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Minnesota State Fair releases 'free stage' lineup

While the Grandstand lineup gets the most attention (and scrutiny) fairgoers can enjoy plenty of great music at smaller stages without spending a dime.

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — Each year, the Minnesota State Fair brings in 12 headliners in an attempt to draw music fans to the Grandstand for music and fireworks under the stars. 

But like the fair's food lineup, if you're not into those offerings there are plenty of different shows to please the palate, acts that you can see without spending a dime. 

On Tuesday fair talent bookers released the list of bands and performers that will grace stages across the fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, with the biggest names reserved for the Leinie Lodge Bandshell's Tonight! roster. Among them are Minnesota's own Jayhawks (Sept. 4 and 5), The Family Stone (Sly Stone's bandmates, Sept. 2 and 3) and Eddie Montgomery (of country duo Montgomery Gentry, Aug. 25 and 26). 

The Leinie Lodge has an extensive daytime lineup as well, with acapella group Tonic Sol Fa, The Jimmys and The 34th Infantry Division "Red Bull" Band included in the performers. 

On the West End Market you'll find the Schell's Stage and offerings like First Avenue Goes To The Fair (Sept. 2 and 3), Turn Turn Turn (Byrds tribute band, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1) and the Gully Boys (Sept. 4 and 5), along with The Minnesota State Fiddle Contest and Wild Goose Chase Cloggers. That sounds like a State Fair classic. 

Music of all flavors can also be found at the International Bazaar Stage and The Family Stage at Baldwin Park. 

If action is your thing, the All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash and Timberworks Lumberjack Show at The North Woods are can't-miss fun, and a cold beverage (or three) might convince you that taking a run at Mia Dorr’s Premier Karaoke in The Garden is a good idea. 

For a complete listing of free entertainment during the best 12 days of summer, check out the Minnesota State Fair website. 

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