Top 30 Festivals In Minnesota, USA

festivals in mn
| 13 min read

Bordering the Great Lakes and Canada to the north, the state of Minnesota is pretty rich in terms of biodiversity. It is blessed with forests, prairie land and thousands of lakes. The population of the area grew over the 18th and 19th centuries as French fur traders came to the area to trade with the local tribes and since then, Minnesota grew even more with waves of European immigrants in the late 19th and 20th century. Minnesota has always been a place of art and culture with notable musicians like Bob Dylan, Prince, and The Trashmen. Not only music but the art scene is also part of the Minnesota cultural landscape from folk art and music to artists like Charles M Schulz and actress Winona Ryder. If you’re traveling to or live in the area, check out some of these amazing festivals in Minnesota, USA.

1. Dragon Festival

Dragon Boat
Source: Pixabay

The Dragon Festival is held every July in the city of St. Paul and is a perfect way to spend a day outdoors in the summer air and get to know your neighbors. The festival is a celebration focusing on the pan-Asian community of St. Paul through traditional dances, art, and food, as well as some friendly competition through a dragon boat race. The event is non-profit and has been going on for over 19 years now.

Dragon Festival

Address: St. Paul, MN 55104

Website: Dragon Festival

Takes place: July

Price: Free entry

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2. Bayfront Blues Festival

An absolutely gorgeous opening day for the 26th Annual Bayfront Blues Festival.... coming up later tonight: Dan Phelps,...

Posted by Bayfront Blues Festival on Friday, 8 August 2014

The Bayfront Blues Festival is one of the biggest music festivals in the upper midwest area of the United States, so if you’re looking for a big music event, don’t miss this one. With so many musical luminaries coming from Minnesota, it is no surprise that this is one of the biggest events in the year. Summer is winding down so why not party outside with some big names in music and some good friends.

Bayfront Blues Festival

Address: 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN 55802, United States

Website: Bayfront Blues Festival

Takes place: August

Price: 45 - 120 USD

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3. MayDay Parade & Festival

MayDay Parade, Minneapolis (15860151061)
Source: Photo by user Tony Webster used under CC BY 2.0

May Day is a worldwide celebration and while much of North America celebrate labor day in September, Minnesota takes it upon itself to celebrate May Day with the rest of the international working community. The MayDay Parade & Festival is a celebration of community, addressing concerns and contemporary issues as well as visions for a better future. The parade is free and everything is non-profit with tons of workshops open for people to come to see and family-friendly events like puppet shows and mask making.

MayDay Parade & Festival

Address: 1500 East Lake St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407

Website: MayDay Parade & Festival

Takes place: May

Price: Free entry

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4. Big Island Rendezvous and Festival

Giveaway Time! Win a family pass. Just like this post & share it to enter. Winner chosen Sunday night.

Posted by Big Island Rendezvous and Festival on Saturday, 21 September 2019

Come celebrate the history of the state of Minnesota at Big Island Rendezvous and Festival. The event takes place the first weekend in October right around the time the local foliage starts to turn to its fall colors. The event is a celebration of many influential periods in Minnesota’s past like the fur trade years, the colonial period and the civil war era. There are a myriad of entertainment on-site as well as food options and even period-appropriate campgrounds.

Big Island Rendezvous and Festival

Address: 1725 W Main St, Albert Lea, MN 56007, United States

Website: Big Island Rendezvous and Festival

Takes place: October

Price: 15 USD

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5. Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Saint Paul Winter Carnival - Vulcan Snow Park, Minnesota
Source: Photo by user Tony Webster used under CC BY-SA 2.0

As locals know, it can get pretty cold out there in Minnesota, but that doesn’t stop the people from having winter events. The Saint Paul Winter Carnival is one of the oldest festivals in the state as it has been going strong every winter since 1886. There are a bunch of city-wide events that take place throughout the month including a lot of family-friendly activities. Enjoy parades, snow sculpting and even a royal coronation of “Queen of the snows”.

Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Address: 75 W 5th St, St Paul, MN 55102, United States

Website: Saint Paul Winter Carnival

Takes place: January

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6. Minnesota State Fair

2016 Minnesota State Fair 02
Source: Photo by user Runner1928 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Known as the “Great Minnesota Get-Together” the Minnesota State Fair has the record for being the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance. Located adjacent to the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, the festival goes for 12 days before labor day so make sure to get the last vestiges of summer in by heading to this amazing festival. The fair is a massive event with loads of entertainment from comedy shows to music performances and product demonstrations. And let’s not forget the sheer amount of fair food from lobster on a stick to classics like cotton candy.

Minnesota State Fair

Address: 1265 Snelling Ave N, St Paul, MN 55108, United States

Website: Minnesota State Fair

Takes place: August to September

Price: 12 USD

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7. Summer at Orchestra Hall [Previously known as Sommerfest Minneapolis]

Because, Minneapolis, Sommerfest. I call this one.... "Where in the World is Kathy Tauer?". Lol

Posted by Misha Bartlett on Saturday, 3 August 2019

The Minnesota Orchestra has been around since 1903. And since 1980 Sommerfest Minneapolis has been a summer staple event. The festival is a celebration of classical music for music lovers. Most performances are held around the Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis and feature works by such classical composers like Gershwin, Beethoven, and Mozart.

Sommerfest Minneapolis

Address: 1111 Nicollet Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403

Takes place: July to August

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8. Festival of Nations [Last event in 2019]

Hosted by the International Institute, Festival of Nations has been held since 1932. The goal of the events is to bring people together and celebrate the diversity of Minnesota and the rich cultural mosaic that makes up much of the area. Nearly 100 ethnic groups come together to celebrate what makes them different and special through performances, dances, food, and entertainment. The organization aims to always bring in recently arrived immigrants every year so there’s always a diverse showcase.

Festival of Nations

Address: 1694 Como Ave, St Paul, MN 55108, United States

Website: Festival of Nations

Takes place: April to May

Price: 11 - 14 USD

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9. Irish Fair Minnesota

The Irish Fair of Minnesota kicks off today! We’re so excited to welcome you to Harriet Island in Saint Paul this...

Posted by Irish Fair of Minnesota on Friday, 9 August 2019

Irish Fair Minnesota has been happening in St. Paul every year since 2001. Head to downtown St. Paul on the Mississippi and celebrate one of the biggest ethnic groups in the United States, the Irish! Enjoy authentic Irish song and dance as well as family-friendly activities. The festival brings in over 100,000 people yearly making it one of the biggest Irish festivals in the country. The event aims to be as authentic as possible with much of the event being supported and driven by Minnesota locals.

Irish Fair Minnesota

Address: 836 Prior Ave N, St Paul, MN 55104, United States

Website: Irish Fair Minnesota

Takes place: August

Price: 5 USD

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10. Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Source: Photo by user Jonathunder used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Minnesota Renaissance Festival has been around since 1971 and for over 40 years has been a favorite festival of many locals. Although the setting is not very strict, they aim to invoke an atmosphere of 16th-century England-like fantasy kingdom. The event brings in over 25,000 people most of whom are dressed in fantasy-style garments. The festival is generally family-friendly celebrating art and life as well as nature in a medieval setting. The even has garnered tons of acclaim event bringing in some celebrities to joining the festival like Penn and Teller and Jason Mraz.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Address: 12364 Chestnut Blvd, Shakopee, MN 55379, United States

Website: Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Takes place: August to October

Price: 22 - 100 USD

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11. Grumpy Old Men Festival

festivals in mn | grumpy old men festival
Source: instagram

Perhaps one of the most oddly-named festivals in Minnesota takes place every February in the small town of Wabasha. The event celebrates both the lifestyle and stereotypes of “Grumpy old men” by hosting events like cribbage tournaments, bingo, and ice fishing while also hosting charity events like the annual “Grumpy Plunge” which involves jumping into a lake in the middle of February. All of the proceeds go to charitable organizations so be grumpy for a good cause.

Grumpy Old Men Festival

Address: Wabasha MN, 55981

Website: Grumpy Old Men Festival

Takes place: February

Price: Free entry

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12. Grand Old Day

Come kick off the summer season with a quarter million of your friends and neighbors at #GRANDOLDDAY! This Sunday, June 3rd #hellosummer #familyfun #fun #funinthesun #sunshine #food #livemusic #community

Posted by Grand Avenue on Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Grand Old Day is a St. Paul favorite. Celebrating everything the city has to offer, Grand Old Day takes place every June and is almost like a microcosm of everything fun the city has to offer all packed into a convenient location. Located in St. Pauls Grand Avenue, there is a parade, music and shows, as well as a variety of vendors selling food and goods. For the adults, don’t forget to hit up the pub crawl and head to some of St. Pauls’s favorite bars.

Grand Old Day

Address: 619-1827 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105, United States

Website: Grand Old Day

Takes place: June

Price: 10 USD

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13. Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival [Last event in 2019]

On Friday, June 23, and Saturday, June 24, the Hjemkomst Center and Viking Ship Park will be the site of the 40th Annual...

Posted by Minnesota Renaissance Festival on Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Many people from Scandinavia immigrated to this area of the United States in the 18th and 19th centuries and the heritage of the people lives on to this day. Although the Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival might be hard to pronounce but that doesn’t matter as the festival is a celebration of all things Scandinavian. The event is about history and community showcasing Scandinavian art, music, food, and culture. Enjoy checking out a recreation of a Viking village or a nordic marketplace all while learning about this interesting part of the world.

Scandinavian Hjemkomst Festival

Address: 202 1st Ave N Moorhead, MN 56560

Takes place: June

Price: 15 USD

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14. Minneapolis Aquatennial

Minneapolis, Minnesota
Source: Photo by user GPA Photo Archive used under CC BY 2.0

Minnesota is known as the land of 10,000 lakes so there’s no surprise that celebrating the aquatic life is something that many Minnesotans hold dear. The Minneapolis Aquatennial is a celebration of all the rivers, lakes and streams in the state. The festival is host to over 70 events and is usually held in the heat of the summer in July. There are tons of great events and activities like beach volleyball, parades, triathlons, and even sandcastle competitions. The annual milk carton boat race is a big event and their fireworks display is even larger than the fourth of July display.

Minneapolis Aquatennial

Address: 801 S Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402, United States

Website: Minneapolis Aquatennial

Takes Place: July

Price: Free entry

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15. Grand Celebration Powwow [Last event in 2019]

Grand Portage Pow Wow 2009
Source: Photo by user Wpwatchdog used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Since 1992 the Grand Celebration Powwow has been a part of the local Native community in the state. Bringing in people and tribe members from all around Minnesota as well as Canada, the Grand Celebration Powwow is open to everyone regardless of race or creed. Watch the dancers engage in traditional dance and listen to the drum circles pounding away rhythmically. There are competitions and prizes to be won as well as tons of food and art.

Grand Celebration Powwow

Address: Grand Casino Hinckley Powwow Grounds 777 Lady Luck Drive Hinckley, MN 55037

Takes place: June

Price: Free

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16. Homegrown Music Festival

The Minnesota Homegrown Kickoff Music Festival was great! Despite a little rain and a little cold (hey, it's May in...

Posted by Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association on Friday, 5 June 2015

Homegrown Music Festival is all about the music coming from the Minnesota area. The festival was started by a local man named DJ Starfire who started his own radio station in his basement, staffed by his friends’ volunteering. After gaining some notoriety the radio station and DJ Starfire got more and more acquainted with local musicians, eventually launching the Homegrown Music Festival with its first iteration in 1999. The event is non-profit and takes place on the shores of Lake Superior every May.

Homegrown Music Festival

Address: Regner Park, West Bend, Minnesota, United States

Website: Homegrown Music Festival

Takes place: May

Price: 10 - 30 USD

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17. Blueberry Art Festival

The Blueberry/Art Festival is a juried art and craft show running from July 27-29 at Whiteside Park in Ely, Minnesota....

Posted by Blueberry/Art Festival on Thursday, 7 June 2018

Enjoy an afternoon (or a few days) out in the Minnesota summer sun at Blueberry Art Festival. Hosted in the little town of Ely, Minnesota, the Blueberry Art Festival is full of music and art as well as tons of locally made crafts. Buy or simply browse through tons of handcrafted leather goods or woodcarvings as well as a variety of handcrafted pottery, paintings, and jewelry.

Blueberry Art Festival

Address: Whiteside Park 721 E Sheridan St, Ely, MN, United States

Website: Blueberry Art Festival

Takes Place: July

Price: Free entry

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18. Folkways of the Holidays

There’s nothing quite little as a little town fun during the holiday season. Folkways of the Holidays is a tradition in Shakopee, Minnesota, and it is one of the best ways of bringing the community together. The holidays are deeply rooted in traditions with many different ones found all throughout the world. The Folkways of the Holidays festival brings those traditions closer to home by bringing many of the holiday traditions, found throughout the world, to small-town Shakopee. Experience traditions from Germany, Scandinavia, Irish, Czech, French Canadian, and even Jewish holiday traditions.

Folkways of the Holidays

Address: 2187 CH 101 Trail, Shakopee, MN, 55379, USA

Website: Folkways of the Holidays

Takes place: December

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19. The Wizard Of Oz Festival [Last event in 2019]

For fans of the movie or simply people with kids who want to take them out to a cool activity, check out The Wizard Of Oz Festival. The festival takes place in Grand Rapids because movie’s star Judy Garland was born in Grand Rapids. Although she only spent a short four years of her life here, the festival is one of the most important ones in remembrance of the Wizard of Oz. Check out the Judy Garland Museum and get your face painted like the characters, then catch a showing of the legendary movie.

The Wizard Of Oz Festival

Address: So 2727, US-169, Grand Rapids, MN, United States

Website: The Wizard Of Oz Festival

Takes place: June

Price: 40 USD

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20. Mankato Craft Beer Expo

Celebrating the best of craft brewers in Minnesota, Mankato Craft Beer Expo brings everything beer-related straight to you. Taste and sample some delicious brews from all across the state as well as the country. Buy a commemorative sample glass and enjoy an evening of live music, informative talks and of course, some delicious food to go along with your beer. You’re bound to find your new favorite!

Mankato Craft Beer Expo

Address: 1 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato, MN 56001, United States

Website: Mankato Craft Beer Expo

Takes place: January

Price: 15 - 100 USD

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21. Barnesville Potato Days

We will be at Barnesville Potato Days this coming Friday and Saturday August 24th and 25th. We will have our German Nut...

Posted by Kreps Family Farm on Saturday, 18 August 2018

Come celebrate one of the world’s most diverse vegetables, the potato! Barnesville Potato Days takes place in the small town of Barnesville which is one of the biggest potato producing regions in the area. The festival takes place over two days and although the spud is the star of the show, the event is also a nod to the history of the area as potato was the crop that lead to the prosperity of the area. There’s a little something for everyone here from the little kids to the adults. Enjoy competitions like a peeling contest or simply indulge in some potato goodness like fresh-cut french fries and an assortment of other tasty potato products.

Barnesville Potato Days

Address: 124 Front St S, Barnesville, MN 56514, United States

Website: Barnesville Potato Days

Takes place: August

Price: Free entry

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22. Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Get into the festive spirit early by checking out Bentleyville Tour of Lights. Taking place in Duluth, Minnesota, the event is one of America’s largest walk-through light displays. The event first started in 2001 when a man named Nathan Bently decorated his entire home in Christmas lights. Then he decorated more an more until it became a yearly event. The location changed to accommodate the number of people coming to see the lights and now there are fire pits to warm up by and even a Santa for the kids to see.

Bentleyville Tour Of Lights

Address: 704 W Railroad St, Duluth, MN 55802, United States

Website: Bentleyville Tour Of Lights

Takes place: November to December

Price: Free entry

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23. Celtic Festival

Listen to the bagpipes
Source: Pixabay

Celebrating the Celtic people of the seven nations of Wales, Scotland, Brittany, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Galicia, and Ireland, this yearly March event is a fun way to explore a heritage that is important to the fabric of not only the state of Minnesota but the United States as a whole. Enjoy exhibitions and activities and try out some traditional Celtic food while taking part in some amazing hands-on displays. The Celtic Festival is a great time for the whole family.

Celtic Festival

Address: 202 1st Ave N Moorhead, MN 56560

Website: Celtic Festival

Takes place: March

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24. New Ulm Oktoberfest

The town of New Ulm takes its name from a German town of the same name. Keeping its German heritage alive New Ulm celebrates one of the best Oktobest’s in the country. The event takes place in the historic center of New Ulm and there are parades, floats and tons of great traditional art and music to really give New Ulm Oktoberfest that real authentic German feel. Local beer is served and many of the locals show up in traditional German lederhosen and dirndls. New Ulm was populated by German settlers in the 1880s and they’ve passed down their culture that is celebrated to this day.

New Ulm Oktoberfest

Address: 2101 S Broadway St, New Ulm, MN 56073, United States

Website: New Ulm Oktoberfest

Takes Place: October

Price: 10 - 80 USD

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25. Lakeville Art Festival

Located in the historic center of Lakeville in Minnesota, Lakeville Art Festival is one of the finest art festivals in the state. The festival takes place every year at the end of September. There are over 100 artists that come and display their work and those looking to spruce up their home can buy something unique or try your hand at making something yourself at one the many hands-on art booths. The event is a great time for kids and the whole family.

Lakeville Art Festival

Address: 20965 Holyoke Ave, Lakeville, MN 55044, United States

Website: Lakeville Art Festival

Takes place: September

Price: Free entry

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26. Blaine World Fest

Bringing the world to the city of Blaine, Minnesota, the Blaine World Fest celebrates everything the international community has to offer. Blain might be a small town but during this event, it certainly feels like a world city. The Blaine World Fest brings people and cultures together to celebrate the best of everyone. Check out traditional dances and music as well as some delicious food and beautiful art displays. Admission is free and the event brings in over 200 people a year coming from all walks of life.

Blaine World Fest

Address: Town Square Park, Blaine Minnesota

Website: Blaine World Fest

Takes place: September

Price: Free entry

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27. World Savvy Festival [Last event in April]

Source: Pixabay

Continuing on the trend of bringing the world to the people of Minnesota, the World Savvy Festival is a perfect event for kids. Inspiring the world leaders of tomorrow, this event aims to bring understanding to the young people of Minnesota. Kids from all around the area gather here and learn about the world while taking part in activities that further their understanding of it.

World Savvy Festival

Address: 6202 Bloomington Rd, St Paul, MN, United States

Website: World Savvy Festival

Take Place: April

Price: Free entry

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28. Frost Fest

As the holiday season is soon upon us, the Baudette Depot is gearing up for Frost Fest November 19th, which is when we will again be lighting the Depot and a very special addition to it this year!!!

Posted by Vince Ojard on Monday, 7 November 2016

Frost Fest is a relatively new festival in Minnesota but it is quickly becoming a fan favorite. Just because it is November and the weather is getting kinda chilly, that doesn’t mean the people of Minnesota can’t come out and enjoy some of the frosty weather. Frost Fest is fun for the whole family where kids can enjoy a DJ and art area and adults can try out some locally made beer and sample some amazing food from local producers. There are competitions, snow golf, live music, and even a homebrew competition, so if you’re someone who makes your own alcohol, make sure to bring your best brew and compete.

Frost Fest

Address: Walker City Park, Walker Minnesota

Website: Frost Fest

Takes place: Usually held in February

Price: Free entry

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29. Apple Fest

Posted by Gays Mills Apple Queen on Monday, 30 September 2019

For those that live in northern climates, you know what the change in seasons from summer to fall means. The crisp cool morning air, leaves changing colors and tons and tons of delicious apples to be picked! Apple picking is a tradition that is celebrated throughout the country and Canada so it comes as no surprise that Apple Fest is one big yearly event when the apple harvest comes in. Apple Fest in La Crescent Minnesota has been around since 1949 so the event is pretty much ingrained in the local culture. Over 20,000 people have attended the event in the first year alone and its always gotten more and more popular since then. Profits from the event are given to local charities so don’t miss the opening day parade, live music and tons of and tons of delicious apples

Apple Fest

Address: Abnet Field. La Crescent MN

Website: Apple Fest

Takes place: September

Price: Free entry

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30. Arts in the Park

Art in the Park

Posted by Habberstad House Bed and Breakfast on Sunday, 16 June 2019

Art can take on many forms and many different interpretations and that’s what Arts in the Park tries to convey. Taking place in Forest Lake, Minnesota, the festival brings everyone together to celebrate the varying forms of art. The event is a family-friendly environment that is perfect for a family day out in the park. People from all over the town as well as from a few towns over, bring their best art here to show and demonstrate their work. There is also live music performances and plenty of hands-on displays that are both fun for adults and kids who want to play and get their hands a little dirty. On top of all that there are food trucks available to sample some tasty dishes from local vendors as well as a farmer’s market so you can stock up on some freshly grown or freshly made fruits and vegetables.

Arts in the Park

Address: 426 Bemidji Ave N, Bemidji, MN 56601, United States

Website: Arts in the Park

Takes place: Usually held in July

Price: Free entry

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Minnesota's festivals

After spending some time in Minnesota it will occur to you pretty quickly that the people here love to celebrate. And they love to celebrate everything. The diversity that made the state what it is and the people that came here, even over a hundred years ago, still have celebrations dedicated to them and people who just arrived here recently get celebrations dedicated to their culture. Not only that, music and art is so popular here that it should come as no surprise since the state of Minnesota brought so many artists and musicians to the world. So whether you’re into food, culture, music, art or even jumping into one of Minnesota’s cold lakes, there is a festival for you. So head out there and experience the best of Minnesota!

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Alex is a Canadian university graduate with degrees in English literature and History. He was born in Montreal and when he's not traveling he enjoys movies, video games, playing the drums and...Read more

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