West Central Dairy Days June 7-14, Willmar: Celebrate the dairy land with a milk run, or show your talents at the Build-a-Burger event. Free milk at the cattle show on Friday.
Bread and Butter Day June 13, Forrestville: Kids, I remember when I had to churn butter and bake bread while walking 42 miles uphill in a snowstorm.
Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues Fest June 13, Peavey Plaza, Mpls.: Free admission for the blues, and smokin 'que is for sale.
Tater Daze June 18-20, Brooklyn Park: It should be easy to carbo load before the 5K spud run.
Dan Patch Days June 25-28, Savage: And you thought Dan Patch was just an avenue at the fair. Go forth and honor the MN King of Horses with a wine tasting, the international Taste of Savage, or by entering the White Castle or BWWings eating contest!
Sauerkraut Days June 26-28, Hendersonville: They may be responsible for the depletion of the ozone, but it's a helluva good time. Tractor rides, bingo, cabbage toss, and a kraut eating contest, ja wohl.
Taste of MN July 2-5, St. Paul: Last year the festival changed hands. Will there be an overhaul of this saddest of food fests? At least there'll be a walleye wagon.
Dragon Festival July 11-12, Lake Phalen: This is the must-taste fest of the summer. Tons of awesome Asian street food, on the cheap, that will satisfy as you watch your boat come in. Plus cooking demos.
Great Minnesota Pie Extravaganza July 18 Grand Rapids: Go north, just for pie? Think of it as a spiritual retreat with master pie maker Joan Solberg, and commune with your crust.
Kolacky Days July 24-26, Montgomery: Thinking about entering your Nana's kolacky (ko-LA-chee) recipe in the contest? You'll have to kill Marion Skluzacek or Bernadine Svoboda to place.
Blueberry & Arts Festival July 25-26, Ely: Pancake breakfasts on both Saturday and Sunday, and maybe it won't snow!
Farm Fest '09 August 4-6, Redwood County: FREE pancake breakfast and a tractor pull. The 4H kids think of it as a serious pre-party to the State Fair.
Cokato Corn Carnival August 10-12, Cokato: There's about a zillion corn festivals during August, but this one has FREE CORN!
Brew at the Zoo August 14, Apple Valley: Who knew that wild animals and beer would make for a sanctioned festival?
Chokecherry Festival August 15, Pequot Lakes: I'll see your pancake breakfast and cooking competition, and I'll raise you a pit spitting contest.
MN Garlic Festival August 15, Hutchinson: This one often draws some big cheffy names from the city. And everyone smells the same, so there's no judging.
Watermelon Day August 15, Vining: Up at the "biggest small town celebration in Otter Tail county" you can score FREE watermelon.
Hopkins Elk's Lodge Ribfest August 15, Hopkins: The 15th annual "Who Let the Hogs Out" celebration is sponsored by the benevolent order or ribs-lovin' elk.
And of course, it all culminates in the Great MN Get Together. We'll touch on Apple Fests when the humidity drops.