The 19th Annual Minnesota Fringe Festival

The 19th annual Minnesota Fringe Festival offers 11 days of nonstop drama.

The 19th annual Minnesota Fringe Festival
Photo courtesy of Minnesota Fringe Fest

Quite literally, you never know what you’re going to get at the Fringe. Shows are not chosen by a panel of expert judges, and past success or experience doesn’t matter. Instead, the shows are chosen by blind lottery, so anyone can end up producing or participating in a Fringe production—at least in theory.

In practice, most of the acts that end up in the Fringe are developed by professionals or serious students of theater and dance, if only because even the simplest show still takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to pull off. Given a choice, most Minnesotans would rather spend July up at the lake, not rehearsing in someone’s garage. The lottery system endures because one of the goals of the Fringe is to break down the barriers between artists and audiences—including the barrier to performing—as well as to ensure an interesting variety of shows.

This year, 165 productions are being presented on 15 stages around the metro from Aug. 2–12. Individual tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for kids younger than 12. A five-show punch card can be purchased for $50, a 10-show punch card for $100, and an unlimited Ultra Pass for $225.

As always, performances are no longer than an hour. To find out which shows are getting good buzz, check out the audience reviews at