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Cheese festival, burger battle on the menu this weekend

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If you're a fan of cheese, don't be stuck uttering "Gouda-shoulda-woulda" next week.

Cheesemakers from Minnesota and its neighbors will be taking over the Minnesota State Fairgrounds this weekend for the third annual Minnesota Cheese Festival. The event's website calls it "one of the country's largest celebrations of regionally produced cheese and cheese-related products," and will feature live blues and bluegrass music, seminars every hour on wine, beer or cheesemaking, cooking help with cheesemakers, some free swag, and more.

The festival has added more artisans and more demonstrations after two years of fermentation,

"For our third year, we've honed in on the things that people love and added new activities and entertainment for guests," Minnesota Cheese Festival founder and organizer Whitney McChane said in a statement. "In addition to a wealth of cheesemakers and food artisans, we’ll have bands on the Main Stage and more demonstrations than ever before.”

The festival is split up into two four-hour sessions: the first from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., the second 2:30-6:30 p.m. You can check out the list of featured cheesemakers. If you want to go, you'll have to throw down some cheddar: Tickets are $35 per session if bought in advance; $40 apiece if bought at the door.

The cheese festival could serve as a good appetizer (or topping producer) for another cheesy event that night – if you were lucky enough to get a ticket.

The first ever Twin Cities Burger Battle takes place Saturday evening (5-8 p.m.) at Mears Park in downtown St. Paul. A dozen restaurants will be in attendance, showing off their culinary skills in hopes of being crowned the Twin Cities best burger. There will be two big awards: Attendees can vote, and the top earner will receive the People's Choice award. And a panel of judges will be tasked with crowning an inaugural Twin Cities Burger Battle Champion.

The Business Journal notes the event is sold out however (1,300 tickets at $40 apiece, 21 years and older). The organizer tells the publication he hopes to find a bigger venue for next year.

A dozen restaurants will be in attendance, plus live local music and local brews.

If you like your cheese and bread without the meat, consider visiting the O'Cheeze food truck, one of seven new rolling eateries hitting the streets this spring.

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