Food, carnival rides, animals, and fun return to the Northland as the summer county fair season kicks off around the region. Coming off a year when festivals and big gatherings weren't able to happen, there's lots of excitement around getting back to enjoy the fun the region's county fairs offer.
The area's fairs kick off in early July, and span all the way through August, giving people across the Northland the opportunity to hit several of the area's fairs through the later half of summer.
Here is a schedule and some highlights from each of this year's area fairs:
Aitkin County Fair: July 7 - July 10, 2021
This year marks the 130th Aitkin County Fair, which happens at the Aitkin County Fairgrounds in Aitkin, Minnesota. The midway will be open through the course of the fair, and some of the highlights of the grandstand include bus races, Baja rally races, and stock car races.
Some other things on the schedule include music from Mike & Jan Cherry on Wednesday and Christian McShane on Thursday pickle judging (yum!) Thursday as well, and a classic tractor parade on Saturday.
Admission is free, and parking is $5 per vehicle per day.
Head of the Lakes Fair: July 20 - July 25, 2021
As was detailed earlier this week on our website, one of the Twin Ports area's fair traditions kicks off on Tuesday, July 20 a the fairgrounds on the south side of Superior. This year's fair includes several days of live outdoor music, car races Thursday and Friday, meat bingo on Thursday, barrel racing and BMX stunts Saturday, and much more with carnival rides, food and more all waiting for visitors.
Admission is free for ages 9 and under, ages 10 -17 and 65+ are $5, all Military with ID also get in for $5, everyone else is $8. Onsite parking is also available for $3. Tuesday, July 20th is their 'Sneak-a-Peek' day, all gate admission is free for everyone!
Washburn County Fair: July 22 - July 25, 2021
This marks the 109th Washburn County Fair, with the public welcome starting Thursday, July 22 for things like the carnival (daily), a horse show, and kiddy tractor pull. Friday includes a horse pull, music with Les Millard Jr. and Cool to the Touch in the evening. Saturday will see a visit from Pickles the Clown, a show & sale auction, and music from 2nd Time Around. Sunday includes highlights like the Veggie 500 race, Whips and Wheels, and a talent show in the afternoon.
- $5 per carload for fair visitors
- $2 per person for walk-in visitors
- $10 season pass available for access through the whole fair
South St. Louis County Fair - July 28 - August 1, 2021
One of the Twin Ports fair traditions returns for five days of fun, with the midway and inflatable carnival opening on Wednesday, July 28. Thursday is senior day, with music from Todd Eckart and Road Kill Band on the roster for the evening. Friday includes highlights like monster trucks and music from the Silver Streak Band. Saturday includes more monster trucks and music from Sweet Freedom, and Sunday features a talent contest and stock car racing at the Proctor Speedway.
Plenty of other things go on through the fair, including 4H events, free cornhole games with some tournaments scheduled, and more!
$10 all-day ride wristbands
$5 for a daily pass, and $15 for a weekly pass
Pine County Fair: August 3 - August 8, 2021
Pine City, MN
Labeling themselves the "Greater Minnesota Get-together", the Pine County Fair includes a talent show and roster of action at the grandstand that includes a truck pull on Wednesday, tractor pull on Thursday, and demolition derby both Friday and Saturday night.
You can buy a wristband for all of the grandstand events for $40.
There's also a roster of music and shows, with stuff planned for each day of the fair at the bandshell and in the event center.
Parking and admission to the fairgrounds are free.
North St. Louis County Fair: August 4 - August 8, 2021
Gates open at 3 pm on Wednesday the 4th, and the week's events include senior day on Thursday, kids day on Friday, family day on Saturday, and things wrap up with one more day of fun for all on Sunday.
Music this year at the fair will include Casey Aro, Red Dirt Rendezvous, Pat & Donna Surface, 4-Blue Teardrops, Sweet Freedom and Joe Filipovich.
You'll also be able to hit rides and games on the midway, catch some bull riding, tractor pull, draft horse demonstration, ATV show, stock car show, and more! You can see the full daily schedule here.
- Seniors 62+: $7
- Adults 19+: $8
- Teenagers 13-18: $6
- Kids 6-12: $3
- 5 and younger: Free
Lake County Fair: August 5 - August 8, 2021
Two Harbors, MN
Gates for the Lake County Fair open to the public on Thursday, August 5, with ag barns, food, booths, and the midway awaiting through the fair. There's also a 3k run on Thursday as well as talent contest on the commercials stage.
Friday includes live entertainment along with MWA Professional Wrestling in the commercial building. You can also score some free ice cream and popcorn courtesy of Super One Foods on Friday!
Saturday includes events like a watermelon eating contest and live music, and the fair concludes Sunday with barrel races and a series of contests like a hay bale toss and frying pan toss as well as a blindfolded lawn mower race.
Bayfield County Fair: August 12- August 15, 2021
Iron River, WI
Aside from the normal fair things like booths, food, live music, and the midway, some of the highlights for the fair include grandstand events like Friday's Cincinnati Circus, Saturday's Division Stunt Team, and Sunday's Dirt Dash and kids power wheel races.
Admission (for ages 5 and up):
- Thursday: $10
- Friday/Saturday/Sunday: $12
- Veterans get in for $5 on Friday with valid ID
- Seniors 62+ get in Sunday for $5
- Kids 4 and under get in free
- 4-day passes are available for $30
Itasca County Fair: August 18 - August 22, 2021
Grand Rapids, MN
Five days of fun kick off on Wednesday, August 18, with stock car and enduro races on deck for some of the scheduled events listed by fair organizers for this year. The fairgrounds also has a campground, so you can make your fair visit a multi-day affair to enjoy food, exhibits, games, and other events.
Carlton County Fair: August 19 - August 22, 2021
Four days of fair fun kick off on Thursday, August 18, when gates open to the public at 11 am. The midway opens later in the day for the fair, and a ventriloquist puts on a couple shows Thursday before the grandstand headlining tractor pull on Thursday night. There will also be music from The White Keys in the Pavilion.
Friday includes lots of 4H activities, the Chmielewski Fun Time Band will play during the day, oval races at the grandstand, and music from Street Talk in the Pavilion. Saturday includes music, a teen dance, and demolition derby. Sunday includes horse races, figure-8 races, and music including regional favorites Whiskey Trail.
$8 gate fee for adults, $3 for kids under 12, free for kids 5 and under
Ashland County Fair: August 19 - August 22, 2021
So this is pretty cool! The fair features free rides and grandstand event access all weekend with paid admission to the fair. While the fair's website doesn't offer a lot of specifics for this year's event as they plan around COVID-19, they highlight the traditions of carnival rides, visiting 4H exhibits, and food.
Their Facebook page highlights planned grandstand events like a tractor pull, Lake State Mud Runners, a lawn mower & ATV pull, Dirty Dash, and more.