The Washington State Spring Fair entertained over 100,000 guests this April, and as one of two Washington State Fair events held annually, it offered guests a wide array of family entertainment. Still up-coming in 2018 is the fall fair, which topped 1.1 million guests in 2017.
Both fairs are known as the single largest attractions held annually in the state of Washington, ranking among the top ten largest fairs in the U.S. Located in Puyallup, 35 miles from Seattle, the Spring Fair runs 4 days, and the September-scheduled event for 21-days. Thematically, both fair events focus on celebrating the state itself, from its entertainment to exhibits.
And it all comes with a sense of state pride and history. The fair began in 1900 in Puyallup, and is now the single largest attended event in the state. The Washington State Fair was originally known as the Valley Fair. “It was created as a celebration of the harvest, and a way to gather the local community,” public relations coordinator Symone Salvino reports. “Over the years, the Fair has grown, changed names, expanded the grounds, and is known for hosting an array of entertainment, becoming a staple of tradition for Washington State.”
According to Salvino, some of the fair’s most popular rides and attractions include the cutting-edge Extreme Scream and the traditional Classic Coaster. “The Classic Coaster was built in 1935 and is our oldest ride. The Extreme Scream is a thrilling tower launch ride goes 20-stories in the air, pushing nearly 3-G’s and plummets back down in terrifyingly fun fashion,” she says, adding “Not for the faint of heart.” The fair’s carnival company, Funtastic, provided all the rides for the Spring fair.
“The Washington State Spring Fair ran April 19-22, 2018 and is an event that focuses on family fun. A highlight is Motorsport Mayhem, which showcases Monster Truck shows and a Slamfest Demolition Derby. There are countless cute and cuddly animals to see and watch,” she relates, noting that the biggest difference between the April event and the September offering is the entertainment in the Grandstand and the duration of the fair – both are, she says “a great place for making family memories. The Washington State Fair is one of the biggest fairs in the world, and the largest in the Pacific Northwest.”
Salvino notes that “The weather made for a wonderful spring fair this year.” All the more reason that families turned out to enjoy entertainment offerings such as garden displays, pig racing, reptile shows, stunt equestrian shows, and even dogs performing water tricks. From an exhibition of Australian animals to livestock and a 4H club Jr. Poultry exhibit to an Artists in Action presentation that features regional artisans creating works live, the Spring Fair offered a wide range of activities.
Of course, fair food is a big part of the fun picture, too.Favorites include brats and BBQ, roasted corn, funnel cakes, and caramel apples. Kaleenka Russian Piroshky are a savory snack, with regional favorites such as beef and salmon. And Fisher Scones created fresh scones served with local raspberry jam and fresh whipped butter, and they’ve been a part of the Washington Fair for over a hundred years. There’s another “meatier” tradition that’s served up, too. Since 1922, Myers Burgers has been grilling their Onion Burger, piled high with fried onions at a burger stand that is also known for its singing cooks, onion rings, and a plump Polish hot dog. A more recent taste addition to the fair is Brew Park Live, where 16 taps of Washington-state craft beer and cider are available along with wine and spirits. On Saturday night of the Spring Fair, attendees at the brew park enjoyed the chance to boogie down to the music of the Olson Brother Band.
Other musical events were offered throughout the fair ground: on Sunday, guests enjoyed Fiesta Mexicana, celebrating Mexican culture and arts with dance and music.
Shopping opportunities were also a strong draw: from mattresses to Old West artifacts and original artworks, browsers and buyers had plenty to explore.
Salvino adds that “This spring some of the biggest attractions at the Spring Fair were the Cirque Ma’Ceo Equestrian Stunt Show, Motorsport Mayhem and Storybook Village. There were additional ticketed prices for all except for Storybook Village.”
Running all weekend long at the Spring Fair, Motorsport Mayhem featured tricked-out monster trucks on Friday, and car-smashing stunts on Saturday and Sunday.
Advance ticket purchases for these events included admission to the fair; seating for the events themselves ranged from $15 grandstand seating for students aged 2-18; $28 for adult grandstand seating; and $38 for the Golden Derby. O’Reilly Auto Parts offered $5 off admission. Monster Truck Rides were also offered at $8 per ride.
The Cirque Ma’Ceo Equestrian Stunt Show featured equestrian stunts and horseback acrobatics, with choreography, live singing, and stunts on horses all designed to highlight the bonded interaction between rider and horse. General admission tickets were $7, with children under 5 admitted free.
The popular, free-with-fair-admission Storybook Village brought classic fairytale favorites to life, ready by storytellers. Characters from stories were available for photo opportunities.
Tickets for the Spring Fair itself were $12 for adults, students 6-18 $10, and kids 5 and under were free. Pre-fair ticket sales were $10 and $8, respectively.
To advertise the fair, Salvino says their marketing mix includes “social media, traditional advertising such as print, radio, and TV,” with the goal to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Meanwhile, planning for fall has already begun. “Our newest attraction will be The Farm at SillyVille. The attraction is Washington’s food and farming story: a free, exciting, hands-on exhibit that connects kids and families to our state’s agriculture industry, the farmers that produce the food we eat, and promotes the connection to healthy eating choices,” Salvino relates.