News release: Minnesota DNR adds new entertainment, presentations to 2023 State Fair lineup

August 17, 2023

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ building and surrounding grounds at the Minnesota State Fair (which runs from Aug. 24 to Sept. 4) will feature new musicians, presentations and activities in addition to popular attractions from previous years.

“Every year, I look forward to connecting with people at the Great Minnesota Get Together as they visit the DNR fish pond, climb the fire tower, ask questions, and share their passion for our state’s unique natural resources,” said DNR Commissioner Sarah Strommen. “Visiting the DNR at the state fair is an interactive and fun way to find out more about outdoor recreation experiences and conservation efforts in Minnesota. DNR staff and I are eager to see you there!”  

The Minnesota DNR’s iconic State Fair log building opened 89 years ago in 1934, and its park-like location provides fairgoers with a unique opportunity to experience the outdoors among State Fair carnival rides and food stands.

Some of the activities visitors can enjoy at the Minnesota DNR building and surrounding grounds include:

  • Visiting an outdoor fish pond and listening to a talk about Minnesota fish
  • Asking DNR staff questions
  • Learning about outdoor recreation opportunities
  • Enjoying music or a presentation at an outdoor stage
  • Taking a picture in front of giant butterfly wings or in a giant hiking boot

The Minnesota DNR’s building and surrounding grounds are located at the corner of Carnes Ave. and Nelson St. in Falcon Heights. The building is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily during the fair. 

What’s new in 2023?

Parks and Trails Careers: Aug. 24 at 11 a.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • Several staff with the Minnesota DNR Parks and Trails Division will share their unique and interesting careers within the Minnesota state parks and trails system.

Parks and Trails Trivia: Aug. 24 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • At 1 p.m., children can test their natural resources knowledge by participating in a Minnesota state parks and trails trivia challenge. A trivia challenge for adults will happen at 3 p.m. on the stage and via Facebook Live.

Smokey Bear Sing-Along: Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • Sing and dance with Smokey Bear and his friends during this family-friendly event. Children will have fun and learn about fire safety and wildfire prevention.

Wildland Fire Careers, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • The audience will hear from some of the Minnesota DNR wildland fire professionals in-person or online via Facebook live to learn about the wide array of opportunities, possible career paths, and challenges, and why a job in wildfire is important.

Mountain Biking in Minnesota: Aug. 29 at 11 a.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • The Minnesota Cycling Association will provide information and demonstrations on how to start mountain biking, one of the fastest growing sports in Minnesota.

Outdoor Skills Fun and Games: Aug. 29 at 1 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • The hosts of the Minnesota DNR’s Outdoor Skills and Stewardship program will engage the audience in fun and interactive games to test participants’ outdoor skills and knowledge.

Mississippi Speed Record: Aug. 29 at 3 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • Scott Miller will tell the story of his four-man paddling team’s epic adventure from Lake Itasca to river mile marker zero south of New Orleans. The trip set the new world record for the fastest paddle down the Mississippi River at 16 days, 20 hours and 16 minutes.

Marv Gohman & Kaatwalk: Aug. 30-31 at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • This high-energy band will feature instrumental sounds from violin, banjo, harmonica, piano, mandolin, and guitars.

The Raptor Center: Aug. 30 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • The Raptor Center, a world-renowned wildlife rehabilitation and education facility, will return to the State Fair to educate the audience about owls, falcons, hawks, eagles, and more.

Marvelous Monarchs: Aug. 31 at 11 a.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • Monarch Joint Venture will share information about monarchs, conservation efforts and ways individuals can help this iconic species recover from population decline.

What’s the Buzz About Pollinators?: Aug. 31 at 1 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • Experts from the Environmental Quality Board and the Minnesota DNR will share important facts and tips about pollinators and their habitats.

Animals of the Mississippi, Sept. 2 at 1 and 3 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center will talk about the amazing animals that call Minnesota home, including amphibians and reptiles. The audience will get a chance to meet animals that live near the St. Croix River.

South 40 Band: Sept. 3 at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., DNR Volunteer Outdoor Stage

  • South 40 is a country and variety band that regularly performs throughout Minnesota.

New daily activities and attractions include: a Nature Store in the Minnesota state parks and trails center, an augmented reality sandbox for kids of all ages to learn about Minnesota’s landscapes and geography, raptor displays and flying demonstrations, a partner booth from the Minnesota Historical Society and a Keep It Clean fish house trailer. For more information and to find a complete schedule of DNR attractions and activities at the fair, visit the Minnesota DNR website.

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