What’s Happening Sept. 2-8

It’s time to do the Puyallup! The Washington State Fair, the Pacific Northwest’s largest fair, returns Sept. 2 for 24 days of entertainment, animals, food, rides and more.

The Washington State Fair (called the Puyallup Fair, once upon a time) began in 1900 when a group of local farmers, business owners and residents wanted to advance the interests of farming and manufacturing in the Puyallup Valley. The first fair took place Oct. 4-6, 1900, on a lot just down the street from the fair’s current location.

Since 1900, the fair has remained a yearly fall tradition up until the pandemic.

“We were not allowed to have a fair, so we got creative — the fair is nothing but nimble,” said Stacy Van Horne, public relations manager at Washington State Fair. Organizers transformed the fair into a drive-thru food fair in 2020 and a more typical fair, albeit with mask requirements, in 2021.

This year, the fair will return in full capacity for the first time since 2019 — no mask or vaccine requirements, no capacity limits, Van Horne said.

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Visitors can find the nostalgia-inducing rides, games and food (scones!!), as well as a series of concerts, rodeos and other events, happening throughout the duration of the fair. Everything you need to know is at thefair.com.

In addition to the returning favorites, the fair’s brand-new, interactive Fair History Experience, featuring large dimensional displays, sculptural elements, artifacts and more, will debut on opening day. Fair organizers and the Washington State Fair Foundation have spent several years transforming the old walk-through history museum, once tucked away in the back of the fairgrounds (a space Van Horne said is “too little and too dark” for the fair’s 122 years of history), into the exhibit, which will now be on display in the Grandstand Tunnel.

The fair also will feature increased security. For the first time ever, visitors will walk through enhanced security detectors to enter the fair.

“You don’t need to take off your purse and all that stuff, you just walk right through, and it can detect everything,” Van Horne said. “That’s meant obviously No. 1 for security and safety, but No. 2, it is going to streamline the [entrance] lines to move a lot faster.”

Also new this year, the fair’s beloved train will chug along extended tracks around the fairgrounds, with a kids entertainment stage at the center. For those 21 and older, a new bar will occupy the South Grandstand, too.

Accessibility is a core part of the fair’s mission statement, Van Horne said. Every student in Washington (the fair partners with school district, home-schools and private schools) gets free tickets to the fair. The fair also hosts free entrance opportunities, like the opening day food drive (where free admission is given to visitors who bring a can of food in the first two hours), its school supply drive and Military Monday.

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“We always brag we’ve got 101 free things to do,” Van Horne said. “You could literally come on one of the free days and you can bring your own food since we allow people to bring their own food and their own drinks.”

She added that visitors are always welcome to walk around and view the animals and free exhibits.

“It’s in our mission statement that [the fair] is Washington’s home to gather and celebrate for generations to come,” Van Horne said. “There’s a reason that we’ve been successful for 122 years and our goal is to keep people of all these generations coming to just have a great experience.”

The Washington State Fair (110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup) runs Sept. 2-25. Find more information at thefair.com.

What else is happening

Here are some other events happening Sept. 2-8 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for consideration, please email your event details to weekend@seattletimes.com.

Olympia Harbor Days — Sept. 2-4

Enjoy vintage tugboats, a market, food, kids activities, live music and more at this South Sound Maritime Heritage Association family-friendly festival 5-8 p.m. Sept. 2, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 3 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 4. Suggested donation $5/person or $10/family. Location varies along the Olympia waterfront; harbordays.com

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Pax West 2022 — Sept. 2-5

The most-attended gaming convention on the West Coast returns Sept. 2-5 to the Seattle Convention Center to welcome back gamers from the PNW and around the world. Attendees can go hands-on with demos for the most-anticipated unreleased games, rock out at lively musical performances, watch esports pros compete in adrenaline-rushing tournaments, attend panels featuring industry icons as well as fan-favorite YouTubers and streamers, and more. Register online; prices vary. 705 Pike St., Seattle; west.paxsite.com

September Fly Day — Sept. 3

Heritage Flight Museum hosts a Fly Day with flight demonstrations of historical military aircraft, Apollo 8 exhibits, Brando’s BBQ truck and family fun 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $12/adults, $10/seniors, $5/military and kids ages 5-17, free/kids under 5 and members. 15053 Crosswind Drive, Burlington; 360-424-5151; heritageflight.org

Pier Sounds — Sept. 3

Friends of Waterfront Seattle present the second annual Pier Sounds concert series at Pier 62 on the downtown Seattle waterfront 6-9 p.m. with artists Shaina Shepherd, Fly Moon Royalty, NighTraiN and Breaks and Swells, a beer garden, food trucks and more. Free. 1951 Alaskan Way, Seattle; 206-866-6817; waterfrontparkseattle.org

Outdoor Movie Night — Sept. 3

Scarecrow Video and Maple Leaf Park host their first outdoor movie night in Maple Leaf Reservoir Park. There will be live music at 6 p.m. followed by family movie trivia. The movie “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” will begin at dusk. Free. 1020 N.E. 82nd St., Seattle; fb.me/e/aqyRnuAcC

Woodpalooza — Sept. 3-5

Join the Whidbey Island Woodworkers Guild for the return of the 18th annual show of Whidbey’s finest woodwork noon-5 p.m. at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. Free. 565 Camano Ave., Langley; 360-221-8262; woodpalooza.com

Labor Day Walking Tour — Sept. 4

Civil War Seattle presents an encore of its most popular walking tour “Seattle at Gettysburg” at noon. This two-hour walking tour of historical Seattle cemeteries tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of dozens of Seattle Civil War veterans who fought there. The tour begins at Seattle’s Grand Army of the Republic Cemetery and also visits adjacent Lake View Cemetery. Register online; $18.63. 1200 E. Howe St., Seattle; civilwarseattle.com/tours

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Meet the Author: “The Disabled Hiker’s Guide to Western Washington and Oregon” — Sept. 7

King County Library System hosts an online discussion with author Syren Nagakyrie on the newly published book “The Disabled Hiker’s Guide to Western Washington and Oregon: Outdoor Adventures Accessible by Car, Wheelchair, and Foot” at 6:30 p.m. This is the first book of its kind to consider diverse access needs in the outdoors. Register online; free. kcls.org

Woodpeckers: Talented Drummers of the Avian World — Sept. 7

Learn about Washington’s 13 species of woodpeckers with master birder Connie Sidles 7-8:30 p.m. Register online; $25. botanicgardens.uw.edu

Bat Trek — Sept. 7

Join Seward Park Audubon for a guided Bat Trek featuring a presentation on bats of the Pacific Northwest and a walk to locate and identify these creatures of the night with the setting sun as a backdrop 7:45-9 p.m. Participants will observe and listen for local bats in their natural habitat, flitting through the trees and skimming over the water as they devour a bounty of flying insects. Register online; free. 5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S., Seattle; sewardpark.audubon.org