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'Kickoff to Summer at the Fair' runs Thursday through Monday

If you can't wait one more day for your favorite Minnesota State Fair foods and fun, you're in luck! Tickets are still available for a fair preview weekend.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Are you ready for the first get-together of the Minnesota State Fair season? 

Starting on Thursday afternoon and running through Memorial Day on Monday, you can enjoy your favorite fair foods, listen to music and slide on the Giant Slide at "Kickoff to Summer at the Fair."

Attendance is limited to 15,000 for each timeslot over the five day Minnesota State Fair preview event, but there are tickets still available. With tax and fees, tickets cost $12.50 online and $15.50 at the gate. Kids 4 and under are free. 

Find more info about available tickets here.

If you come to the fairgrounds hungry, there are plenty of places to get some of your favorite food and drinks, including Dino's Gyros, Fresh French Fries, Mouth Trap Cheese Curds, Pronto Pups, and of course, Sweet Martha's Cookies. 

Many of the vendors accept credit cards, but some are cash only. 

Read the full list of vendors and their menus here.

RELATED: Minnesota State Fair releases 'free stage' lineup

It wouldn't be a day at the fair without music and entertainment, so there are plenty of shows scheduled each day on three free stages located around the fairgrounds. Thursday kicks off with the Alex Rossi Band, Saddle Sores and Zumba Fitness with Darcy Fox. 

And there's more than just music to enjoy, you can check out the Family Fun Zone, play Trivia Mafia and ride the Giant Slide. 

Download a program and map to find everything entertainment here.

RELATED: 3 new State Fair Grandstand shows announced

Once you've eaten and enjoyed some music and games, you can check out some of the Minnesota vendors like Glitter Glamper, Paddle North and Sota Clothing. 

On Monday, May 30, there will be special events and performances to honor those who died serving in the U.S. military. 

At 10 a.m., there will be a flag raising at the West End Gate Plaza, several performances from the 204th Army Band throughout the day at the Family Fun Stage, and a playing of "Taps" and a National Moment of Remembrance at the West End Gate Plaza at 3 p.m.

Before you go

Here are a few things to know as you head out the door to the fair:

  • Your ticket is for a specific timeslot

You can arrive at any time during the timeslot listed on your ticket, but all guests have to leave at the end of that timeframe.

  • Two entrances

New this year, there are two places to enter the state fairgrounds: At Snelling and Hoyt Avenues, and at Como Avenue east of the Coliseum. Parking is free. 

  • No masks or vaccines required

As of now, the fair doesn't require guests to wear a mask or present a negative COVID test or proof of vaccine. 

  • Be ready to walk through a metal detector

Entry gates have a walk-through metal detector, and all bags and coolers will be subject to search. The following items are not allowed at the fair: 

  • Weapons or objects that appear to be weapons
  • Fireworks or other explosive and flammable objects
  • Alcoholic beverages or any illegal substance
  • Drones or any remote-controlled toys
  • Bikes, skateboards, skates, hoverboards
  • Outside food and drink with the exception of sealed plastic water bottles or an empty reusable water bottle
  • Other items may be refused at the discretion of Minnesota State Fair management or law enforcement

Read the full list of need to know information about your trip to the fair here.

RELATED: Woah! State Fair Grandstand flashes back to the 70s, 80s and 90s with REO, Styx, Counting Crows and Wallflowers

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