Fair Game

Our State Fair Is...Which State Fair?

It's time to ride the coaster and hang with the 4-H kids—but there's more than one place to gorge on elephant ears.

By Allison Williams August 27, 2021

All's fair in a Washington summer, apparently.

This week marks the beginning of the Evergreen State Fair—which is not the Washington State Fair, even though Washington state is the Evergreen State. Seafair? A whole other thing. And if you're wondering whatever happened to "Do the Puyallup," well, you're probably not alone.

The Evergreen State Fair grew out of the Snohomish County Fair in the 1940s—which makes it as old as the stretch of Highway 2 near Monroe, where it's held. Though the 2021 version will skip the usual rodeo for Covid reasons, the music stage will go on as usual: Foghat, Chris Janson, and a female mariachi band called Flor de Toloache. The Speedway does auto events (and monster truck rides for $10), and a cashless midway hosts the usual slate of games and rides. The Evergreen State Fair runs August 26–September 6 (closed on September 1).

South of Seattle, the Washington State Fair kicks off September 3 and runs most days through the end of the month, held at the Western Washington Fairgrounds in Puyallup. Performers include Carrie Underwood, Macklemore, Styx, the Beach Boys, and Ice Cube (not all together, sadly), and the rodeo begins September 9. It was not held in 2020, so you can brush up on fair memories with our 2019 photo album.

Washington State Fair rides include a giant Ferris wheel and giant slide, and the animal barns house baby piglets and the Budweiser Clydesdales (not all together, fortunately). The Skyride tram dates back to the same 1962 World's Fair—another one!—that gave Seattle the Space Needle. After a meal of cotton candy and funnel cakes, the fair's famous Fisher Scones are a can't-miss dessert.

And about "Do the Puyallup": For years the Puyallup Fair was known as the biggest elephant-ear bash in the state, but in 2013 it changed names to become the Washington State Fair. Longtime Washingtonians still can't get the jingle out of our heads.

And then, of course, there's Seattle's own event, Seafair. Largely kept to online events in 2021, it's expected to return next year with the signature Blue Angels flight show and Lake Washington hydroplane races.

There are many county events that also dot the summer calendar—King County's fair claims to be the oldest west of the Mississippi. The upshot: There's plenty of fair to go around.

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