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Minnesota State Fair opens later this week

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting nearly 2 million visitors annually. Minnesota State Fair photo

ST. PAUL — The 2018 "Great Minnesota Get-Together" begins on Thursday, Aug. 23, and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 3. The 12 days of fun at the Minnesota State Fair feature dozens of new attractions, exhibits, foods, discounts, special deal days, innumerable events, and free live music and entertainment.

According to a news release from the fair, some new attractions at the fair will be The Hangar, a new destination for food, craft beer, and entertainment; Cambria Kitchen, a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen featuring a lineup of premier local chefs and demonstrators; an expanded schedule of draft horse and miniature horse competitions; and more. There are also 27 new foods and five new food vendors on the fair's list, adding to the list that has 500-plus options.

Entertainment will include more than 900 shows — all free with the price of State Fair admission. In its 46th year at the fair, the Amateur Talent Contest will showcase Minnesotaʼs depth in talent and entertainment. The historic grandstand will host 11 nights of big-name entertainment from Niall Horan to Earth, Wind & Fire to Old Dominion. A nightly fireworks show will follow each grandstand show, weather permitting.

The State Fair has special admission discounts on six of its 12 days with Thrifty Thursday, Seniors & Kids Days, Military Appreciation Day and Read & Ride Day. Many vendors throughout the fairgrounds also offer special savings on these deal days. Pre-fair discount tickets and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books will be available through Wednesday, Aug. 22.

Free parking with free shuttle bus service to and from the fair is available from 8 a.m. to midnight daily at 34 different locations near the fairgrounds. Metro Transit bus routes 960, 84, 3 and the A Line are great options to get to the State Fair. Three free secured bicycle parking areas are available on the fairgrounds and from 6 a.m. to midnight. There are also paid parking options for vehicles in the fairgrounds' parking lots.

The free Minnesota State Fair App can be used on iPhones and Androids, helping fairgoers navigate the Great Minnesota Get-Together. It includes daily schedule information as well as a Fair Finder tool that searches through the many booths, shops, and food stops at the state fair.

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting nearly 2 million visitors each year.

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