STEP RIGHT UP to the county and state fairs, the rite of summer all across the U.S.

Scream on the roller coasters and other rides. Sing along to country crooners or rock out to classic bands. See the bucking broncos, tractor pulls, the prize livestock. And feast on deep-fried everything.

The Midwest is the heartland of fairs, and everyone flocks to the down-home fun, such as these shrieking teens on the Ring of Fire thrill ride at the county fair in Brainerd, Minn.

But Washington state is no slouch; counties north, south and all around are hosting summertime fairs. The more sparsely populated counties stick mainly to the traditional livestock and agricultural shows and fun. But biggies such as the Washington State Fair in Puyallup (Sept. 6-22) pile on the concerts and comedians, the rides and rodeos.

Big or small, a summer fair can be screaming fun for everyone.

Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times NWTraveler editor. Contact her at kjackson@seattletimes.com.