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See U of M Extension at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair!

4-H building at the Minnesota State Fair

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, Extension news media manager,, 612-626-4077 (office) or 651-492-0811 (mobile).

If you go to the "Great Minnesota Get-Together," be sure to participate in fun and educational University of Minnesota Extension opportunities. Extension discovers science-based solutions, delivers practical education and engages Minnesotans to build a better future.

Here is where to see Extension at the fair:

4-H building, barns and other locations

One in five people who attend the state fair visit the 4-H Building. That's more than 320,000 in 12 days!

See the 4-H State Fair website, or use the free "4-H at the Minnesota State Fair" app for event schedules, Arts-In performance times, results, announcements and maps. Find the app by visiting the website. The first weekend of the fair is livestock encampment. Highlights below are just a sampling of the many 4-H activities.
  • Ongoing: Nearly 6,000 youth participate, showing exhibits, performing in shows and showing livestock. These activities feature the knowledge and skills 4-H'ers have acquired throughout the year. 4-H'ers show more than 3,000 livestock animals. 
  • Ongoing: Exciting scientific activities to try in the 4-H building include augmented reality about aquatic invasive species. 
  • Ongoing: Watch "Chef for a day" cooking presentations, offered daily (often twice).
  • Aug. 24, 10-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.: In the 4-H Engineer Design Challenge, youth design and build machines to create a chain reaction to accomplish a very simple task. This year's Engineer Design Challenge is to plant a seed and water it. 
  • Aug. 24, 2:00 p.m.: 4-H beef championship, Warner Coliseum.
  • Aug. 25, 8:30 a.m.: Chicken BBQ Contest, east side of Warner Coliseum. 
  • Aug. 25, 5:45 p.m.: Purple Ribbon auction in the Compeer Arena.
  • Aug. 26, 10:30 a.m.: Dairy showcase, Compeer Arena.
  • Aug. 26, 10:30 a.m.: Poultry competition and crowning of the ninth annual 4-H Poultry Prince and Princess (crowning after last round), sheep and poultry barn.
  • Aug. 29, 6 p.m.: Llama costume show in the Compeer Arena. Seating fills fast so arrive early!

CHS Miracle of Birth Center

  • Ongoing at FFA Chapter House & Leadership Center:Young fair fans are invited to come earn a “Bag of Ag" while learning about plants, livestock, biosecurity and the impact of agriculture on everyday life. Hosted by Abby Neu and the rest of the Extension livestock biosecurity team/
  • Aug. 29, 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., and Aug. 30 at 3 and 5 p.m. on the Christensen Farms Stage: 30-minute panel discussion on "Healthy Animals = Safe Food" will explain how farmers keep their animals healthy using biosecurity practices in order to provide safe and abundant food for your table. Hear from Extension livestock biosecurity team: Abby Neu, Sarah Schieck, Diane DeWitte, Erin Cortus, Kevin Janni and Sally Noll.

U of M Driven to Discover Building

  • Aug. 25, 27, 31; Sept 1-2: Moo Matters! A survey of public perceptions of dairy cattle welfare and calf housing practices in addition to dairy product consumption. Led by Marcia Endres, professor and Extension dairy specialist.

U of M main building

  • Aug. 24, 1:45 p.m. on U Talks outdoor stage: Cottage Food Basics and Food Safety Tips, with Suzanne Driessen, Extension food safety educator and Carrie Rigdon, Minnesota Department of Agriculture food and feed safety response and outreach supervisor.
  • Aug. 28, 10 a.m. on U Talks outdoor stage: Cottage Food Basics and Food Safety Tips, with Kathy Brandt, Extension food safety educator
  • Aug. 31, 3-9 p.m.: Extension Aquatic Invasive Species Detector volunteers, "Bringing a neighborly approach to the fight against aquatic invasives."

Eco Experience building

  • Ongoing: Clean Energy Research Teams (CERTS) “Energy Efficient Lighting and solar energy displays,” booth in the Energy Home section.
  • Aug. 28, 9-11 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m.: The Water Bar serves cups of drinking water from different communities for attendees to sample and compare, leading to discussions about sources and treatment of drinking water, and risks to drinking water.
  • Aug. 30, 2 p.m.:"Natural foods and decoratives from the woods or backyard," Gary Wyatt, Extension forestry educator

Agriculture-Horticulture building

  • Ongoing: Extension Master Gardener volunteers answer gardening questions 9 a.m.-9 p.m. in the CFANS exhibit area.
  • Aug. 29, 1 p.m.: The Honey Bees program team, including Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist, will show off a "bee beard."
  • Aug. 30, 5 p.m. on The Dirt Stage:"Natural foods and decoratives from the woods or backyard," Gary Wyatt, Extension forestry educator

DNR building

  • Ongoing: Master Naturalists answer questions about wildlife in Minnesota, wildlife wing. 
  • Aug. 26, 1 p.m.: Jeff Hahn, Extension entomologist, presents "Don't bring these insects home with you: Watch out for invasive insects."  
  • Aug. 26, 3 p.m.: Gary Reuter, Extension entomologist, "Honey bees, beekeeping and research," DNR stage.

Tent area near Dan Patch Park

  • Aug. 27, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.: NAMI-sponsored Mental Health Day at the fair. Extension table will highlight family-oriented mental health resources, and the "mental health is about health" message. The booth will aim to offer one or more activities for kids, while giving parents a mental break and additional resources from Extension's family development and Children Youth & Family Consortium (CYFC).
  • Aug. 28, Military Appreciation Day. Extension family development educators interview female service members and veterans, lead health activities and more. Schedule here

Minnesota Public Radio & tpt

  • Aug. 24, noon: Mark Seeley, Extension climatologist, will appear on tpt's Almanac broadcast from the MPR booth.
  • Aug. 31, 10 a.m. Seeley will broadcast the annual Minnesota Weather Quiz from Carousel Park.


  • Aug. 25, 8 a.m.: Tomatoes got you down? Julie Weisenhorn, Extension horticulturist take live yard and garden Q&A with callers and audience members, on “Smart Gardens” with host Denny Long. 
  • Sept. 1, 8 a.m.: Mary Meyer, Extension horticulturist on “Smart Gardens” with host Denny Long.

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