Fairs We Love

We love fairs whether they're county fairs, community fairs, art fairs or other community gatherings.  To date we have visited upwards of 30-35 Minnesota county fairs, and dozens of other fairs.  

We're going to use this space to give you our take on some of these fairs.  There are some that are so awesome you won't want to miss them.  Know that these "reviews", what are really just our impressions, are personal opinions of ours.


The Steele County Free Fair is the granddaddy of all county fairs. Held in mid-August ever year it is the size of two or three typical county fairs.

It has several animal barns including a massive horse barn and a large goat selection (nod to my wife the Goat Whisperer).  It has a huge camper selection, which is very unusual for county fairs.

The food selection is larger than anything we've seen in all the fairs we've attended.  What's also unusual is the number of businesses that come to hawk their wares.  They fill, to the brim, two full hockey arena buildings.

An interesting feature is their "Village of Yesteryear" featuring 25 buildings from the early days of the fair.  Just outside this area is a collection of antique tractors.  

If you're going to attend just one county fair each summer, the Steele County fair is the one to go to.


The Anoka County Fair is one of the top county fairs in Minnesota.  Located about a mile north of downtown Anoka, it's tucked away along Highway 47 in a neighborhood setting.  Within it's own fairgrounds, there is parking located on-site as well as a large parking lot outside the grounds just west of the venue.  We like the on-site parking, especially for those using handicap parking.

One of the things we enjoy about this fair is how they have a large number of horses.  While Michelle loves the goats (which Anoka has some of), John loves the ponies.  The Anoka County Fair delivers.

The carnival is managed by Gopher State Expositions, our favorite Minnesota carnival company.  The person who manages "our game" (the wiffleball game), Kelly, works for this company.  She is awesome and is very helpful to our mission of bringing kindness to kids and parents.

This fair, like Steele County, has a huge selection of food options.  It's not as large as Steele County but it's one of the larger fairs in the state.  

If you love a good county fair and don't want to travel south, Anoka is a best bet.  The fair runs late July every year.


One of our "top ten" Minnesota county fairs is in Washington County.  The fairgrounds are near both Lake Elmo and Stillwater.

What is it was like about the WCF?  The list is long:

Goats - That's right, goats.  Goats have their own building and it's full of a variety of these wonderful little creatures.  If you've read through our website you know that Michelle is a "goat whisperer" and it's at this fair she gets to spend some serious time with them.

Horses - If you like horses this is your fair.  Washington County, especially north and west of Stillwater, is known for a huge number of horse farms.  At this county fair they have a full horse barn and horse riding events to match.  At this years fair (2023) we spent a great deal of time enjoying kids barrel racing.  It brought back memories for John of when he owned a horse at the age of 11-12 years old and would barrel race with "Honey" at his uncle's Cambridge property.  

Food - Lots of food.  More than most county fairs.  Even with the huge number of food vendors we found a place right outside the goat building selling all-beef $3 hot dogs.  It was a fabulous (and cheap) lunch.

While the carnival did not have our whiffle ball game it was still a very robust operation.  If you have kids they're going to love this carnival.

Parking is plentiful.  If you're needing handicap parking enter from the Highway 5 entrance and it's right up next to the ticket booth.


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