List: Minnesota events and tourism come roaring back this summer

It's National Travel and Tourism Week, and Minnesota is preparing for a busy couple months ahead of travel.

An Explore Minnesota survey found that 89 percent of travelers are ready to hit the road this summer, and resort owners said if they're not already fully booked, they're booking up really quickly.

Resorts around the state told FOX 9 last year was a really good year, and this year is shaping up to be similar. For any Minnesotan travelers looking to plan a getaway soon, resort operators have two words: Plan early.

"The booking window has definitely grown, and I think that people really appreciate looking forward to something so they're booking out further than ever," Katie Krantz, marketing manager at Bluefin Bay told FOX 9.

Situated on Minnesota's north shore, the month of September is already filling up for the resort. Occupancy rates are looking great elsewhere, as well.

"In this month of May, corporate travel is absolutely crazy," said Ben Thuringer, the chief operating officer at Madden's on Gull Lake in the Brainerd Lakes area.

The year 2021 brought a lot of family travel to Madden's, but this year, business travel is also back in the mix.

"I think it's Minnesotans supporting Minnesota. People learned they don't have to leave the state of Minnesota anymore. You can stick in Minnesota and have world-class golf. You can stick in Minnesota and have world-class hiking, mountain biking, you name it, all these different adventure items," Thuringer said.

But as the state's tourism industry recovers from a $14 billion loss since the pandemic started in 2020, Explore Minnesota is spending 70 percent of its marketing budget outside Minnesota.

"That's bringing in new money to the state and travelers from not just the midwest, but we do a huge social media campaign that hits all sorts of niches like paddling, fishing, golfing," said Lauren Bennett McGinty, executive director of Explore Minnesota.

True Minnesotans already know all that the state has to offer, and Bennett McGinty said the pandemic was a good reminder.

"I think that we were able to introduce so many new people to the North Shore area during the pandemic, but now we're seeing those people return and their friends return, and it's been really rewarding," Krantz said.

There are also a lot of events and festivals to look forward to in Minnesota, and of course the Fishing Opener is a great way to kick off the summer season. Explore Minnesota said the fishing industry brings billions of dollars to the state.

Aside from resorts and campgrounds, many events and festivals in Minnesota are making a big comeback this year, with several marking milestone anniversaries. 

Summer events in Minnesota

May 21: OUT Venture and Rainbow Run, Minneapolis

Hosted by Twin Cities Pride, OUT Venture is an all-outdoors event featuring activities such as rock climbing, water sports and cycling at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. This event will be held after the annual Rainbow Run. 

May 21: North Loop Night Market, Minneapolis

The North Loop Night Market will celebrate AAPI heritage month with food, local vendors entertainment and more.

May 26-30: Kickoff to Summer at the Fair, Minnesota State Fairgrounds

The Minnesota State Fair will again host a Kickoff to Summer event at the fair, with attendance limited to 15,000 people for each time slot. Tickets are still available

May 28-30: Hmong Memorial Sports Fest, Cottage Grove

The second-annual event features two days of sports, food and fun, where people can sign up as a team to play football, basketball, volleyball or corn hole, or come watch cheer on the teams. 

June 9-12, Judy Garland's 100th birthday, Grand Rapids

The Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids will host a celebration for Judy Garland's 100th birthday. Garland was born on June 10, 1922.

June 15-19, Steamboat Days, Winona

Winona's annual community celebration includes five days of carnivals, live music, a parade and fireworks. 

June 23-26, Water Ski Days, Lake City

Water Ski Days in Lake City is marking its 50th anniversary. Water skiing was invented in Lake City in 1922 (100 years ago!), and this festival is the city's quintessential summer party with live concerts, arts and crafts fair, water ski show, parade, classic car show and more. This year, Lake City is also celebrating its 150th anniversary.

June 25-26: Twin Cities Pride Festival, Minneapolis

Twin Cities Pride will mark its 50th anniversary this year with various events, including an all-ages performance by Carly Rae Jepson at The Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday, June 25. 

July 4: Fourth of July, cities across Minnesota

On July 4 and the weekend leading up to it, communities across Minnesota will be marking Independence Day with fireworks.

July 7-10: Whiz Bang Days, Robbinsdale

Robbinsdale's annual festival includes a parade, fireworks and a block party. 

July 7-10: Hamel Rodeo, Hamel and Corcoran

The annual rodeo includes five action-packed days, with bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, and the bull riding bonanza. 

July 8-9: Andover FamilyFun Fest, Andover

The 26th annual event is a weekend of food, music and activities for families. 

July 20-23: Minneapolis Aquatennial, Minneapolis

The four-day festival celebrates the City of Minneapolis and includes the Torchlight Parade and fireworks, as well as local food and activities for the entire family.

Aug. 5-7: Traditional Wacipi, Granite Falls

The Upper Sioux Community will hold a Pezhutazizi Oyate Traditional Wacipi Powwow.

Aug. 12-14: Irish Fair of Minnesota, St. Paul

The event celebrations all things Irish, including dance, music, food, and craic. 

Aug. 25-Sept. 5: Minnesota State Fair at the State Fairgrounds

This annual event attracts millions of fairgoers and typically generates $268 million in economic impact. 

Sept. 9-11: James J. Hill Days, Wayzata

The annual festival on the shore of Lake Minnetonka includes shopping, concerts, races, a carnival and events for the whole family. 

Oct. 2: Twin Cities Marathon, Minneapolis and St. Paul

It's the 40th anniversary of the Twin Cities Marathon this year. On marathon day, there will be a first-of-its-kind live artist marathon activation with 10-12 Minnesota artists creating original art in real-time along the route. 

All year: Mall of America's 30th birthday celebrations, Bloomington

The Mall of America will be celebrating its 30th birthday all year, giving away various prizes and shopping packages as part of the festivities.