What you need to know about rides, exhibits, special attractions, events and transportation before heading to the Washington State Fair in Puyallup.
The Washington State Fair kicked off Friday, Sept. 11, with the annual cattle drive and Western Rodeo Parade’s draft horses, marching bands and equestrian drill teams making their way through Puyallup to the fairgrounds. A local tradition since 1900, the fair expects more than a million visitors to take in its huge array of rides, animal exhibits, entertainment, food and events through Sept. 27.
Special features this year include “Star Trek: The Exhibition,” artifacts and information from the enduring, 49-year legacy of the Star Trek franchise, including the opportunity to sit in Kirk and Picard’s command chair, daily throughout the fair.
Other special attractions include Beer Haven, with 60 taps of craft brews; “Sweet: A Tasty Journey,” confections and candy making through American history; and Timber Gulch western/pioneer town backdrop with comedy gunfight shows, kids’ pioneer activities and a saloon.
Washington State Fair
Time: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, Sept. 11 to 27.
Cost: $12.50/adults, $9/ages 6-16 and ages 62 and older at the gate; “Star Trek: The Exhibition” additional $8, ages 5 and younger free; parking $10/Monday-Friday, $15/Saturday-Sunday; concert and rodeo prices vary.
Location: Washington State Fair Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup.
Cattle drive and parade: 10 a.m. Friday Sept. 11, Meridian Street from Main Street to Seventh Avenue, then south on Second Avenue Southwest to the fairgrounds, Puyallup.
More info: 253-841-5045 or thefair.com.
Always-popular returning features include home-arts cooking contests and quilt display, International Photo Exhibition, Floral Exhibit, vendor halls, Agriculture and Horticulture displays and Hobby Hall exhibits of interesting collections.
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For many fairgoers, it’s all about the rides, from the younger set to thrill rides including the new Evolution and Rock Star flying and free-fall experiences. The new, 65-foot-tall Phoenix Wheel joins the merry-go-round, giant slide and other classic rides for adults and kids.
Barns full of cows, horses, poultry, rabbits and goats, Piglet Palace mama and newborn piglets, and the Fair Farm are always popular, and you can try out your farmer’s skill on Milking Mabel, a faux cow in the Milking Parlor daily. Exotic Animals of the World are on display Sept. 11-15, this year including parrots and cockatiels.
With so much to eat, too — scones, corn dogs, elephant ears, onion burgers and the usual array of fair treats to keep you going, along with low-carb, low-fat, sugar-free, gluten-free and vegetarian options from a variety of food vendors.
Special events include free admission with nonperishable food-bank donation from 9 a.m. to noon opening day, fireworks shows every Friday night, downloadable coupon for free admission for kids Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 11-12, and Military Appreciation Days free admission for active, reserve and retired military with ID and their dependents Sept. 14 and 21.
Events at additional cost include rodeo performances Friday through Sunday, Sept. 11-13, and concerts including “Weird Al” Yankovic Monday, Sept. 14; Heart, Sept. 16; Keith Urban, Sept. 19; Pitbull, Sept. 27 and many more.
Transportation options include Sounder trains serving nine stations from Everett to Puyallup, Sept. 19 and 26, by advance purchase, and Pierce Transit Fair Express Bus with free parking at Lakewood Towne Center, Tacoma Mall and South Hill Mall.
See the fair’s website for directions, admission specials and information on transportation, food options and special events.