After adding two weekends and implementing a lottery system for tickets, the fall extension of the Minnesota State Fair Food Parade is sold out.
In four days, all 12,600 of the $20 vehicle entrance fees had been accounted for.
The Food Parade, on Oct 1-4 and 8-11, is a follow-up to the three summer weekends when the fairgrounds became a drive-through for the first time in history as an alternative to the canceled Minnesota State Fair.
The lucky ticket holders get access to the fairgrounds for a meandering drive past 16 food vendors, who deliver classic fair treats right to your car window. (Food isn’t included in the cost of entry.)
The swift sellout was a marked improvement over the first round of the Food Parade, held over three weekends in late August and early September. When those tickets went on sale, the site was overloaded and 19,000 tickets were snatched up in only 2 1/2 hours. Soon after, tickets landed on resale sites such as Craigslist for hundreds of dollars.
This time, the fair upped the number of cars per hour allowed in during seven time slots a day (from 200 to 225), and added the lottery format “so that everyone could have an equal chance of getting tickets in a smooth process,” said fair spokeswoman Danielle Dullinger.
The week of Sept. 14, 60,000 people signed up for the lottery. Then, on Monday, Sept. 21, the first randomly selected group was given the opportunity to buy tickets. After that, potential buyers on a waiting list were given access in four rounds. All tickets were sold by Thursday afternoon.
Dullinger says these are likely the last weekends the Food Parade will extend for now, but there could be future events in the spring or summer.
“We’re focusing on this Food Parade and then we do need to get back into planning 2021, because it is our goal to bring back the full experience,” she said.
Revenue from the Food Parade has not been tallied, but “it definitely was helpful” in a year in which the fair lost out on 2 million admission tickets. Dullinger said.
Didn’t snag a ticket? The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is offering a parade of its own.
Weekends through Oct. 4, get a $20 ticket to drive through the Shakopee festival grounds for access to 30 food vendors selling festival favorites, including turkey legs, unicorn cake, apple dumplings and cheese curds. Menu and tickets are available here.
Sharyn Jackson • 612-673-4853