2016 Minnesota State Fair Begins One Week From Today

Helpful Hints, Bargains and Need-To-Know Information

ST. PAUL, MINN. (08/18/2016)(readMedia)-- The 2016 Great Minnesota Get-Together begins one week from today on Thursday, Aug. 25 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 5. This year's 12 days of fun feature dozens of new attractions, exhibits and foods; a variety of discounts and special deal days; numerous special events; hundreds of free live music and entertainment acts; and many options for getting to the fair.

New Attractions, Exhibits & Foods

Several new attractions make their State Fair debut in 2016, including National Park Service Centennial Day at Carousel Park on Aug. 29; the addition of a brand-new 6,540-square-foot restroom with 14 family restrooms located south of Kidway; Bulls & Barrels Championship in the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum on Sept. 5; Recipe Card Roundup giveaway featuring six top ribbon-winning recipes in the Creative Activities Building; The Great Yoga Get-Together at Carousel Park on Sept. 4; and more. Visit mnstatefair.org/fun/16_new_att/ for descriptions and photos of all new attractions and exhibits. High-resolution photos of a selection of new attractions and exhibits are available for media use at mnstatefair.org/general_info/media_galleries.html.

Thirty-two new foods and two new vendors have been added to the fair's list of more than 500 food options. Visit mnstatefair.org/fun/16_new_food/ for descriptions of this year's new fare at the fair. High-resolution photos of all new foods are available for media use at mnstatefair.org/general_info/media_galleries.html.

Music & Entertainment

The 2016 free entertainment lineup features more than 900 shows - all free with the price of State Fair admission. Visit mnstatefair.org/entertainment/free_entertainment_16.html for the complete lineup.

The historic State Fair Grandstand is home to 11 nights of big-name entertainment from Alabama to G-Eazy. Tickets are available through Etix at etix.com or by calling (800) 514-3849. Visit mnstatefair.org/entertainment/grandstand.html for the complete 2016 Grandstand Concert Series lineup (sponsored by Sleep Number). A nightly Fireworks Spectacular (sponsored by Mazda) follows each Grandstand show, weather permitting.

The Sustainability Stage in the Eco Experience offers new demonstrations every day on green living from eco-fashion to making your own non-toxic paint. The Sustainability Stage is sponsored by Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day.

Special Events

Several special events are scheduled during this year's Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Unite in Purple celebrates the life and legacy of Minnesota's own Prince on Friday, Aug. 26 from 5 p.m. to close. Everyone who attends is encouraged to wear purple in his honor. Visitors to the fair on that night will experience:

• Prince music, tributes and cover songs at stages throughout the fairgrounds

• A Fireworks Spectacular sponsored by Mazda featuring a Prince tribute

• A sea of fair visitors in purple and Prince gear

• A Prince Party in Carousel Park from 8:30-11 p.m. with music and dancing led by GenerationNOW's DJ Dudley D, Prince's personal tour DJ

• Lavender lighting on iconic fair buildings and carnival rides

• A Lasertainment's Laser Hitz show featuring a one-night-only Prince finale

• Unite in Purple glow bracelets for the first 5,000 guests through the gates after 5 p.m.

• Unite in Purple buttons for the first 7,500 visitors through the gates after 5 p.m.

• Specials, surprises and purple products offered by food and merchandise vendors throughout the fairgrounds

The Milk Run 5K (sponsored by Great River Energy, Midwest Dairy Association and Minnesota Farmers Union) kicks off at 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28. Visit mnstatefair.org/competition/milk_run.html for more race information. Runner registration is closed for 2016.

Military Appreciation Day is Tuesday, Aug. 30, when the Minnesota State Fair honors our nation's heroes with admission discounts and special events throughout the day. This year, the sixth annual Military Appreciation Day highlights Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, which works to connect service members and their families with community support, training, services and resources. The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with a ceremony at the Veterans Garden on the south side of the Agriculture Horticulture Building. It is followed at 10 a.m. with an opening ceremony flag-raising program at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell and a flyover by WWII-era T6 and B25 aircraft.

Two Minnesota senior citizens will be recognized for exceptional community service at the Outstanding Senior Citizens Award Ceremony set for 10:30 a.m. on Seniors Day, Thursday, Sept. 1, at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell.

In its 44th year as a Minnesota State Fair tradition, the Amateur Talent Contest (sponsored by JACK'S® Pizza) showcases Minnesota?s top talent. During the first 10 days of the fair, semifinals will be held at 6 p.m. nightly at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell. Winners from semifinals will compete in the finals at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, at the Grandstand. Visit mnstatefair.org/entertainment/talent_contests.html for additional Amateur Talent Contest information.

Open class, 4-H and FFA competition judging takes place every day of the fair. For more information on when judging is taking place and where to see the animals, visit mnstatefair.org/competition/judging_schedule.html or see a daily schedule for each day's livestock and horse events.

2016 Best Awards will be announced at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, on the International Bazaar Stage. Awards will be presented to the very best of the State Fair's 1,100 commercial exhibit and food vendors in the following categories: Best Product or Service, Best Food or Beverage, Best Attraction, Best Value, Best Customer Service, Best Midway Ride, Best Midway Game and Best Kidway Ride.

Ticketed Attractions

In addition to dozens of rides and games at the Mighty Midway and Kidway, there are more than 10 different ticketed attractions for fair guests to enjoy including: Space Tower, Ye Old Mill, Go Karts (sponsored by Minneapolis Area Kia Dealers), Haunted House, River Raft Ride, SkyGlider and Skyride, among others.

Charlie Chopper, a new Kidway ride, is set to make its debut airlifting pint-size pilots skyward for a birds-eye view of the fairgrounds.

Discounts & Special Deal Days

Pre-fair discount admission tickets, ride & game tickets and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are available through Wednesday, Aug. 24, at Cub locations, the State Fairgrounds Ticket Office and many locations in greater Minnesota and Hudson, Wis. (while supplies last). Visit mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/admission.html for pre-fair discount pricing and locations.

The State Fair offers 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 offer special savings on these deal days. Visit mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/admission.html for a listing of special days and applicable discounts.

All-day or Early Bird specials are offered each weekday on Mighty Midway and Kidway rides & games. Visit mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/box_office/midway_kidway.html for dates and more information on Mighty Midway and Kidway deals.

The 2016 Blue Ribbon Bargain Book offers 150 coupons with huge savings on food, merchandise and attractions. Bargain Books are available wherever pre-fair discount tickets are sold before the fair, and at State FairWear Gift Shops and Bargain Book & State Fair Poster Carts during the fair. Coupons are valid all 12 days, and a preview of bargains is available at mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/blue_ribbon_bb.html.

The Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guide, available at State Fair information booths or at mnstatefair.org/tickets_discounts/ddga.html, offers complete details on special day deals, items for $1 and less, freebies and sign-up-&-win drawings.

Getting to the Get-Together

Free parking with free shuttle bus service to and from the fair is available from 8 a.m. to midnight daily at 33 locations within a short distance of the fairgrounds. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/park_ride.html for a full list of Park & Ride locations.

State Fair Express Bus service is offered at 21 sites throughout the Twin Cities area. Round-trip Express Bus fare is $5 for persons five years and older; children age four and under ride free with a paid fare. Parking at each site is free. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/express_bus.html for more information and a list of Express Bus Service locations.

Metro Transit routes 960, 84, 3 and the A Line service the fairgrounds directly. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/reg_bus.html for more information on these regular Metro Transit routes. Guests planning to take the METRO Green Line to the fair should get off at the Snelling Avenue Station and take the A Line or Route #84 bus to the fairgrounds.

Three free secured bicycle parking areas are available on the fairgrounds and open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/bike.html for more information on biking to the State Fair.

Parking in State Fairgrounds lots is $13 (cash only). Motorcycle parking is available for $7 in a secured lot on the south side of Como Avenue across from Gate #7. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/parking.html for a map of State Fairgrounds parking lot locations.

New this year, the State Fair has partnered with Uber to create designated Uber drop-off and pick-up locations for getting to and from the fair. New Uber users can catch a free first ride to or from the fair when they sign up at t.uber.com/MNStateFair16 and enter code: MNSTATEFAIR16 for up to $20 off the first ride (new Uber users only). Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/get_here/taxi_uber.html for more information.

Guest Services & Information

The Great Minnesota Get-Together offers many free services and amenities for guest convenience, including: free trolley rides on the north end of the fairgrounds; information booths (sponsored by CenturyLink) stocked with free maps, daily schedules (sponsored by Minnesota Lottery), specialty brochures, Deals, Drawings & Giveaways Guides (sponsored by Minnesota Rusco) and complimentary sunscreen (partnership of Vanicream Sunscreen, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Fair); a free Wi-Fi hotspot at the West Grandstand Plaza (sponsored by DragNFly Wireless) and First Aid Stations (sponsored by Regions Hospital) located on the east and west ends of the fairgrounds. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/brochure_rack.html to see the fair's brochure rack to view daily schedules, specialty brochures and other information. Visit mnstatefair.org/general_info/visitor_guide/ to view the Minnesota State Fair's Visitor Guide.

The free Minnesota State Fair App is the smartphone user's official guide to navigating the Great Minnesota Get-Together. This special technology created just for Minnesota State Fair fans uses the popular Food Finder, Merch & More Search and Fun Finder tools to help guests locate their favorites. The app is available to download for free through iTunes or Google Play.

Media: The 2016 Minnesota State Fair Media Kit is available to view or print at mnstatefair.org/pdf/16_media_kit_bw.pdf.

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting 1.8 million visitors annually. Showcasing Minnesota's finest agriculture, art and industry, the Great Minnesota Get-Together is always 12 Days of Fun Ending Labor Day. Visit mnstatefair.org for more information. The 2016 Minnesota State Fair runs Aug. 25 - Labor Day, Sept. 5.