Minnesota summers may be short, but we never take a sunny day for granted. We jam-pack June-September with events celebrating the food, drink, art and music that make Minnesota an amazing place to live.
You probably already know that my favorite food festival on earth is the Minnesota State Fair. But there are several other culinary celebrations around the state that are worth checking out.
MN Food Truck Fair (Twin Cities, June 28; July 25; Sept. 19)
Up to 60 food trucks combine forces at four summer fairs, taking place in Uptown Minneapolis, St. Paul and Burnsville. Don’t expect carnival games and midway rides; this fair is all food and drink. It’s perfect for tracking down your favorite trucks, like Hot Indian Foods and Chef Shack, as well as discovering up-and-coming concepts, like a truck whose entire menu is dedicated to tater tots.
Go with a group—that way, you can try a bite of something from tons of vendors without stuffing yourself.
Credit: The Henderson Independent
Sauerkraut Days (Henderson, June 26-28)
Old world, and yet so of the times (probiotics!), I adore sauerkraut. There’s no better place to celebrate this fermented food than at Henderson’s Sauerkraut Days. It’s got that small-town festival charm—a parade, kraut royalty, tractor rides—but with a few unexpected extras, like wiener dog races and a kraut-eating contest.
Wild Rice Festival (Deer River, July 10-12)
Minnesota—the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Garrison Keillor, loons, Paul Bunyan and, of course, wild rice. Deer River hosts the world’s biggest wild rice celebration that’s now in its 67th year! There’s a pow-wow presented by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, carnival rides, and a wild rice dinner hosted at the local Methodist church. It doesn’t get more Minnesotan than that.
While wild rice takes center stage, you’d be remiss to skip the annual turtle feed, hosted by the local Sportsman’s Club. No, you don’t feed turtles. They feed you. Snapping turtle stew. Really.
Credit: Jane Crane Photography
All Pints North (Duluth, July 25)
With its stunning Lake Superior views, amazing hiking and laid-back culture, you barely need an excuse to head up to Duluth. But in case you’re looking for one, check out All Pints North, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s hugely popular summer beer festival. Unlimited craft beer samples, local food vendors and live music are all conveniently located at Bayfront Festival Park.
Minnesota Garlic Festival (Hutchinson, Aug. 15)
Garlic evangelists flock to Hutchinson every August to indulge in their favorite stinky ingredient. Sample garlic-infused cuisine from big names in Twin Cities dining, like Tilia, Birchwood Cafe, Bachelor Farmer, Corner Table, Alma and Common Roots.
The best part? This is a zero-waste event, meaning if you can’t take it home, it’s recycled, re-used or composted.
Credit: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Cultivate Festival (Minneapolis, Aug 22)
Food and music go hand-in-hand at Cultivate, the Chipotle-sponsored touring food festival. Don’t worry, there’s more than burritos to be had, with a craft beer-laden tasting hall, cooking demos from celebrity chefs like Richard Blais, Jim Christiansen, Gavin Kaysen, Erik Anderson, Jamie Malone and yours truly, plus music from Atlas Genius, Walk the Moon and local favorite Hippo Campus.
Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul, Aug. 27-Sept. 7)
My favorite Minnesota food celebration, hands down. I adore the Minnesota State Fair so much that I try to go all 12 days. Every year there’s a list of new food booths, but I dig on the classics. Sweet Martha’s Cookies, Speedy’s About a Foot Long Hot Dog, the Gizmo (an Italian torpedo sandwich), Original Cheese Curds, Kiwanis malts, frozen cider pops in the horticulture building and deep fried pickles…you simply cannot go wrong.
Is it August yet?
This article originally appeared on exploreminnesota.com.