Weekend Highlight

Follow the crowds to the Washington State Fair, “the biggest party in the state,” Friday, Aug. 30, through Sept. 22 in Puyallup. A popular tradition since 1900 and the largest annual event in Washington, the fair welcomes more than a million fans a year for concerts, carnival rides, farm animals, vendors and more.

Fair Labor Day weekend events include Opening Day Food Drive free admission with a nonperishable food donation from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, and free admission for ages 18 and younger all Labor Day weekend, Friday to Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 2. Admission is free for active, reserve and retired military personnel and dependents Mondays, Sept. 2, 9 and 16.

A new event, the Fair Food Frenzy Best Burger Competition, offers a variety of sample-size burgers from several vendors; vote for your favorite on Saturday, Aug. 31.

This weekend also features a fireworks show at 10 p.m. Friday (and Sept. 6, 13 and 20), and Run the Puyallup, a 2.67-mile run through the fairgrounds Saturday, Aug. 31, to benefit the Washington State Fair Foundation.

Upcoming special events include an Animals of the World exhibit with camels, zebra, yaks and more, Sept. 5-11; Pro Rodeo Tour Sept. 5-8; Asia Pacific Cultural Center Day performances Sept. 14; Fiesta Patrias celebration of Mexican culture and arts Sept. 15; and Cirque Cavallo equestrian stunts and horseback acrobatics shows Sept. 11-22. The popular annual Western Rodeo Parade and Cattle Drive through downtown Puyallup to the fairgrounds is at 10 a.m. Sept. 6, with free admission to the fair with a suggested donation of school supplies from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that day.

New attractions this year feature the Lost World of Dragons exhibit, with stories and myths about dragons around the world, for an additional $8 admission; and Tropical Odyssey — A Maze Adventure, included with fair admission. Both run daily throughout the fair.

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All the old favorites will be on hand, including the 4-H animal displays, the Fair Farm, Piglet Palace, draft horses, dog shows, entertainment, agriculture and horticulture displays, and an array of fair food and beverages.

Carnival rides fill SillyVille for kids and ThrillVille for the daring, with Dizzy Pass unlimited ride specials available weekdays and Sept. 7-8.

The fair hosts a daily parade around the grounds with music, costumed characters and strolling entertainment at 5:30 p.m. weekdays and noon Saturdays and Sundays.

Main Stage concerts include Billy Idol, 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31; Keith Urban, 7:30 Saturday, Aug. 31; Weezer, 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 1; the Beach Boys, 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 2; Boyz to Men and 98 Degrees, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12; Ciara, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13; Daryl Hall and John Oates, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14; and Brad Paisley, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 22. Concert prices vary from $30 to $125 and include fair admission.

The fair is open through Sept. 22, closed Tuesdays and Sept. 4. A free mobile app for iPhone and Android is available to download on the fair’s website for tickets, directions and to plan your fair day. Transportation options include the Pierce Transit Fair Express daily, and Sounder train specials on Sept. 14 and 21.

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Washington State Fair

Time: 9:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Sunday, 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 2; starting Sept. 5, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sundays, through Sept. 22

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Cost: $14; $12/ages 6-12 and 62+; ages 5 and younger free; parking $10/weekdays, $15/weekends

Location: Washington State Fair Event Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup

Run the Puyallup: 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31, inside the Red Gate; $45 includes treats, T-shirt and fair admission

More info: 253-841-5045 or thefair.com