Doing the Puyallup

Friday was the opening day for the Western Washington Fair–you know it as “The Puyallup”–and, as usual, I was there. This year I started my Fair experience by watching the traditional running of the cattle. (Click here for video.

This was followed immediately by a parade featuring local marching bands, members of the military, the Daffodil Queen and her court, clows, a juggle Elvis impersonator on a unicycle, lots and lots of horses and carriages, tractors, the flags of all 50 states, and the fair’s many plush mascots.

parade photo

It was a bright and sunny day which along with free admission for the first few hours inspired lots and lots of people to come on down to the fairgrounds to check out the animals, the vegetables, fruits, flowers, food, rides, exhibits and live entertainment of all sorts. The Fair is always crowded but even for someone who dislikes crowds as much as I do, it’s bearable–the fun of being there more than makes up for the minor inconvenience of having to stand through a couple lines.

The highlight for the fair for me every year is seeing all the animals. Seattle might allow people to keep a couple goats and/or chickens, but there aren’t too many chances in town to see a whole bunch of farm animals. (I’m not complaining–I really like looking at cattle but I don’t really want to live next door to them and you probably don’t either, or we’d all live in the country, not the city.) There are plenty of other attractions, though. Just looking at all the deep fried offerings on hand is more than enough for me, but if you’re into that sort of thing you can get deep fried Twinkies or Snickers bars or cola or, well, if it can be deep fried, it probably is. Me, I stick the to the traditional fair burger, piled high with sweet Walla Walla onions, and piping hot Fisher scones.

onion burger

There are rides aplenty at the fair and midway games and all sorts of items for sale ranging from cheap plastic souvenirs to items for your home which could be anything from a brand new vacuum cleaner to a bubbling spa for your backyard. Every sort of craft imaginable gets represented in some way at the fair along with fine arts and hobby collections, historical displays (I strongly suggest checking out the Fair History museum) and rodeos, concerts and comedians.

New this year to the fair is “Al’s Brain”, an exhibit and 3D movie featuring Weird Al Yankovic which is all about the human brain and manages to be both informative and funny.

The fair runs daily through September 27th. Tickets are available at the gate for $11 (there is an additional charge if you want to go to one of the concerts or rodeos which this year include acts like Crosby Stills and Nash, James Taylor, Heart, LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra) or can be purchased online; fairgoers can also purchase discount packages which include “fair bucks” for food or ride tickets. Members of the military get free admission on Mondays.

When you go to the fair, please consider using public transportation. From Seattle, it’s an easy ride from downtown Seattle to downtown Tacoma on Sound Transit 594 ($3 each way) to transfer to Pierce Transit’s Fair Shuttle ($1.75 each way). You’ll save yourself the expense and inconvenience of driving in traffic and then paying an arm and a leg to park as well as help the environment. Besides, Pierce Transit bus drivers are just about the nicest bus drivers you’ll ever meet.

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