Clicking on the Web: Get ready for State Fair activities

Yes, the Minnesota State Fair is just over two months away but it is not too late to get hyped up about all the activities coming to the 153rd edition of the Minnesota State Fair at the fairgrounds in St. Paul.

Howard Lestrud
Howard Lestrud

County fairs will begin shortly around Minnesota and this always signals the Minnesota State Fair being right around the corner. Many of our young 4-Hers and other exhibitors are getting their projects ready for competition that will hopefully send them to the State Fair.

Go to the Minnesota State Fair website at

The Minnesota State Fair’s 2012 commemorative art was unveiled June 6 by artist Joe Heffron of St. Paul.

Surrounded by media, State Fair fans and art enthusiasts, he presented his original colored pencil piece to the public for the first time at the J.V. Bailey House on the State Fairgrounds.

The original piece will be on display in the Fine Arts Center during the fair’s 12-day run.

Created exclusively for the State Fair, Heffron’s piece captures the Great Minnesota Get-Together with whimsical realism. His artwork showcases iconic elements of the fair with rich, vibrant colors.

Just prior to the 2011 State Fair, fair officials announced their second commemorative art call for submissions. Any Minnesota artist could apply.

From the nearly 50 applicants, five finalists, including Heffron, were chosen to create near-complete artistic interpretations of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

From that group, Heffron was selected as the official artist by a panel of judges including members of the visual arts community and State Fair staff.

After attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Heffron continued with a 20-year career in graphic design and illustration and has also designed residential and commercial stained glass windows.

He believes in using traditional materials, hand-rendered images and unusual inspirations.

Commemorative art posters and a limited number of signed giclee prints featuring Heffron’s art are available for purchase at

Posters may also be purchased at the State Fair Box Office on the fairgrounds. Sizes and pricing are as follows: posters (18”x24”) $10; and signed giclee prints (19.75”x26”) $100.

Proceeds from commemorative art merchandise support the Minnesota State Fair Foundation 501(c)(3) mission to preserve and improve State Fair buildings, grounds and educational experiences.

The 2012 official commemorative art is the ninth in a series of annual artwork created exclusively for the State Fair. In previous years,

Minnesota State Fair artists have included: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (2004), Mary GrandPré (2005), Nancy Carlson (2006), Michael Birawer (2007), Edie Abnet (2008), Leo Stans (2009), Deborah Voyda Rogers (2010) and Steve Thomas (2011).

A gallery of past artwork is available at

The public may purchase a Commemorative Art poster or limited edition print, by calling the Minnesota State Fair Foundation at 651-632-2621 or by visiting the online gift shop at

Cost of the posters is $15.

The 2012 edition of the Minnesota State Fair runs from Thursday, Aug. 23 through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 3.

During the last two years, attendance records have been set on four different days.

In 2010, these attendance records were established: opening day (Thursday), 119,145; first Friday, 132,738 and second Saturday, 234,384. Last year, one attendance record was set: second Sunday, 229,943.

Many attractions draw people to one of the most popular state fairs in the nation.

The attractions include food, lots of it on the stick and entertainment, much of it free.

Over 100 acts perform at the fair’s numerous free entertainment venues.

Competition in 4-H and open class also shows off the many creative talents of our young and elder Minnesotans.

More than 450 foods are available at 300 food concessions.

Deep-fried candy bars, hot dish, spaghetti & meatballs, key lime pie, walleye and pork chops are just a handful of the 60-plus foods on-a-stick available throughout the fairgrounds.

Since many of us come to the State Fair for its many varieties of food, be sure to bookmark the foodfinder at  

The Food Finder is now live. You can use this database to find all available foods and their locations.

Food Finder also includes information on vendors participating in special day deals and discounts.

There’s also a fun finder at

Over the years the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand has featured some of the hottest acts at the current time and the State Fair has also brought back many of the favorites of years gone by. Here’s who is going to be at the State Fair Grandstand in 2012:

• Thursday, Aug. 23, 7:30 p.m., Bonnie Raitt with special guest Mavis Staples

• Friday, Aug. 24, 7:30 p.m., Alan Jackson with special guest Jamey Johnson

• Sunday, Aug. 26, 8 p.m., An Evening with Anita Baker

• Monday, Aug. 27, 8 p.m., The Happy Together Tour 2012 featuring The Turtles with Flo & Eddie, The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz, Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, The Grass Roots and The Buckinghams.

• Wednesday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m., Kiss and Mötley Crüe The Tour 2012

• Thursday, Aug. 30, 7 p.m., Rascal Flatts with special guests Little Big Town, Eli Young Band and Edens Edge

• Saturday, Sept. 1, 7 p.m., Journey with special guests Pat Benatar featuring Neil Giraldo and Loverboy

• Sunday, Sept. 2, 40th annual Minnesota State Fair amateur talent contest finals – free,

• Monday, Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m., Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller with special guest to be deteremined.

All of the Grandstand shows require paid admission.

If you are looking for free entertainment, go to the State Fair website and click on free stage entertainment.

The free entertainment stages include: Bandshell Tonight, sponsored by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company; Bazaar After Dark, sponsored by Summit Brewing Co.; Heritage at Sundown, sponsored by August Schell Brewing Co.; Leinie Lodge Bandshell, sponsored by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company; Bazaar, sponsored by Summit Brewing Co.; Heritage Square, sponsored by August Schell Brewing Co.; Ramberg Senior Center, sponsored by Cal Spas; Family Fair at Baldwin Park, sponsored by Green Mill Restaurant; The North Woods, sponsored by Gander Mountain.

Editor’s note: Howard Lestrud is ECM online managing editor.

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