Whether you go for food, rides, animals, music, or other entertainment, county fairs are a fun annual tradition across Northern Minnesota & Wisconsin. With summer now in full swing, we're into fair season across the Northland!
The area's fair season kicks off in early July, and runs into August, providing several opportunities to enjoy summertime and the fun fairs offer.
Here is a schedule and some highlights from each of this year's area fairs:
2023 Northern Minnesota & Wisconsin County Fair Schedule
Aitkin County Fair: July 5 - July 8, 2023
This year marks the 132nd 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 & stock car races, Baja rally races, stock car races, and Mud Rhythm Mega Truck races.
Some other things on the schedule include music from the Chicago tribute band DTA on Wednesday and Blind Joe (from The Voice) on Friday as well as pickle judging on Thursday (yum!), and a classic tractor parade on Saturday.
Admission is free, and parking is $5 per vehicle per day.
South St. Louis County Fair - July 6 - July 9, 2023
One of the Twin Ports fair traditions returns for four days of fun, with the midway and petting zoo throughout the fair's four days. Other highlights include live music from Todd Eckart (Thursday), The White Sidewalls (Friday), and Silver Streak Band (Saturday), along with rodeo action on Friday night and racing on Sunday.
Plenty of other things go on through the fair, including 4H events, free cornhole games with some tournaments scheduled, and more!
$5 for a daily pass, and $15 for a weekly pass
Washburn County Fair: July 27 - July 30, 2023
This marks the 111th Washburn County Fair, with the public welcome starting Thursday, July 27 for things like the carnival (daily), a horse show, and live music from the Shell Lake Arts Center Show Choir and The Dweebs.
Friday includes a kiddy tractor pull, Veteran's program, and live music from the Chad Edwards Band. Saturday will be highlighted by Chris Kroeze performing in the evening, and Sunday includes highlights like the Veggie 500 race, Whips and Wheels, and a talent show in the afternoon.
- $10 per carload for fair visitors
- $5 per person for walk-in visitors
- $20 season pass available for access through the whole fair
Head of the Lakes Fair: August 1 - August 5, 2023
The fairgrounds in Superior will be abuzz to kick off August this year, with festivities getting underway on Tuesday, August 1 with gates opening at 5 pm for the free "sneak-a-peek" night that also includes meat bingo and dirt track racing getting underway at 7 pm.
Some of the highlights for this year include carnival rides, live music Wednesday through Saturday, lumberjack shows on August 2 and 3, Midwest All-Star Wrestling on August 3, free dirt track racing on August 4, and demo derby & kids demo derby as well as MMA "Beat Downs at the Fairgrounds" on August 5.
(North) St. Louis County Fair: August 2 - August 6, 2023
Not to be confused with the other St. Louis County Fair in Proctor, this Iron Range-based version of the St. Louis County Fair gives the largest county in Minnesota a second fair to enjoy.
Gates open at 3 pm on Wednesday the 2nd, and the week's events include bull riding on Thursday, kids day on Friday, all-day horse show activities on Saturday, and things wrap up with one more day of fun for all on Sunday.
Music this year at the fair will include the Iron Range Funk Band, “Doc” Thronson Band, Bitter Sweet Band, and 4-Dudes Band.
You'll also be able to hit rides and games on the midway, catch a tractor pull, draft horse demonstration, ATV show, and more! You can see the full daily schedule here.
- Seniors (62+): $5
- Adults (16-61): $10
- Kids (6-15): $5
- 5 and younger: Free
Pine County Fair: August 2 - August 6, 2023
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 on both Friday and Saturday night.
You can buy a wristband for all of the grandstand events for $50.
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.
Lake County Fair: August 10 - August 13, 2023
Two Harbors, MN
Gates for the Lake County Fair open to the public on Thursday, August 10, with four days of fair fun on the docket in Two Harbors. Limited details were available at the time of this article being published, but you can get see the full schedule and get more information on the Lake County Fair website when it becomes available.
Bayfield County Fair: August 10- August 13, 2023
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 monster truck activities Friday and Saturday and "Dirt Dash" on Sunday.
Admission (includes parking, grandstand shows, and all entertainment):
- Daily admission: $15/person (only $10 on Thursday)
- Season pass for the duration of the fair: $30/person
- Veterans: $5 on Friday
- Seniors (62+): $5 on Sunday
Itasca County Fair: August 16 - August 20, 2023
Grand Rapids, MN
Five days of fun kick off on Wednesday, August 16, with stock car races headlining the first day of the 130th Itasca County Fair. Live music, bike giveaways, stock car and enduro races, and more are all on the schedule for this year's fair. 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.
Admission to the fair is free, with parking either $10 per day or $20 for the duration of the fair.
Carlton County Fair: August 17 - August 20, 2023
Four days of fair fun kick off on Thursday, August 17, when gates open to the public at 11 am. The midway opens later in the day for the fair, and a tractor pull headlines the grandstand for opening night.
Friday will include a comedian and live music around the fairgrounds and horse show and oval races at the grandstand to end the evening. Saturday includes bingo, a teen dance, and a demolition derby at the grandstand. Sunday includes ventriloquist shows, horse races, and figure-8 and bus races at the grandstand.
$10 gate fee for adults, $5 for kids under 6-11, free for kids 5 and under with grandstand events $10 for adults and $5 for kids
Ashland County Fair: August 17 - August 20, 2023
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 yet, they highlight the traditions of carnival rides, visiting 4H exhibits, and food.
- Thursday & Sunday: $12 (ages 4+)
- Friday & Saturday: $15 (ages 4+)
- Senior daily passes (62+): $5
- Ages 4+: $30 ($25 in advance)
- Seniors (62+): $10
You can get the latest updates on the Ashland County Fair website.