Get Your Happy On: Puyallup Fair opens Friday
September 6, 2012 · 5:48 PM
There's fun for all ages at Washington state's biggest fair, the Puyallup Fair, which opens Friday and runs until Sept. 23.
Tradition holds that on opening day the fair kicks off with Friday's annual cattle drive and the Puyallup Fair Western Rodeo Parade. It unfolds at 10 a.m. on Meridian Street in downtown Puyallup. Corriente cattle lead the way, followed by draft horse hitches, marching bands, equestrian drill teams and costume characters.
A Puyallup Rodeo Breakfast is from 8-10 a.m. for $2 at Pioneer Park's Pavilion, across from Puyallup City Hall, next to the parade route.
Gate admission is free from 9 a.m.-noon Friday, with a recommended non-perishable food donation for Puyallup Food Bank. Last year more than 160,000 pounds were collected on opening day, and the goal is to beat that number this year.
• Rainforest Adventure exhibit (daily): Walk through and experience an authentic tropical rainforest atmosphere, complete with toucans, anacondas, snapping turtles and geckos. Free with fair admission. Location: SillyVille.
• Our Body, The Universe Within exhibit (Sept. 8-23): The exhibit is a fascinating, artful and educational exhibit consisting of actual human bodies and organs. This exhibit literally goes "under the skin," revealing the mysteries of the human anatomy. It gives attendees a true look at the inner workings of the extraordinary human body. Plus, learn tips for healthy living. Adults, seniors and students: $7; kids 5 and under: free. Entrance fee: $7.
• Fireworks Spectacular (Fridays, Sept. 7, 14, 21): Starts at approximately 10.
• Happy Hour Thursdays (Sept. 13, 20): Get gate admission for just $7 after 7 p.m., on site only.
• The Shoppe Reunion (Sept. 17-23, noon, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. shows): From 1978–98 the fair hosted the all-time most popular free entertainment group. The Shoppe developed a huge fan base, who strongly requested a reunion, which will be held the last week of the fair at Coca-Cola Stage.
• Do the Puyallup Walk to Beat Breast Cancer (Saturday, Sept. 22, 8 a.m.): Help raise funds to build awareness around screening and prevention of breast cancer, support current treatments and research, and provide vital services for patients and families, with proceeds benefiting Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. This is a non-competitive 5K (3.1 miles) walk to celebrate survivors and champion breast cancer awareness. Registration includes Fair gate admission on Sept. 22 and a T-shirt. Register: www.DoThePuyallupWalk.org.
• ZIP IT – Zip Line (daily): Enjoy an exhilarating view of the Puyallup Fair from the top of a 28-foot tower. Riders are carefully strapped into a full-body harness, taking a 130-foot ride along the cable. Price is $10, then $5 if a rider is still wearing the harness and wants another ride. Location: Green Gate area.
Food, critters and more
Tradition is still a strong part of the Fair, since both the 4-H and FFA State Fairs are held at the same time. Other popular favorites include animal shows, grange displays, home arts cooking contests and quilts, the International Photo Exhibition that draws entries from all corners of the globe, Hobby Hall, floral designs and rides.
New and different food
• Slush-Cream: Enjoy a refreshing combination of slush flavors combined with soft serve ice cream, including orange (creamsicle), strawberry and peach.
• Apple Wallup: Apples, sweet dough, cinnamon and tasty toppings baked to perfection.
• Cowgirl Candy Cone: Sweet potato fries drizzled in marshmallow fluff with a caramel topping
• Cinnamon and Carmel Apple Fries: Granny Smith apples cut into slices, hand battered and fried, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, then served with whipping cream and caramel.
• Monster Yard of Lemonade: served in a 36-inch tall refillable (gulp) glass
Top-name entertainment highlights the Columbia Bank Concert Series again this year. Headliners range from Tim McGraw, Jeff Dunham, Enrique Iglesias, Big Time Rush, Jackie Evancho with the Tacoma Symphony, and more. Purchase tickets at www.thefair.com/concerts, and you can select your seating. Free entertainment stages and strolling entertainers feature something for all ages.
Very special days
Free admission for kids the first Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 8 and 9. To take advantage of BECU Free Kids' Weekend, download a coupon at becu.org/freekids, and turn it in at the gate either day in lieu of gate admission (up to 18 years).
Special activity days include Military Mondays Sept. 10 and 17, offering free gate admission to all active, reserve and retired military and National Guard and their dependents, plus disabled veterans when each shows valid military ID at the Fair gate, thanks to partners Chevrolet, WGU, 94.1 KMPS and KZOK 102.5 FM.
Senior Tuesdays, sponsored by Walgreens is on Tuesdays, Sept. 11 and 18, with Walgreens pharmacist, Gary Kiang speaking at 10:30 am both days about immunization and medication adherence, as well as Chelsey Knauss from Verizon discussing seniors on smart phones.
Discount gate and ride savings
Gates open at 10 a.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends. Season passes are sold at Walgreens for $29.50 for adults and $19.50 for students (ages 6-18 years), and include other special savings. Advance gate admission tickets are available through Sept. 23 at participating Walgreens and Safeway stores in Western Washington, while supplies last:
At gate, advance
• Adults: $12.50, $9
• Students (6-18): $9, $7.50
• Seniors (62 years and older), $9, $7.50
• Kids (5 & under) free
For more information, visit www.thefair.com.