pavilion goes from 1-5PM and there will be music and make your own ice cream sundaes while they last.
- Santiago, Chile
- Kuopio, Finland
- Ibaraki City, Japan
- Novosibirsk, Russia
- Tours, France
- Harbin, China
- Uppsala, Sweden
- Eldoret, Kenya
- Cuernavaca, Mexico
- Najaf, Iraq
There will be entertainment and activities for the entire family including performances by Ballet Folkorico Mexico Azteca, Finn Hall, a Traditional Japanese dance group from Ibaraki City, and many others.
Sister Cities International was started by President Dwight Eisenhower to foster mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation between one individual, one community at a time. It focuses on creating and strengthening partnerships between communities.
because learning about other cultures can happen here at home
On Sunday, many people participated in the Twin Cities Pride Parade and celebrated the passage of same-sex marriage in Minnesota including Chris Kluwe, Mayor R.T. Rybak, Representative Karen Clark, Council Member Diane Hofstede, MyTalk 107’s Alexis Thompson, and many local residents.
Because sometimes you just need to wear a rainbow tutu
This Thursday night is the perfect night to go out to eat. Each year over 180 restaurants in Minnesota participate in Dining Out For Life, this year it is on Thursday, April 25th. A percentage of proceeds from participating restaurants go to the Aliveness Project and RAAN that provide support for those living with HIV/AIDS.
It just makes sense to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner out on Thursday. Not only do you get to eat great food, but you get to give as well.
Visit the website to see which restaurants are participating and at what level: HERE
Here are a few restaurants that I suggest that you should visit this Thursday:
- The Saloon – 100% of both Lunch and Dinner will be donated. Located in downtown Minneapolis, The Saloon is known for its billboard of gorgeous men.
- Rustica Bakery– 40% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Rustica is one of my favorite spots in Uptown. You can check out my recent review HERE.
- Acqua– 35% of dinner. This is one of my favorite hidden gems. Acqua just opened a new restaurant in Forest Lake. Read my review HERE. See photo above.
- Blackbird Cafe– 35% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- George and The Dragon– 35% of lunch and dinner.
- Hazels Northeast– 35% of breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Herkimer– 35% of dinner. This brew-pub in Uptown is a great place to get together with groups. Good options for all types of eaters. Get together a group of friends and head out there on Thursday night.
- Moto-i – 35% of dinner. A sleek Uptown hotspot with a great variety of items on the menu. Try the ramen or the bibimbap Hopefully, the weather will be nice enough that people will get to enjoy the patio.
- Republic– 35% of lunch and dinner. I have been meaning to try this place.
- Spill the Wine– 35% of lunch and dinner. Now in a new location, this is one of my favorite places to go on a date.
If you are in Duluth, Sir Ben’s is giving 35% of both lunch and dinner.
I would highly suggest that you make a reservation at participating restaurants since it can get very busy!
because giving back is easy and delicious
This past Saturday I attended the HAMMS event at the old HAMMS Brewery Shipping docks in Saint Paul. It was a really fun time and I was able to buy a few items that I have been pining over including Dessa lipstick from the Elixery.
What made this event fun was that you actually could speak with the business owners and learn more about why they do what they do. Plus, it was dog friendly!
The event lived up to the title Help A Minnesota Maker Succeed. The event planners reached their goal to be able to give one vendor $5,000 to use to expand their business.
I shopped until I dropped on Saturday. The first item I bought was a glass water bottle from Moss Envy in pink. Moss Envy is now going to be my go-to place for gifts. They have many practical and usable items that people would love to get for a special event such as a birthday or wedding.
Moss Envy has a retail store near the Whole Foods in Uptown. If you mention my blog (mlsgossipgirl) and the HAMMS event Ryan the co-owner extended an offer of $5 off your $25 purchase.
The market baskets from Jeanne Beatrice were a hit. I received many compliments when I was walking around the event with my new La Vie Henna.
Jeanne Beatrice bags are the perfect summer market accessory. I cannot wait to bring mine to the Minneapolis Farmers Market once it warms up.
I loved these arm warmers from Float many of them are made with cashmere. They are a great item to keep in your purse for when you get cold. Plus, they come in many vibrant colors.
I was surprised by these game day lip tattoos from Violent Lips. I know some hardcore Vikings fans that would sport them proudly at each game.
These hilarious cards from Bruno Press had me laughing. They are the perfect cards for someone you know well enough that you can say offensive things in front of them.
These map necklaces from Larissa Loden are a great way to remember a special trip or a place that you lived.
I wish I was decorating something right now. I loved everything that Oh Dier had at this event. They had the cutest chalk boards for your cabin and blocks for a new baby.
Yum! Not only was there great shopping at the HAMMS event there was great food. Gastro truck had a large menu of delicious items to choose from and I couldn’t choose just one.
The first item I tried was a Beef Brisket sandwich. It was flavorful and I loved the aioli on top.
The best part of the lamb burger was the choice of all the homemade condiments that I could choose from. Pickled red onion and ketchup topped my lamb burger along with the feta and olive spread.
Hopefully, the HAMMS event is an event that is continued in the future. I am already looking forward to it and I think all the dogs that were there are too!
because I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday.
It is very important to me to shop local and to shop small whenever possible. That is why I enjoy events such as the HAMMS event where many local small businesses are in one space. HAMMS stands for Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed and aims to give up to $5,000 to one of the vendors. I am also excited to attend Saturday because there will be food trucks there!
Here are a few particular items that I am excited to see at the event:
- Glass water bottles from Moss Envy
I chose this water bottle because of the ease of use, both of the bottle and the sleeve can be put in the dishwasher. I also find that I do not enjoy the metal or plastic taste of other water bottles.
Moss Envy sells eco items for your home and life. They choose eco-friendly items to fill their store that you would use every day.
You can find more products on the Moss Envy website: HERE
- Turban from Kedrin
Kedrin sells beautiful handmade crochet goods. I love any fashionable item that I can wear during the winter months to accessorize my parka.
At the HAMMS event Kedrin is giving shoppers at least 20% off of items from her collection posted on her website HERE, and 10% off of pre-orders of new looks from her fall 2013 look book. VIP shoppers save even more!
- Market Bags from Jeanne Beatrice
Please read my post from Tuesday about Jeanne Beatrice: HERE. These market bags from Jeanne Beatrice would be a great Mother’s Day gift.
There will be many other vendors at the event that I am excited to see and learn more about their products such as: Worker b, Irley Intimates, Larissa Loden, Scrappy Products, and many more all featured on the vendors page.
The HAMMS event is this Saturday, April 20th at the old HAMMS shipping docks in Saint Paul from 10AM-7PM. You can even bring your dog to this pup friendly event! Tickets can be purchased online HERE until 10PM on April 19th for $10 or tickets can be purchased for $15 at the door.
because you should be there
On Saturday, April 20th I will be attending the HAMMS- Help a Minnesota Maker Succeed event at the old Hamm’s Brewery Shipping Docks. This event is for men, women, their dogs and those who like to shop local and small. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be awarded to one of the small businesses at the end of the event.
As a fan of fashion, I connected with the image on the website of a really cute Market Basket from Jeanne Beatrice; the perfect summer bag (pictured above). Everyone in Minnesota is ready for summer but it feels like it may never come with all the unseasonably cold weather lately. One of my favorite summer activities is going to the farmers market on a Sunday. There is something uplifting about spending the morning at the market in the sun and picking up fresh food from local farmers. Why not do it fashionably with a market bag from Jeanne Beatrice?
Jeanne Beatrice was started by Laura J. Benson a former Lawyer who created a business doing what she loved. The baskets are made in Morocco by local artisans. Each bag takes 6-8 hours to complete and each is a unique work of art.
I chose to feature Jeanne Beatrice because the Market Bags are affordable, fun, and a great way to help someone across the world. Also, they would be a great gift for a mother for Mother’s Day or a bridal party gift for your bridesmaids. The La Vie Shadow II is on sale for only $27.00 and with its steel grey or pink details, would be perfect for the beach.
My other favorite bags are the one featured on the HAMMS site called the La Vie Henna because of the stitching around the handles and the La Vie en Colour because they are traditional with a pop of color.
You can find all products from Jeanne Beatrice on the website, https://www.jeannebeatrice.com/, or in over 150 boutiques around the world. You can even come to the HAMMS event and pick one up there.
Laura thinks you should come to the event because it, “will be an absolute blast.” It will be a shopping event like no other because the vendors are interacting with customers in different ways and are encouraged to bring wine and appetizers. A fellow foodie, Laura is looking forward to the food trucks that will be there.
If you are someone who likes to shop local and support small business this is the perfect event for you. Tickets to the HAMMS Event on Saturday, April 20th from 10AM-7PM are available online at http://www.hammsevent.com/ until 10 pm on April 19 or for 15 dollars at the door.
because you can look good and do good at the same time.
On January 26th, 3012 the American Cancer Society Young Professionals will be hosting a masquerade charity ball at Aria at the Jeune Lune.
Tickets are $85 or $75 before January 18th. You can buy tickets online HERE.
This is a wonderful reason to get dressed up for a night and support cancer research, specifically cancer research in Minnesota. Also, this is a great opportunity to network with other young Twin Cities professionals.
Entertainment will include music, a photo booth, and also a CEO auction where you have the chance to bid on an opportunity to meet with a local CEO and pick their brain.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) of Young Professionals raise money for ACS and also to fund research at the University of Minnesota. They raised $55,000 last year and are hoping to raise even more this year.
You can even try one of the new businesses in Calhoun Square called For Tonight, they rent cocktail dresses. Also, if you need a mask both Halloween Express in Maplewood and Twin Cities Magic and Costume sells them.
because you can give back and have fun at the same time.
My friend Casey Kustak will be performing his comedy routine this Saturday, December 15th. It is a great excuse to try out the new venue in town Mill City Nights. They are doing a night of music and comedy with headliners My Lady Four. Tickets are only $8 or $5 with a student ID.
The show starts at 8:30 but make sure you are there in time to see Casey who will be starting his set around 9:45PM. He uses his real life experiences as an inspiration and with two young children he has no trouble coming up with material. It is all written by him and is orignal. Some material may be slightly offensive so prepare yourself. Casey grew up in Minnesota and now lives out-of-state but I know he keeps Minnesota close to his heart.
because laughter can be the best medicine.