Friends Visit the Fair:
Although Friday the 13th is considered to be an unlucky day, my friend Kathleen and I decided to spend a fun day at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, one of the top ten largest fairs in the country with more than 1 million visitors each year. With only a short delay due to a much needed coffee break, we finally made it to the fairgrounds around 2 pm and followed signs to the Gold parking lot, the one closest to the grandstand and only a two minute walk to the gold entrance.

After having our tickets scanned, we made our way to an information stand to gather up maps and started exploring the fair area. We passed a variety of animal exhibitions displaying rabbits, dogs, pigs (and baby piglets!), horses and were lucky to see one of the day’s two horse shows. Kids of all ages were enjoying a large petting zoo, tractor pull rides and magician shows. Entertainment for “big kids” is provided with extreme rides as the Rainier Rush, the Extreme Scream, the Classic Coaster and about 30 other fun rides!

After this, we enjoyed some of the free live music at the Coca Cola Stage and browsed arts and photographs at one of the exhibition halls, while snacking on original Fisher scones and fried Twinkies. As dinner time approached, we made an obligatory stop to get some corn on the cob and ended up in the international food court for tacos, salad, burgers and lemonade before heading over to the grandstand for the Fair’s nightly concert series.

It turns out that the night’s performer, country artist Carrie Underwood, is no stranger to the Washington State Fair as she performed at the Grandstand in 2008. The 90-minute show included well-known songs such as “Before He Cheats” (which, according to the crowd was definitely the favorite of the night), “Cowboy Casanova”, “All American Girl” and “See You Again”, which she performed with a three year old kid out of the audience. All in all, the concert was the perfect way to end a fun filled day at the Fair! 

Food Loving Friends Eat at the Fair:

If you read my Bite of Seattle blog, you already know I’m not from around here, and I love food! So, when I was given the opportunity to attend the Washington State Fair, I jumped at the chance! I wanted to see how it stood up to the usual, Benton Franklin county fair and rodeo, which I attend annually back in my hometown of Kennewick, WA.

From Seattle Southside, it took us just under an hour to get to the fairgrounds. Luckily, there was plenty of signage to point us the right way and for $10.00, we parked in the official fair parking lot. However, there were plenty of discounted parking lots and street parking for those looking for an alternative.

Tickets were $12.50 for each adult, and surprisingly the lines were almost nonexistent: partially because we arrived around dinnertime and partially because the ticket sellers were very efficient. A quick bag search for the ladies and we were off!

As soon as we arrived our stomachs were dragging us towards the endless dining options. The first bite we grabbed was a deep fried mac and cheese turnover with bacon. It was very reminiscent of my Bite of Seattle experience! It was absolutely delicious! The only downfall was that it was too hot to eat as quickly as I wanted. Oh and I had to share, I wasn’t a huge fan of that part either!

We ventured further into the fair and came upon the Extreme Scream ride. After much deliberation, we decided against the potential stomachache and wandered further into the Fair. Fernando stopped to try one of Kaleenka’s Piroshky, infamous at Pike Place Market! He got the classic beef and cheese. It was love at first bite! He said he would be satisfied eating only these for the rest of his life!

We found a resting spot so Fernando could finish his Piroshky, while Leticia and I went and tried a Krusty Pup! It was her first corn dog experience and she loved it! Luis tried the onion burger and curly fries and was very satisfied with his greasy dinner.

Whilst sitting enjoying our food, we were joined by a couple, Leah and Pete, who are long time fair goers. They told us that Luis’s onion burger is one of the best eats at the Fair! Pete mentioned that he had tried to recreate the masterpiece at home with no success, stating, “There’s just something special in that Fair grease!” We couldn’t agree more.

Fernando and I went to look at the Hobby Hall while Luis and Leticia went and saw all the fair games. I picked up a half slice of rocky road fudge from Seattle fudge, and Fernando snagged some garlic jerky from the Jerky Bros.

We continued walking and found a booth that showcased massage chairs. We decided to try them out and upon doing so, had our worlds rocked. I would’ve been satisfied spending the entire evening with my booty planted in that chair. But alas, the salesmen said our trial run was finished and tried to sell us these $3,600 chairs. My internal college budget laughed, as I politely declined their sale pitch. It was fun while it lasted!   

On the way out I saw a Sheepskin shoe booth, I stopped to check out some slippers. As I was walking away, the salesman stopped me and asked why I didn’t buy anything! I said what I wanted was out of our budget, as I’m trying to save for a wedding. He offered me a $20 discount as a wedding present! How could a shopaholic like myself resist a deal like that? Did I mention these slippers are the most amazing things to have ever graced my feet? $40 well spent!

We met back up with Luis and Leticia and decided to try something I’ve been looking forward to since birth: deep fried butter. Yes, that noise you hear actually is your arteries clogging! They advertise them as a big stick of butter, however the actual product are small butter balls rolled in dough batter, deep fried, and covered in your choice of raspberry jelly or cinnamon sugar. We tried both!

We were all hesitant to try the little deep fried balls, so we counted to three and all at once, took a bite! It was absolutely heavenly. The butter had melted into the dough and created the perfect butter to deep fried dough ratio, and the raspberry jam cinnamon sugar mix complimented it flawlessly. If you take anything from this blog, take this:try the deep fried butter!I beg of you, give it a chance before you write it off! Unless you have restrictive health issues, it’s a must do!

After our butter euphoria, we decided it was game time. Luis played the sledgehammer game, and scored a whopping 119 points, however it wasn’t enough to win a big prize. He was given a blowup hammer as a consolation prize. Check out that action shot!

Leticia tried a shooting game, where the point was to shoot a crossbow and get the arrow to hit a star without touching any black lines (aka nearly impossible). She took her position and unfortunately didn’t shoot well enough! She lost! The next game we all played together, shooting water guns into the mouth of a clown to blow up a balloon. The first balloon to pop is named the winner! We played against 8 other people and none of us were successful in our attempt. We were beat by a 9-year-old girl. We walked away feeling defeated; with heads hung low, knowing we wouldn’t speak of the loss ever again.

We continued to wander around and by the time we looked at our phone, it was 11:00pm, time to head out! The boys got an elephant ear on the way out, and the girls grabbed a Dole pineapple whip. With full bellies and tired feet, we walked out to the deserted parking lot and headed home.

For my first state fair, it was quite an experience and my tummy is thanking me. That's what those noises mean, right? I’ll definitely be returning. You did us good, Puyallup!

Fried Food, Animals, Rides and Fun at the Washington State Fair

Rodeo Loving Friends Visit the Fair:

The Puyallup Fair is a tradition here in the Northwest. As Washington State's largest fair there is so much to see and do, eat and smell, buy and take photos of. This past weekend I attended opening weekend of the fair and witnessed my very first rodeo.

After parking in a huge lot my partners in crime, Tina and Lindsey, and I made note of our row by remembering the yellow house across the street and headed to the gold gate. There are several entrances around the fairgrounds. Remembering which one you entered through is key. My friends and I purchased our rodeo tickets which also included entrance to the fair and made our way to grandstand.

FYI beer and wine are allowed in the grandstand but hard liquor can only be consumed in the beer garden. So with Bud Lights in hand we found our seats about 3/4 the way up and somewhat in the middle. Not too shabby. We arrived just in time for the first event, bull riding. Since it was the finals the best of the best were competing. It was interesting and exciting to watch all of the events including: bare back riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and barrel racing. For more information on the events click here. My favorite by far was the mutton bustin, where little kids try to hold on to a sheep for as long as possible. So cute!

After the rodeo we went to explore the rest of the fair stopping by the animal exhibits to see the cows, sheep, and mama pig with her newborn babies. We wandering through the pavilions looking at award winning pumpkins and vegetable displays, and photography and fine art exhibits. We watched some of the games but didn't join so luckily no one ended up with a huge stuffed bear to bring home.

No fair experience is complete without the fair food. Some of our favorites: pulled pork sandwich, scones, krusty pup, fried anything, earthquake burger and corn on the cob. After stuffing our faces we headed over to the rides. While this might not seem like a great idea everyone survived without a "Sandlot chew" experience. There was screaming on the Extreme Scream, swinging on the Vertigo, sliding on the Giant Slide and a go around on the Big Wheel overlooking the sparkling lights of fair.

I would say it was another successful year at the Puyallup Fair. Until next year!

Couple Explores the Fair:

Going to the Washington State Fair on the last day might not sound like the best idea, but for some busy people such as my girlfriend and I, it was the only choice we had.  So, on Sunday, September 21, we made our way down to Puyallup for the final day of the 2014 fair.  It was a fun day filled with food, rides, shopping and bulls.

We left Seattle Southside around noon and arrived at the fair after only thirty minutes.  We thought that there would be more traffic for the last day of the fair, but I guess we just lucked out.  We started out in one of the shopping tents where my girlfriend found an African handmade craft shop.  She ended up purchasing a handmade purse for $25.  You couldn’t go ten minutes into the fair without buying an accessory could you, Tiffany?

After the purse purchase, we made our way to our favorite fair attraction, the rides!  My girlfriend and I are heavy hitters and high rollers when it comes to amusement park fair rides, so we splurged and purchased 120 ride and game tickets for $50.  With the exception of the Extreme Scream (pictured to the right) most rides cost around eight tickets, so we were going to have our fair share of motion sickness on this particular day. 

We started out with the mid-level rides which were made up predominantly of various rides that spin you right round, baby, right round and oftentimes, upside down as well.  We very much enjoyed these rides, but some were better than others.  If you have ever suffered from motion sickness after a ride, I would advise against the “Hard Rock” which is a ride that forces you to flip nonstop, while spinning for around two and a half minutes.  This one required us to take a break from the rides and get some lunch. 

My girlfriend decided to go with a classic fair burger with grilled onions and seasoned curly fries.  She was quite satisfied with her selection, but threw away a few grilled onions because, “it was a little overkill.”  The fair burger was a safe choice, but I wanted to take it to the extreme.  So, I decided to buy a giant western sausage.  This behemoth sausage was about 14 inches in a bun and came loaded with grilled onions and peppers.  Now, I consider myself a man who likes to eat and rarely leaves leftovers.  But with the giant western sausage, I finally met my match.  After digging in with my plastic knife and fork, I wasn’t even able to finish half of the monster culinary creation. 

Still not prepared to return to the rides, we made our way into the morbidly named “Beef Barn” to see some of the largest bulls this side of the Mississippi!  My girlfriend loved seeing these big boys relaxing with bales of hay, as well as the young calves staying close to their mothers.  I would also highly recommend the smell inside the barn for the fair purists out there.  After the bulls, we made our way to the next barn where we were able to pet and feed some pygmy goats!  The little guys enjoyed their meal almost as much as we did ours. 

Finally, our stomachs had settled enough that we were able to return to the rides.  We headed right for the granddaddy of all fair rides, the “Extreme Scream.”  This ride is for experienced thrill seekers only and it is our favorite ride each and every year.  This year did not disappoint as the drop from the top was just as shocking as ever!  The Extreme Scream costs $10 (or 20 tickets) but I would argue that it’s worth every penny.

By this point, we had been at the fair for around three and a half hours and we were about ready to head home.  We had around thirty tickets left for rides and games, but we were pretty tired.  Fortunately, the tickets don’t expire so we decided to save them for next year.  We picked up a blueberry-pomegranate smoothie to cool down and settle our stomachs (again) on the way out that was very refreshing.  Overall, going to the fair on the last day wasn’t bad at all and we are looking forward to going again next year!

Family Visits the Fair:

It was our first year to finally visit the Washington State Fair together as a family! We went during the day on a weekday, which I highly recommend if you have little ones. There were no lines or waiting at food stands, games, rides, and even the restrooms! There were a good amount of visitors and guests, but nothing like how it is on the weekends or evenings.

Our main goals were to (1) eat delicious Fair foods, (2) play games and win prizes, and (3) take our eldest on his first amusement rides ever! And let me tell you now, ALL were successfully accomplished!

We arrived around 2:30 pm and didn’t leave until about 6:30 pm. We parked at the Blue Gate parking lot, which was extremely convenient, and as soon as we crossed the street and entered the Fair, we were on a mission to eat! 

After passing through the Arts & Crafts Hall, Sam found Pete’s BBQ and ordered the BBQ Chicken and Rib Meal. It included beans and corn on the cob as sides. I headed to a seafood stand and ordered a Lobster Dog (a corn dog filled with lobster instead of a hotdog) and fries. We got our boys a giant foot-long corn dog from Juicy’s BBQ! Our hunger was finally satisfied.

We headed over to the kiddie rides and let Dezmin choose any ride he wanted. We bought a 120 tickets for $50. Games and rides are usually about 6-8 tickets each time. The first ride Dezmin chose was the Water Boat ride. It was a good pick for his first ride. Next, I chose the swings for him. I used to love this ride when I was young, so I thought he would love it, too. We both enjoyed it for a bit, but I started to get dizzy and he was bored.

His Dad chose the kiddie roller coaster, and boy did he love it! He loved it so much, he rode on in two more times!  He was laughing and smiling throughout the whole entire ride. Now we know what types of rides to bring him on!

After the rides, came the games! I think we were Sam’s lucky charms that day because he practically won at every game he played! He played hoops, a duck ring-toss, test your strength, bean bag toss, and more. I, on the other hand, didn’t win anything, but Dezmin also played two games, and won a few prizes, too!

These stuffed animals pictured below are only SOME of prizes they won.

Family Fair Day was a total success, and we all enjoyed every minute of it! Remember, if you have little ones, go during the daytime, on a weekday. 

Come Have Fun at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup!

FAQs

Q: What are the dates for the Washington State Fair?

A: Sept. 2-25, 2022

 

Q: Where is the WA State Fair?

A: The Puyallup Fair & Events Center at 110 9th Ave SW, Puyallup, WA 98371

 

Q: What rides are at the Washington State Fair?

A: Classic carousels, classic wooden roller coaster, Cliff Hanger, El Nino, Extreme Scream, Ghost Pirates, Grand Wheel, bungee, sling shot, walk on water, Kamikaze, Mardi Gras, balloons, Century Wheel, Dragon Wagon, Flying Tigers, and more!

 

Q: When does the Washington State Fair end?

A: This year, the Washington State Fair starts on Labor Day weekend and ends on Sunday, September 26, 2021. As usual, the fair will be closed each Tuesday throughout its three-week run.