Washington State Fair, Puyallup, WA: Magic Behind the Pacific Northwest’s Biggest Celebration

Prelude to Summer: The 2024 Spring Fair in Puyallup

As winter’s grip loosens, the city of Puyallup, WA, becomes a hub of anticipation and excitement with the return of the Spring Fair, scheduled across two vibrant weekends, April 11-14 and 18-21, 2024.

This annual event, a cherished preamble to the larger Washington State Fair, offers a rich tapestry of experiences, blending traditional fair favorites with new, thrilling adventures.

Motorsport Mayhem and Mechanical Giants

One of the Spring Fair’s headlining features is the adrenaline-infused Motorsport Mayhem, which captivates audiences with the Monster Truck Insanity Fest and the Slamfest Demo Derby + Boat Bash.

These events promise a high-octane spectacle of power, agility, and competitive spirit, thrilling attendees with vehicular acrobatics and destruction displays.

A Journey Back in Time: Expedition Dinosaur

For those fascinated by the prehistoric, Expedition: Dinosaur presents an immersive foray into a world 75 million years in the making.

This exhibit features large, lifelike animatronic dinosaurs and interactive displays, offering educational fun for all ages.

Visitors can walk alongside these ancient behemoths and learn about their lives, habits, and the mysteries they left behind.

Culinary Delights and Spirited Brews

No fair experience is complete without indulging in the culinary delights that define such gatherings.

The Spring Fair introduces attendees to various mouth-watering options, from classic fair foods to new, innovative treats.

The fair promises a feast for the senses, Paired with beer, cider, wine, and specialty cocktails available at multiple garden and pub locations.

Rides, Games, and Endless Entertainment

The essence of the fair’s allure lies in its diverse attractions. Thrilling rides and classic games offer challenges and excitement for brave souls and skillful hands.

Meanwhile, unique exhibits like Dock Dogs, Racing Pigs, and the Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show provide educational and amusing entertainment.

Embracing Tradition and Community

The Spring Fair in Puyallup also celebrates community and tradition, offering something for everyone.

From free parking and admission deals for kids and military members to the NW Artisan Market and the Junior Livestock Show, the fair fosters inclusion and appreciation for Washington’s rich cultural and agricultural heritage.

As the Spring Fair unfolds, it heralds the coming of summer and rekindles the spirit of togetherness, adventure, and wonder at the heart of the Puyallup community.

This annual event stands as a testament to the enduring charm of fair traditions while continually evolving to offer new experiences and memories to its visitors.

Washington State Fair: A Rich History and a Community Resource

The Washington State Fair, formerly the Puyallup Fair, has become the largest single attraction held annually in Washington state.

It continues to be ranked among the top ten largest fairs in the United States, offering an array of attractions, such as agricultural and pastoral displays, amusement rides, and concert series.

The fairgrounds, situated in Puyallup, 35 miles south of Seattle and 10 miles east of Tacoma near Mount Rainier, cover an area of 160 acres with buildings and land valued at more than $54 million.

The availability of the grounds for rent year-round made it an ideal location for hosting various events, from cultural and sporting events to corporate gatherings and social gatherings.

The Fair’s Rich History

The fair started as the Puyallup Valley Fair, with the first event on October 4–6, 1900. It was later renamed “The Western Washington Fair” in 1913, but it remained primarily known as the Puyallup Fair until the early 1980s.

The Washington State Fair venue, formerly known as “The Puyallup Fair and Events Center,” has a rich history.

The fair has undergone several name changes, the most recent being in 2013, when it received its current name, the “Washington State Fair.”

During World War II, the fair took a hiatus, with the fairgrounds closing after the 1941 event.

The grounds were occupied by the army, which established Camp Harmony, a temporary assembly center for Japanese Americans within the system of concentration camps.

Over 7,000 Japanese Americans from the Seattle-Tacoma area and Alaska were confined in converted horse stables and barracks constructed on adjacent parking lots, the racing track, and the grandstand.

The U.S. Army 943rd Signal Service Battalion used the fairgrounds as a base of operations until it was transferred to Fort Lewis.

The fairgrounds remained closed until 1946 when the fair set an attendance record of 100,000 people on opening day.

Despite the name changes, the marketing tagline “Do the Puyallup” has remained, and many locals still refer to the fair by its previous name.

The fair has become a beloved tradition for Washingtonians, offering yearly entertainment and attractions.

However, the fair’s past serves as a reminder of the injustices suffered by Japanese Americans during World War II.

Community Resource

The fairgrounds have transformed into a vital resource for the community, offering an array of seasonal festivals and events.

From the classic Victorian Country Christmas to adrenaline-fueled races, lively concerts, dazzling car shows, and action-packed sporting expositions like the International Sportsman’s Exposition, the fairgrounds have become the ultimate destination for entertainment and fun.

The site employs 55 year-round staff members, and over 7,500 employees are hired each September during the fair.

Washington State Fair Rodeo
Washington State Fair Rodeo” by rwoan is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Recent Years

In 2020, the fair’s 21-day event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the fair’s first edition to be canceled since World War II.

However, the fair returned in 2021 with masking requirements and limited capacity, drawing 816,000 total attendees, a 20 percent decrease from previous years.

Despite the decrease in attendance, the fair remains a significant attraction for the state, drawing in people from all over the region.

The Washington State Fair of 2023 introduced its attendees to various new and exhilarating experiences. Among the highlights was the debut of the Revolution 360.

This thrilling pendulum ride offered fairgoers a blend of anticipation and excitement, encapsulating the spirit of innovation that the fair prides itself on.

The Future of the Fair

Looking forward, the Washington State Fair continues to be a significant event for the state of Washington.

With over a century of history and tradition, the fair continues to evolve, offering visitors new attractions, exhibits, and experiences.

As a community resource, the fairgrounds have become a hub for various events throughout the year, bringing people together for celebrations and gatherings.

With its rich history and a bright future ahead, the Washington State Fair remains a beloved institution for the state and its people.

Washington State Fair
Washington State Fair” by Gexydaf is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Attractions and Exhibits

The Washington State Fair is known for its vast attractions and exhibits, which draw visitors from all over the region.

In addition, the fair is renowned for its agricultural and pastoral displays, which showcase the best of Washington’s farm produce, livestock, and agriculture.

Visitors can witness live demonstrations of animal husbandry, farm machinery, and food processing.

The fair also offers various amusement rides, games, and entertainment, featuring traditional carnival rides, roller coasters, and attractions.

One of the most popular exhibits at the fair is the creative ones, which feature arts and crafts, floral arrangements, photography, and different crafts and collections. In addition, visitors can witness some of the best amateur and professional talent from across the state and even participate in workshops and competitions.

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