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Fireworks and foods on sticks. Courtesy Minnesota State Fair

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Minnesota State Fair

Daily from Aug. 25-Sept. 4
6-12 a.m.
Sept. 5
6 a.m.-10 p.m.
$11-$13
Art, Festivals, Food and Drink

The State Fair has a singular status as a summer’s-end must, but the Great Minnesota Get-Together isn’t resting on its laurels. With each passing year, there are fewer mediocre food purveyors and more high-end eateries like the Blue Barn. For fans of suds, the State Fair is now essentially a craft beer festival with a giant slide. This year’s new food list includes Spam sushi, candied bacon doughnut sliders, and paneer on a stick. The State Fair also calls itself “Minnesota’s largest music festival,” and it’s certainly the most eclectic. This year’s big news at the Grandstand is the two-night stand by the Dixie Chicks, with both shows instantly sold out. But don’t worry, tickets are still available for Don Henley, Weezer, Bonnie Raitt, a Lovato-Jonas double bill, and the indefatigable Turtles. Hundreds of free music shows will include a Leinie Lodge set from Billy Bob Thornton and his band the Boxmasters, with local notables like Sonny Knight and Reina del Cid taking the Schell’s Stage. For livestock aficionados, this year’s most joyful news is that the birds are coming back. Last year, poultry were yanked and people looking for those adorable chicks at the Miracle of Birth Center had to settle for cows licking amniotic fluid off their calves. With avian flu now at bay, fairgoers can once again count their chickens (as well as eat them). Visit www.mnstatefair.org for more info.