The Puyallup Fair became the Washington State Fair in July, but the annual traditions remain the same. The three weeks of food, rides and entertainment in downtown Puyallup begins Sept. 6 and lasts until Sept. 22.
Military members and their families receive free gate admission Sept. 9 and 16 with military ID. The promotion includes reservists, retirees, National Guard members and disabled veterans.
Hungry fairgoers can treat their palettes to the famous Earthquake Burgers, bricks of curly fries and the popular Fisher Fair Scones.
Among the familiar fair traditions are plenty of new events, exhibits and a variety of musical performances.
Regular admission is $12.50 for adults, $9 for children 6 to 18 years old and free for 5 and under.
Karen LaFlamme, public relations counselor for the Washington State Fair, said in the context of a flat economy, free admission is a way to recognize and thank the military community.
They need time to share memories (with their families), and what better way than with free gate admission, LaFlamme said.
There are many free events at the fair including the new Crazy Worlds 5-D Adventure. Several screens, with 3-D glasses provided, act as windows to a dragon-filled fantasy world. The 5-D title signals additional effects like mist and smoke that add realism to the experience.
Another new exhibit, Luminasia, has been a work in progress for a month, with about 60,00 pounds of metal, 50,000 LED lights and miles of satin in 18 colors to create an East meets West Chinese lantern attraction. Pacific Northwest icons Mount Rainier, the Space Needle and tulip fields join Chinese cultural displays to create a memorable visual experience.
A new inversion roller coaster called Rainier Rush was added this year for thrill seekers. The Rush reaches speeds close to 50 miles per hour. But if you prefer the old school, the Classic Coaster one of the few wooden roller coasters in the country returns after five years of remodeling.
Some of the top cowboys and cowgirls will compete in the 2013 Justin Boots Rodeo Playoffs Friday-Sunday (Sept. 6-8) with berths to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev., up for grabs. Organizers call it one of the top five rodeos in the country. Events include bull riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding and barrel racing.
Tickets are $5 to $18 for the first day of competition 1 to 4 p.m. Sept.6. Tickets are $20 Saturday and $25 for the Sunday finals (both include gate admission to the fair and are 1 to 4 p.m.).
For music lovers a variety of acts including country musician Carrie Underwood, popular artist Cee-Lo Green and Christian bands Jars of Clay, Shinedown and Skillet are set to perform at the Grandstand. The 56th Army Band from I Corps on Joint Base Lewis-McChord will take its turn performing at the fair.
Ticket prices vary for each concert, but include the $12.50 gate admission.