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The Minnesota State Fair Drive-Thru Experience

Posted by VIBE Realty on Friday, July 31st, 2020 at 9:28am.

Not all is lost here, folks. While some might say 2020 is a wash when it comes to enjoying our much-loved Minnesota summer activities, we knew the State Fair wasn't going to leave us hanging. When they announced the cancelation in mid-May due to COVID-19 (which was not an easy decision for the board to make), we were hoping they'd come up with a little something to accommodate our fair fix...cue The Minnesota State Fair Drive-Thru happening Aug. 20-23, 27-30 and Sept. 3-7.

Our great Minnesota get-together has found a new way for us to enjoy what it is we all look forward to each year...the food. The fairgrounds will be hosting 16 different vendors who will be selling you their food wares along a 1.5 mile route and you get to drive-thru and grab the goods! Plan for a multi-hour experience, and enjoy entertainment, a trivia contest and activities along the way. See below for vendors. 

  • Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar

  • El Sol Mexican Foods

  • The Hangar 

  • Cheese On-A-Stick and Fresh-Squeezed Lemonade 

  • Tom Thumb Donuts 

  • Foot Long Hot Dogs & Corn Dogs 

  • West Indies Soul Food

  • Giggles’ Campfire Grill 

  • Dairy Goodness Bar by Midwest Dairy

  • Pitchfork Sausage/Butcher Boys London Broil

  • Pronto Pups

  • Que Viet 

  • Mouth Trap Cheese Curds 

  • Sweets & Treats 

  • Fresh French Fries

*A limited number of vehicle tickets were sold for this historic event (tickets went on sale on July 31st) and sold out QUICK! *


Didn't Score Tickets?

You're not the only one. When the tickets went on sale, the MN State Fair's website and ticketing service experienced unprecedented volume; in 2½ hours, they reached their capacity of 19,000 vehicle tickets sold. The capacity is limited in order to present the event in a safe and enjoyable manner, so many were bummed when they weren't able to snag a pair. If that's the boat you're in, or if you're just looking for all-things-fried as well as fair vendors available around the metro and beyond, here's some tips and vendors curated by Eater Twin Cities:

Que Viet

A beloved Minneapolis restaurant for years, Que Viet is as popular at the fair, with long lines forming early for the Vietnamese iced coffee and giant egg rolls on a stick. The egg rolls at the Johnson Avenue restaurant are a bit more manageable, and equally crave-worthy.


Hot Indian

Although Hot Indian is only at the International Bazaar for half of the fair’s twelve day run, their crunchy samosas can be found year-round at the Midtown Global Market location.

Blue Barn

Blue Barn, run by Blue Plate Restaurant Company, has been a crowd favorite since its opening at the newly minted West End at the fair ground. Starting this month, the team will launch Little Blue Truck, which will travel around the Twin Cities offering fair faves like the kicky Nashville Hot Chicken on a Stick and pop rocks French toast. Find the truck’s latest stop at @littlebluefoodtruck.



The health-conscious restaurant’s inaugural stint at the fair last year was a big success, with their Sota sandwich quickly becoming a favorite of fair goers looking for something less fried and less on a stick. The warm, gooey sandwich is made with gluten free heritage bread brushed with cinnamon coconut oil and slathered with fresh ground almond peanut butter and Minnesota blueberry marmalade, then toasted in a panini press in an open kitchen behind the tent (usually by chef owner Katie Sidoti’s chatty dad, Mark.) In August, the sandwich will be available in the south Minneapolis restaurant, along with the State Fair mint lemonade and blueberry lemonade.

Farmers Union Coffee Shop

The Farmers Union’s Coffee Shop procures treats from local establishments. Baked goods come from Birchwood Café, coffee from Bean Factory in Saint Paul and those creamy Mocha on a Sticks come from Grand Ole Creamery. While some of items are fair exclusive and may not be available at the shops, all are definitely worth a visit.

Anchor Coffee House

The mini-donut latte that spawned massive lines across from the Horticulture building is now available at the Anchor House’s bricks and mortar in White Bear Lake. No lines, just a nifty take out window and tons of outdoor seating in adorable Washington Square.

Lift Bridge

While the team is working out details on bringing the massively popular Mini Donut beer to the thirsty masses, the Mini Donut Soda is delightful and available across the metro.

Cheese on a Stick and Fresh Lemonade Stand

Nothing says fair food like fried food on a stick and freshly squeezed lemonade. Now every day can be fair day with corn dogs, cheese on a stick, deep fried pickles and lemonade at the Giant Slide booth which has set up shop in front of the Roseville VFW Post 7555. Open daily from 11 .m. to 7 p.m. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the VFW.

Harry Singh’s Original Caribbean Restaurant

The same flavor-filled roti from the Food Building are available at the Whittier neighborhood restaurant, along with other Creole and Jamaican staples like stews, jerk and curry dishes.


Manny’s Tortas

When food on a stick loses its appeal, many head to the Food Building at the fair for a more substantial snack, like a delightful sandwich from the equally delightful Chef Manny. Those same toasty tortas found at the Food Building can also be found at Manny’s place at the Midtown Global Market. The restaurant has been hit exceptionally hard by 2020. Both the Midtown Global Market location and the other in Mercado Central were closed by the Minneapolis riots. The former location is again opening and serving tortas for takeout.


The Donut Family

Known for over-the-top mini donut “sundaes”, The Donut Family is serving Original Mini Donuts, cheese curds, cotton candy and more North Saint Paul and Eden Prairie Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Find them at 2275 McKnight Road North in North Saint Paul outside Wild Prairie Harley Davidson in Eden Prairie next to the Menards.

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