Top 10 things to do at the State Fair on Read & Ride Day

A photograph of hot dogs and vegetables

Read & Ride Day at the Minnesota State Fair is Wednesday, September 2. Fairgoers who present a valid library card get in at a discount. Adults (13-64) get $2 off, and seniors (65+) and kids (5-12) get $3 off. Children (under 5) are always free.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together offers more variety than you can possibly experience in a single day. Check out these Top 10 attractions and you’ll leave satisfied.

10. 4-H Rube Goldberg Design Challenge; 10:00 AM & 3:00 PM; 4-H Building

Grade-schoolers designing and building "overly complicated contraptions" that put toothpaste on a toothbrush is a recipe for high-quality entertainment. WARNING: You'll probably walk away wishing you were back in grade school and cool enough to participate in a contest like this one.

9. Food Consumption; All Day; All Buildings & Surfaces

This year's new over-eating opportunities include: Butter Chicken Samosas and Tikka On-a-Stikka at Hot Indian, Chilled Bread Pudding at Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, Deep Fried Ribs at Ball Park Cafe, Kimchi 'n' Curry Poutine at The Rabbit Hole, Mac & Cheese Cupcake at Lulu's Public House, International Tacos at Shanghaied Henri's, and Totchos at Boulevard Grill.

8. 50th Anniversary Celebration of Crop Art at the Fair; 10:00 AM; Agriculture Horticulture Building

The term "crop art" might make you think about the cover of a Led Zeppelin box set or a movie by M. Night Shyamalan featuring Mel Gibson. This is different (and better): "The competition and display of magnificent mosaics made from Minnesota seeds is a true, unique hidden gem."

7. Cultural Society of Filipino-Americans Dance Troupe; 12:00 PM, 1:30 PM, 3:00 PM, & 4:30 PM; Festival of Nations Stage

There's a lot more to the fair than fried foods and agricultural showcases. The Cultural Society of Filipino-Americans perserves, promotes, and shares Filipino customs and traditions, and they've got a great dance troupe!

6. Aisle of Breeds; 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM; Horse Barn

Speaking of showcases, if you think that standing near a shiny red Ferrari is impressive, try sauntering up to 2,000-pound Clydesdale. The following breeds (and more) will be on display in the center aisle of the Horse Barn: Peruvian, Norwegian Fjord, Paso Fino, Cleveland Bay, Pintabian, Pinto, Appaloosa, Percheron, Quarter Horse, American Bashkir Curly, Clydesdale, Paint, Rocky Mountain Saddlehorse, Standardbred.

5. Minnesota History On-A-Schtick; 9:30 AM; Schell's Stage at Schilling Amphitheater

Unless you hate smiling and laughing, the Minnesota Historical Society has the perfect event for you: History On-A-Schtick invites you to "take a vaudevillian romp through Minnesota’s past with wacky fun, sing-alongs, trivia, prizes and astonishing historical tidbits!"

4. Patti Labelle, the Commodores; 7:30 PM; Grandstand

You'll have to drive all the way to Mankato to find the nearest store that sells Patti Labelle's Lady Marmalade products, but you can see the music legend herself at the Grandstand on Wednesday night at the fair. Motown legends the Commodores are playing, too. This is bucket-list-worthy entertainment.

3. Hover Around Carousel Park; All Day; Carousel Park & Environs

You won't want to miss anything at Read & Ride Day, so it's best not to stray too far from Carousel Park. Luckily, there are plenty of wonderful attractions nearby. The iconic Giant Slide is on the northeast corner of Carnes and Nelson. Ye Old Mill is turning 100 this year and it's just steps away at the corner of Underwood and Nelson. Challenge your bravery at Adventure Park, which borders Carousel Park on the west side. But remember, "Adventure Park first, cheese curds later."

The State Fair website has a great interactive map to help you plan your visit.

2. Bee Beard Demonstration; 1:00 PM; Agriculture Horticulture Building

"Bee Beard" isn't just a clever title. It is an actual demonstration of multitudes of living bees hanging off somebody's face. Do not miss it.

1. Read & Ride Day; 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM; Carousel Park

Celebrate Read and Ride Day! Carousel Park is located between Carnes Avenue and the Grandstand, near the West End Gate. Browse all the library booths, take your tiny tots to an obstacle course designed just for them, see live music, adopt a classroom, meet Minnesota crime writers, and much more. There's something for everybody. Get all the details at the Read & Ride Day website.

See you at the fair!

Zach Miller's picture

Zachariah Miller

Zach is the Head of Communications at Minitex. Before coming to the University of Minnesota, he worked in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the U.S. National Science Foundation. Zach holds a BA in Philosophy with minors in Physics and Asian Studies from Saint Olaf College and an MA in International Affairs from The George Washington University. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Rachael, and their children, Neil and Ingrid. In his free time, Zach enjoys learning about languages, playing the guitar (poorly), and playing tennis. You can reach him by phone at 612-301-6658 or email him at zmiller@umn.edu.