This is just the tip of the iceberg for festivals and events in Minnesota in August. I’ve avoided the more routine festivals, Crazy Days, and city parties. You can find more information about those over at Explore Minnesota. What follows is a list of the more unique possibilities this month. If there’s something I’ve missed, please let me know. And don’t forget to check out the events page at the Minnesota Historical Society–there’s always something fun going on over there.
Huge country music festival, this year featuring Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, and Eric Church.
Vintage Band Festival
Outdoor concerts all over Northfield—for free!—and dancing, vaudeville, and old-time “base ball”.
Minnesota Fringe Festival
Original, independent artists and performers giving it all they’ve got during this non-juried 11-day festival.
Two Harbors Kayak Festival
All things kayak: races, demos, training, equipment swaps.
River City Days
Red Wing’s annual celebration of summer, with a drive-in, fly-in breakfast, movies under the stars, Segway tours, arts and crafts show, and of course plenty of food.
Metris Uptown Art Fair
Powderhorn Park Art Fair
Loring Park Art Festival
One weekend, three big art festivals. Bring your wallet and your patience—the crowds can be heavy, especially if the weather is nice. Take advantage of Metro Transit’s ArtPass, a free service connecting the three events:
Target Art Hop
Bayfront Blues Festival
Annual blues festival in a lovely location. This year’s performers include the Robert Cray Band, Shemekia Copeland, and Irma Thomas.
Held on Harriet Island, Irish Fair celebrates the city’s Irish heritage with music, entertainment, dance, family activities, and of course food.
Civil War Days 2012
Battle re-enactments, educational programs, etiquette and ballroom dance lessons, a Grand Ball, children’s activities, and of course, food.
Leech Lake Regatta
Multiclass sailboat races for sailors of all skill levels.
Live music and entertainment, fashion show, soccer tournament, children’s activities, comedy, all celebrating the varied African heritage present in the Twin Cities. Oh, and of course there’ll be food.
Minnesota Garlic Festival
Kite flying, entertainment, old-fashioned children’s activities, the Peculiar Pragmatic Promenade, and all things garlic. Did you know that there are over 100 varieties of garlic grown here? It’s pretty much guaranteed that vampires will not be present.
Twin Cities Polish Festival
All things Polish, old and new: polka and European disco, food, Chopin concerts, baking contest, and a Polish film fest.
Spelmansstamma Music Festival
Smorgasbord, traditional Swedish music and dancing, and children’s activities.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Aug. 17-Sept. 29, weekends and Labor Day
Come lords and ladies! Followers of Sir Puke and Sir Snot! Lovers of turkey legs! Costumes, food, entertainment of the Renaissance style, at least by today’s standards. Come early, or you’ll be parking in South Dakota.
Pioneer Village Festival 2012
This lovely recreated pioneer village celebrates its heritage with pancake breakfasts, parades, children’s activities, and of course food.
Minnesota State Fair
Aug. 22-Sept. 2
The granddaddy of Minnesota festivals. Go for the cheese curds, stay for the rides, the animals being born, the crafts and arts exhibits, Machinery Hill, the stage shows, the cheesy giveaways, and of course, the food on a stick. Not to mention the cheese curds.
Three words: mashed potato wrestling. I’m SO there. Plus lots of lefse.
Norwood Young America
Minnesota’s oldest festival, held annually for 152 years. Activities, arts and crafts, softball tournaments, bingo, and of course food.