17 Insider Tips for Exploring the Washington State Fair
The annual Washington State Fair is September 1-24 this year and we have your inside scoop on the best food, events, attractions, and rides! From old fan favorites to personal picks, our locals give you the rundown on the best way to spend your day “doing the Puyallup”!
Here are 17 things not to miss at the Washington State Fair, as recommended by locals!
Foods Not to Miss: Classic Scones to Elephant Ears
No day at the fair is complete without some good old-fashioned fair food. For a true Washington classic that cannot be beat, check out Trish Stone and Consuella Evans’ pick, Fisher Scones. “Fisher Scones you just can't replicate at home,” says Trish. Indeed, with simple recipes and high-quality ingredients, this vendor has been a staple of the fair for over 100 years.
Consuella also recommends 2 other popular fair favorites: “Along with scones as Trish said, an elephant ear is a must and an earthquake burger.” Duris Elephant Ears serves up the warmest, butteriest fried dough on the grounds, while Earthquakes Biggest Burgers promises a lot of bang for your buck with some of the largest, juiciest hamburgers around.
The fair is not only a great place to try delicious food, it’s also perfect for home chefs to pick up some flavor inspiration. If you’re a big garlic fan, you will have to stop by Consuella’s final pick, Garlic Gourmay. “One of the vendors I always look forward to seeing at the fair is Garlic Gourmay. Their seasonings, marinades, etc. are very good. If you've never heard of them before seeing them at the fair, the fair is a great place to start your collection.”
After spending a long day walking around and checking out the attractions, “finish off the fair fun with some pink and blue cotton candy from one of the roller booths,” suggests Krista Osborne. With several locations around the fairgrounds, you can’t miss out on this sugary sweet fair treat!
Events Not to Miss: Yee Haw!
Every year, the fair is packed with awesome events that are an absolute must-see. One of the biggest and best that you cannot miss out on is the Washington State Fair Rodeo. “The Justin Boots Playoffs–84th annual Washington State Fair Rodeo [is] September 7th-10th,” shares Patti Connolly. “Stay for the Dancin' in the Dirt Party Friday and Saturday evening. The finals are Sunday at 1:00pm! Barrel racin' to bull ridin'!!” For more information on the rodeo, the Dancin’ in the Dirt Party, and more, click here.
While you’re enjoying the fair “don't forget to check out the concerts that will be playing there as well,” Consuella suggests. This year’s Concert Series will include bands like Nickelback, Lady Antebellum, The Beach Boys, and more, so be sure to grab your tickets now for this unique opportunity (a complete schedule and list of performers can be found here).
Attractions Not to Miss: From Animals to Art & Beyond
Every fair has those staple attractions that visitors cannot get enough of, and the Washington State Fair is no exception. According to Trish, “if you get there at the beginning [of the fair] you get to see the baby chicks hatching” in the Poultry Barn and, to keep that ball rolling, you can then take your little ones over to the Fair Farm petting area to hang out with some four-legged little ones. “The baby animal petting area is such a great experience for little kids and big people,” shares Krista. “Just watching, if you don't want to touch, warms your heart as young critters are introduced to those eager to pet and hold them.”
After giving your hands a good clean at one of the hand-washing stations, you can then “go to LuLu's Dairy Barn where you can learn a bit about the dairy/milking process and enjoy some AMAZING, yummy ice cream, root beer floats and more,” says Krista. Folks of all ages are sure to get a kick out of it!
If animals are not your thing, there are plenty of other unique attractions that will keep you entertained and in awe. Trish recommends Hobby Hall, which is loaded with “fun, quirky crafts” and collections that will take you back to your childhood and leave you impressed. You can also check out “the Blacksmith booth on the east side of the grounds,” Krista recommends. “[It] takes you back to the olden days when those essential household items were forged by hand in steel then walking around the bend towards the south, you can marvel at the chainsaw artwork or hang out with the giant wooden Sasquatch.”
There are also some fun shows not to miss, like the “art show upstairs [featuring] amateur artists & photography,” Cheryl Wilkerson shares, or Osborne’s recommended “floral show; from bonsais to orchids to dahlias, the arrangements and the stand alone specimens are candy for the eyes.” No matter where your interests may lie, you are sure to find an attraction to suit your interests!
Rides Not to Miss: Everybody Scream!
One of the highlights of every fair is, of course, the crazy rides! If you’re looking to get your adrenaline pumping, check out the Washington State Fair’s Classic Coaster. “Riding the white roller coaster is the classic ride,” says Trish. “My dad used to take me on it as a little girl and we'd always wait for the last car because that's ‘the fastest and whips you around the most…’ and even at 6'4," he'd scream a little along side of me.”
Another heart-racing ride that Evans suggests is the Extreme Scream. “LOVE the Extreme Scream, [it’s] my favorite ride!!!” Launching you 20 stories in the air before letting go and plummeting you back to the ground, this ride is definitely not for the faint of heart!
*Insider Bonus Tip*
“I love the kids day at the fair,” says Paige Schulte. “[If] you want to skip the crowds, they have a half-off day for kids on a Wednesday. [There’s a] huge discount on the ride tickets, virtually no lines, [and] we typically play hookie from school and make a day of the fair without the crazy crowds. The discounted tickets are typically found at Fred Meyer and only offered during a specific time.”