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Things to do at the Washington State Fair

What not to miss at the fair


There is much to do at the Washington State Fair (formerly called the Puyallup Fair). With more than 169 acres of fairgrounds, if you aren’t already familiar with the fair, figuring out what exactly to do might be overwhelming.

2014 Puyallup Fair Concerts | Puyallup Fair Rides | Fair Overview

1. The Giant Rollercoaster

Puyallup Fair Rollercoaster
Copyright Kristin Kendle

If you go on one ride at the fair, head for the rollercoaster. Yes, the lines are long sometimes. No, it’s not the world’s most exciting rollercoaster. But what this ride offers that others don’t is a piece of the Fair’s history. While much of the coaster’s structure was replaced in a renovation to battle wood rot in recent years, the coaster’s design and location have remained the same since it was built in 1935 and is one of about 125 wooden coasters remaining in the U.S. The American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) added the ride to their roster of Coaster Classics, awarded only to wooden coasters that adhere to rules that allow riders to experience the air time and other unique thrills that only wooden coasters offer.

2. Extreme Scream

Puyallup Fair Extreme Scream
Copyright Jennifer R. Graevell Photography
It’s hard to miss the Extreme Scream. This 20-story tower juts out above the fairgrounds and is visible from surrounding roads and just about anywhere in the fairgrounds. The Extreme Scream was added to the fair in 1999 and cost over $2 million to build. The ride launches 16 riders at a time straight up into the air, only to come freefalling down seconds later. Even if you don’t have any interest in riding a thrilling ride like this, stopping by to watch others do it is good fun.

3. Hypnotist Shows

Puyallup Fair Hypnotist Shows
Copyright ozmafan
There are many concerts and shows at the fair, from free entertainment to headliners, but one of the most unique shows you can see at the fair each year are the hypnosis shows. For many years, the Washington State Fair’s resident hypnotist was Travis Fox with Hypnomania. Now, someone new has taken the reigns—Master Hypnotist Tina Marie, who specializes in hilarious hypnosis shows. If you’ve seen one of these shows at the fair before, you know the process—a few dozen volunteers are brought on stage, hypnotized, and then perform wildly funny antics.

4. Foot Massagers

Puyallup Fair Foot Massager
Copyright quinn.anya
Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that make the fair all worth it. If you stay here for a few hours or more, your feet will likely be aching and ready for a break. Look for one of the Puyallup Fair’s many foot massagers or jigglers. Some look like chairs in the shape of hands, while others look kind of like a bench with a flat foot rest. Have a seat, drop a few quarters in the slot, and enjoy foot-refreshing bliss as a metal plate jiggles the pain out of your feet.

5. Hobby Hall

Some people love exhibits at the fair, others maybe not so much, but Hobby Hall is likely to interest almost everyone. Located at the back of the Americraft ShowPlex building, Hobby Hall showcases collections and crafts—sometimes amazing, sometimes funny, sometimes just plain weird. Collections might include things like Coca-Cola merchandise, Wizard of Oz memorabilia, or a skilled woodworker’s collection of intarsia works.

6. Piglets

Puyallup Fair Piglets
Copyright ozmafan
The fair shows off many animals, all of which are worth checking out if you enjoy animals on display. Clydesdale horses, rabbits, cats and dogs, and newly hatched chicks are all out in force, but if you only see one animal display, check out the piglets! Each year, two mother pigs and their babies are housed at the Pig Palace, located at the back of the Dairy Barn Complex. Especially if you have young children, the piglets will be a hit. But even adults will find that there are few things cuter than newborn pigs.

7. Fisher Fair Scones

Puyallup Fair Scones
Copyright quinn.anya
Washington State Fair scones are simple—plain, freshly baked biscuits sliced open and filled with butter and raspberry jam. Yet the appeal of a delicious, hot scone is hard to deny. People line up for all kinds of fair food—Earthquake burgers, elephant ears, roasted corn, curly fries—but fair scones are revered and come complete with diehard fans willing to stand in long lines. With six scone stands and bakeries located around the fairgrounds, there is often a lie-free location somewhere not too far away, if you’re adverse to the wait.

8. Mutton Bustin’

Puyallup Fair Mutton Bustin
Copyright Evil Erin
Mutton Bustin’ is not often thought of as one of the headlining acts of the Washington State Fair, and yet, it’s good old fashioned fun. The event entails children ages three to six, who are under 60 pounds, riding sheep in a miniature rodeo. The sheep don’t buck, but are instead released from a chute and then run across the arena. Children must cling to the back of the sheep for six seconds or more to qualify. Their efforts are a lot of fun to watch, even if you don’t have kids.

9. Giant Pumpkin Carving

Puyallup Fair Pumpkins
Copyright Kristin Kendle
Usually near the Gold Gate, you’ll find carvers turning enormous pumpkins into faces or works of art. Once their work is completed, the giant pumpkins stay on display. While the fair has a number of agricultural exhibits, the giant pumpkins are some of the most fun to look at due to their sheer size and the carver’s great skills. Plus, they will help you get into the fall season and start thinking about Halloween!
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