MINNEAPOLIS, JUNE 3 -- Despite bitter wind and chilling rain, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev seemingly could not get enough of Minnesota today. With the Washington summit behind him and internal turmoil awaiting him at home, Gorbachev turned his seven-hour trip to the American heartland into a Sunday parade, walking the avenues of St. Paul and Minneapolis as though he were determined to shake the hand of every adoring well-wisher, even those of Baltic demonstrators.

With his every move televised live in the Soviet Union, Gorbachev played the Minnesota lovefest for all it was worth, relying largely on the modern American political technique of saying less and being seen more -- in impromptu but nonetheless calculated situations that displayed his extraordinary popular appeal in this part of the world.

Gorbachev made at least five improvised stops during his tour of the Twin Cities. At one point, he plunged into an enormous throng on the hill leading down to the state capitol in St. Paul amid a shrieking chorus of "Gorby! Gorby! Gorby!" The roar grew louder as his beaming wife, Raisa, waved a handmade sign given to her that read: "We Love Mikhail and Raisa."

But the one time during his stay here that Gorbachev talked at length, during a session in downtown Minneapolis with 145 captains of American industry, he made it clear that his visit here, indeed the entire U.S. trip, had a more substantive economic purpose: He dearly needed American counsel and assistance in what he called his movement toward "radical economic reform."

"The important question," he said, "is what kind of Soviet Union do the president and the people of the United States want to see? Does America want to see a Soviet Union that lacks confidence, that is unstable, that is in turmoil or one full of life, working with the entire global civilization, integrated into that civilization? This is the alternative."

Gorbachev was humble, confessional, during his remarks to the business leaders. "You may be smiling looking at us, saying: 'The Russians don't know how to do it,' " he said. "Well, I can understand that. . . . I'm not afraid that some people in the West are pessimistic and afraid that the {Soviet Union} is now on the verge of collapse. We are having now a very crucial situation in which we would like to have your help and cooperation."

Noting recent and proposed trade and cooperative efforts between the United States and the Soviet Union involving computers, oil, educational software and agricultural-production systems, Gorbachev called for more such initiatives and urged the industrialists to abandon their perception that his country's markets are so messed up that they are "not worth cooperating with."

He said the current economic instability in the Soviet Union was unavoidable. "We dismantled the command system, but the market mechanisms have not yet begun to work. Our economy is suffering from this kind of turmoil. Our conclusion is we should move toward a market economy more rapidly, and we intend to do so."

When Gorbachev strode down the steps of his Ilyushin jet at 1:47 this afternoon, he was welcomed to Minnesota by a brisk wind that whipped the lapel of his blue suit against his neck. Normally cautious about dressing for the weather, Gorbachev was without coat or hat, as was his wife. The welcoming party of 200 dignitaries, led by Gov. Rudy Perpich (D), also was coatless in the 40-degree weather -- just a typical late spring day, apparently, for Muscovites and Minnesotans.

"We're excited to have you here, and the whole state is excited," said Perpich, the nation's only governor of Slavic heritage, as he greeted the first Soviet leader to come to the Midwest since Premier Nikita Khrushchev traveled to Iowa in 1959. Perpich repeated the message to Raisa Gorbachev.

Before entering his dark Zil limousine for the trip to the governor's mansion for a late lunch, Gorbachev, a politician who loves crowds, could not resist handshaking and small talk with the first crowd of midwesterners that he saw toward the side of the landing area. They were friends and relatives of dignitaries who had been in the airport receiving line.

Clinging to Gorbachev's side at the airport was Minnesota's other Rudy, Sen. Rudy Boschwitz (R), who has been feuding with Perpich for about a week about who will get more credit for the Soviet's visit to the state. Boschwitz accompanied Gorbachev on the flight from Washington and later related that he and the Soviet president spent their time aloft debating why China has most favored nation trading status with the United States while the Soviet Union does not. Strolling Down Summit to Lunch

As the motorcade reached the corner of Summit and Lexington in St. Paul, one block from the governor's residence, Gorbachev noticed an enormous throng of Minnesotans waving white "Gorbachief" hankies at him and shouting words of welcome and recognition. He and Raisa stepped from the back seat of the smoked-glass Zil. Surrounded by anxious security guards, they walked the rest of the way to lunch, waving and smiling at the friendly crowds.

Thirty yards down the street, Gorbachev encountered demonstrators carrying tri-colored flags of the Baltic states pushing for freedom from the Soviet Union.

Rather than moving on to more hospitable well-wishers, Gorbachev veered toward the few hundred Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians and talked with them. He encountered Karin Berkholtz, a leader of the Latvian community in the Twin Cities. "It was gutsy of him to come over," she said of Gorbachev, whose self-confidence allowed him to travel to Lithuania during the height of the tension there. "But it was show, really, just show."

For tens of thousands of Minnesotans who lined the avenue leading to the governor's residence, "the show" was what they enjoyed. The atmosphere in St. Paul resembled that of a rock concert or Twins baseball game. The crowds even practiced doing the wave before the motorcade arrived. When the Gorbachevs emerged from their limousine, the streets erupted. Among those who shook hands with the Gorbachevs were Jane Schoelch, 19, and Danielle Niska, 20, both college students from the Minneapolis suburbs.

"I was shaking," Niska said. "He just kept smiling. I hope Mom and Dad got it on the VCR!"

"All of a sudden, the car stopped," Schoelch recounted. "All the doors opened at once. There was Gorby, the short little guy. Raisa had a great suit. It was magenta and blue. . . . Raisa held onto my hand, and it freaked me out! . . . Raisa, like, clung to my hand!"

Seventy-five bell ringers lined the entrance to the mansion, and the haunting, graceful, hollow sounds of the bells lingered in the air as Gorbachev and his hosts disappeared behind the governor's front door. Inside, the Soviet guests were welcomed with gifts, including a painting entitled "The Spirit of the Summit," portraying a bear, eagle and peace dove in a north woods setting. It was painted by Cuban exile Mario Fernandez, a resident of suburban Minneapolis, who worked 20-hour days for two weeks finishing it.

"This in a sense closes a circle in my life," said Fernandez, expressing the sentiments of Americans who view Gorbachev as the symbol of a less fractious world. "I came to this country because of political changes in Cuba, and here I am 25 years later presenting this painting to the leader of the Soviet Union. The world is changing."

At the governor's mansion, British publisher Robert Maxwell, a longtime friend of Gorbachev and Perpich, announced the formation of the Gorbachev-Maxwell Institute of Technology in the Twin Cities. Maxwell put up $50 million for the institute, which is to unite scientists from North America, Europe and the Soviet Union in joint research projects.

When the luncheon ended at 4:23, Gorbachev left the governor's residence, donned a wool coat and fedora and returned to the business at hand -- pressing the flesh. This time, he spent nearly 20 minutes moving from one side of the street to another as though he were a county pol in the Memorial Day parade. On the way to the capitol mall two miles away, Gorbachev popped from his car whenever he saw a big crowd. Reviewing a Remarkable Street Scene

Back in his limousine, Gorbachev viewed a remarkable passing scene -- an Uncle Sam figure on stilts holding a Soviet flag; a young couple toasting the Gorbachevs with champagne; a man with a bowler hat dressed like Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister identified with the politics of appeasement; Moslems chanting against Soviet policies in Central Asia; Baltic national flags being waved at street corner after street corner; signs in Russian along the interstate, noting the Mississippi River, welcoming the Soviet visitor, and handmade signs reading "God Loves Gorbachev" and "Dictator, Let My People Go!"

With the visit running an hour behind schedule and the weather so unfavorable, the Soviets decided at the last hour to cancel the visit to the Brand dairy farm on the southern edge of the Twin Cities metro area. Gorbachev instead went directly from the business meeting to Control Data, the corporation that first invited him to Minnesota. Then he headed for the airport and departure for San Francisco.

Richard and Cecilia Brand, the dairy farmers who missed their moment in history, were taken to the airport to meet the Gorbachevs. At 8:23, the sun came out, and skies brightened as the visitor from Moscow took his seat in the blue-and-white Soviet jet. With his smiling face visible in one window and his right hand waving from another, the plane rolled down the runway, leaving behind Minnesota, its adoring people and seven hours of midwestern memories.

Staff writers Eleanor Randolph and David Remnick contributed to this report.