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Minnesota State Fair serves up new exhibits, attractions for 2022

While food continues to be the fair's major draw, some new activities - from Blue Ribbon Bingo to Survival: The Exhibition - promise to sweeten the experience

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — While eating sits atop most lists of favorite things to do at the Minnesota State Fair, folks have to have something to hold their interest between bites, right?

The Great Minnesota Get-Together on Thursday took the wraps off a collection of new activities and exhibits designed to enhance the fair experience. The Minnesota State Fair is also celebrating a number of time-honored exhibits hitting notable milestones. 

Here are some stops to put on your 2022 list. 

Blue Ribbon Bingo: It's hard to believe, but the Minnesota State Fair has been Bingo-less until now. The classic game that melds cards, letters and numbers will make it's debut inside the Ramberg Center. For $10 players get five games, which should last a total of about 30 minutes. Winners get two state fair admission tickets and a blue ribbon. All proceeds collected will go to the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. 

Located in Ramberg Center (sponsored by Cal Spas), on the west side of Underwood Street just north of Judson Avenue. 

Survival - The Exhibition: Described as "an immersive and engaging wilderness exhibit brings together adventure, fun and science," Survival will transport fair visitors to the world’s most awe-inspiring locales and  and then ask the question: How can humans survive here? Stops include rainforests, mountains and oceans. Fairgoers will investigate, collaborate, problem-solve, build and collect their way to becoming the ultimate survival expert. Free with fair admission. 

Located in the North End Event Center, north of Murphy Avenue. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (8 p.m. on Labor Day).

Mighty Midway new rides: Thrill-seekers will have two new ways to increase their heart rate. The Iron Dragon Coaster offers plenty of hairpin turns, fast and sudden drops, and lots of airtime, while the Music Express is all about flying at top speed – both forward and backward – through dazzling lights and splashy, thumping music.

Located at Mighty Midway.

Credit: MN State Fair
The Iron Dragon Coaster offers plenty of hairpin turns, fast and sudden drops, and lots of airtime.

Eco Experience: New Features

While the exhibition is NOT new, plenty of features at the Eco Experience are debuting at the 2022 fair. The award-winning exhibit includes displays, resources and demonstrations that highlight what every fairgoer can do to help improve our air, land, water and climate. 

A few of this year’s highlights include:

  • Land of the Loon - A roadside attraction for 40 years in Virginia, Minn., the world’s largest floating loon makes a special State Fair visit. The loon is part spectacle (it’s 20’ tall!) and part serious-talk about how to reduce the threats to Minnesota's state bird, like using lead-free tackle, keeping lakes clean and shorelines natural, and taking action to reduce climate change.  
  • Giant Cardboard Moose Sculpture: What better way to showcase that paper products – like the cardboard used in this sculpture of Minnesota’s largest animal – make up the largest portion of what Minnesotans recycle. In fact, 380,000 tons of cardboard alone went to recycling facilities in 2020.
  • Cell Phone Recycling: Recycling electronics waste helps capture valuable materials. Dispose of your used cell phones and other devices in the Tech Dump box, and Tech Dump will destroy the data, then recycle or refurbish the items.
  • Reuse and Repair in Our Communities: Get helpful how-to ideas from a variety of reuse, rental and repair organizations and businesses located in the area.

Located in Progress Center, on the north side of Randall Avenue at Cosgrove Street. Open daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

(8 p.m. on Labor Day).

New Creative Activities Competitions: Adventurous amateur bakers and chefs can compete for even more blue ribbons and bragging rights this year, with the addition of four new special contests: Great Chocolate Cake Contest, Low-to-No Sugar Showdown, Salad Bowl Tournament and Supreme Sourdough Bread Contest.  

Located in the Creative Activities Building, on the east side of Cosgrove Street just north of Dan Patch Avenue. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (8 p.m. on Labor Day). 

New Livestock and Agriculture Competitions 

Among the new livestock and ag competitions visitors can take in this year are:  

  • The Running of the Ducks: Runner ducks stand up tall on their webbed feet and run with both speed and grace. As one portion of their judging at the State Fair this year, these ducks show off their technique in a large pen in an event the fair is calling The Running of the Ducks. You can see it on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 11 a.m., in the Poultry Barn.
  • Open Class Cow/Calf Supreme Competition: In beef cattle breeds such as Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Limousin, Red Angus, Shorthorn, Simmental and ShorthornPlus, cow/calf pairs that have been named breed champions then compete for the title of Supreme Champion on Sunday, Sept. 4, at 7 p.m., in Compeer Arena.
  • FFA Agricultural Interactive Exhibit/Demonstration Competition: FFA youth from across Minnesota have been selected to present an interactive exhibit or demonstrate a skill that is connected to a career pathway in agricultural education. Presentations take place Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 in the FFA Chapter House & Leadership Center.  
  • Miniature and Walking Horses: Mini and walking horse breeds compete in various classes on Sept. 1 and 2 (competition times vary). The competitions return to the Minnesota State Fair Horse Show after a few years absence.

Located in livestock complex area and the FFA Chapter House & Leadership Center. 

New stops on the History Walking Tour: Five new stops have been added to the Minnesota State Fair's walking tour, which steeps visitors in fair history while taking them on a two-mile walk to wear off some of those pesky calories. 

To see the rest of the new attractions, or to plan your food and entertainment stops, check out the Minnesota State Fair website

Watch segments from KARE11 Saturday:

Watch the latest coverage from KARE11 Saturday in our YouTube playlist:

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