Come hungry: Food and drink festivals across Minnesota
Foodies and beer lovers have a lot to celebrate this summer with an abundance of festivals planned across the state. Here’s where to find the good stuff.
Celebrating one food at a time
Lake George Blueberry Festival
From July 27-29, downtown Lake George will be jammed with blueberries. The festival celebrates everyone’s favorite tiny blue fruit with an assortment of treats, an ice cream social (also great with blueberries), a parade and a concert. It’s free family-friendly fun.
Bean Hole Days in Pequot Lakes
On July 10, humungous kettles full of beans, containing a “secret” recipe of beans, sugar, molasses and other ingredients, will be mixed and buried in Pequot Lakes in an annual ceremony — hence the “hole” in “bean hole.” The event will be accompanied by a community picnic and fun activities for kids. After cooking underground overnight, the beans will be unearthed and served up at a community celebration July 11 at noon — along with a craft fair and the crowning of Queen and King Bean.
Rhubarb Festival in Duluth
More crafts, music and games can be found in Duluth on June 23 — along with jams, baked goods and lots of other rhubarb infused delicacies. Admission is free but bring cash or credit card to bring the treats home. If you find you already have an abundance of it in your garden, you can drop your rhubarb off at several locations around the city — but try to remove those leaves!
Potato Days in Burnsville
French fries, lefse, pancakes, mashed — is there anything potatoes can’t do? Burnsville will be spending August 24 and 25 celebrating this versatile vegetable. There will be contests, a variety of entertainment and sporting events — including mashed potato wrestling and potato sack racing.
Awake the Lakes Ribfest in Alexandria
This rib themed festival will be taking place, rain or shine, on June 23. Enjoy live music from Eli Brown and KC Johns, a beer garden, inflatable games for the kids and a beanbag toss tournament. Rib serving starts at 5 p.m. and the night will end with a bang when the fireworks show starts at dusk over Lake Agnes.
Wild Rice Festival in Deer River
This festival, now in its 70th year, is a celebration of one of Minnesota’s most precious natural foods. The three-day event starts July 6 and will include a powwow, live music, a “Wild Rice Run,” a flea market and lots of different foods to try.
Olivia Corn Capital Days
For a full week the town of Olivia, Minn. — “Corn Capital of the World” — will be holding community events starting July 23. Starting with a token hunt, cookout, kids’ triathlon and more, things really kick into gear over the weekend with a downtown festival complete with vendors, live music and a street dance. More music and games precede Saturday’s Corn Capital Days Grand Parade through town.
Big Island Bar-B-Que Championship in Albert Lea
You might want to bring a Wet-Nap or 10 to this steak, chili and chicken wing competition, featuring chefs from around the Midwest. Watch the cookoffs unfold August 24 at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds and grab some grub of your own. A lineup of entertainment is also promised, but specifics have not yet been announced.
Roll out the food trucks
Another great thing about summer is it makes running after your favorite food truck so much easier. If you don’t have a favorite yet, find yours at one of these food truck-themed festivals:
Bring on the booze
Remember, all things in moderation and don’t drink and drive.
Hopped Up Caribou Festival in Lutsen
Enjoy a bevy of brews and variation of views at the Caribou Highlands Lodge from July 13-15. In addition to the beer, this festival offers music, food and free time to just explore the natural area surrounding the lodge. There are trails to hike, bike and climb — or you could just sleep off a few beers in the sun. If you’re feeling romantic, there will be rapid fire weddings and vow renewals on Saturday. They also claim to be “the dog-friendliest beer festival in Minnesota,” so don’t forget Fido!
Waconia Wine Festival
If beer isn’t your thing, head to Waconia July 28-29 for a tour of the three wineries that surround the town. Each stop provides unique blends, food and games. Cost is $10 at the gate of each winery, for which you get a wine glass and a tasting — might as well collect the whole set!
Summer Beer Dabbler in St. Paul
Take yourself out to CHS Field August 25 for the chance to sample hundreds of different beers from over 120 different breweries. The field will be opening several of the stadium’s food stands so you can also satisfy the ballpark food craving that’ll hit when you walk through the doors. If you just can’t wait, there will be a slightly smaller Beer Dabbler on June 22 at Loring Park in Minneapolis to kick off Twin Cities Pride weekend.
All Pints North in Duluth
Rain or shine it’s drinking time at Bayfront Festival Park on July 28. This festival, put on by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild, will have over 120 breweries participating. There will also be food and vendor booths and you’re encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket so you can relax between tastings. The organization also plans to bring an educational aspect to the festival, sharing specifics on the brewing experience.
Bacon and Beer Classic in St. Paul
Talk about a power couple. Another festival hosted at CHS Field, this event will feature over 100 different beers from breweries around the region as well as over 30 unique bacon dishes from local chefs. There will be fun and games, including a bacon eating contest and a blind beer taste test. Come thirsty and hungry on July 14.