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Weekend Cover Story

Roll out the fun

Fair promises fun aplenty, free admission

Published: 03:26PM April 10th, 2014
Roll out the fun

Patrick Hagerty

Pigs round the track at the All Alaskan Racing Pigs event at the 2013 Washington State Spring Fair in Puyallup.

A large number of service members and their families are expected to turn out for the 25th annual Washington State Spring Fair at the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup.

The four-day event runs April 10-13 with events, concerts, games, rides and delicious fair food.

Admission is free for active duty, retired, reserve military, disabled veterans and their family members — with valid military ID — 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, April 11.

“The military community is so important for us,” said Karen LaFlamme, spokesperson for the state fair. “It’s just a great way to thank them for keeping our country safe and free.”

Last year, the Spring Fair attracted more than 3,500 service members and family members on Military Appreciation Day. LaFlamme said past appreciation days attracted 3,500 to 5,000 people.

There are also several deals for fair fans, including the KMPS Showcase Concert headlining up-and-coming country artist Chuck Wicks at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The concert is free with first-come, first-serve seating. There is a special section reserved for service members and their families.

Several bands will perform during the weekend at all of the stages on the fairgrounds, including Fistful of Dollars, Static and a Rising Star Concert presented by a country radio station in Seattle.

The Spring Fair provides many exclusive events separate from the Washington State Fair later in September, with something for everyone in the family.

“That’s the beauty of the fair — bring all of the family together to create new memories,” LaFlamme said.

One of the biggest attractions is the Northwest Junior Livestock Show and Sale where 4-H and Future Farmers of America students from all over the state present steers, hogs and lambs they have raised. Fairgoers are able to visit students and talk about their respective animals and everything involved with raising them.

“The kids will proudly tell you all about it and give you more facts than you ever thought was possible,” LaFlamme said. “It’s a great way to learn without thinking you’re learning.”

Other popular favorites scheduled for the four-day fair include the All Alaskan Racing Pigs — an attraction since the Spring Fair’s inception — DockDogs, fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights and a monster truck show.

Along with the classic attractions, there are plenty of new additions to the Spring Fair this year.

The Tot Spot is a new designated area for toddlers that includes free face painting, a “Thank a Farmer” magic show, an AG-Ventureland and a Let’s Pretend show where kids help perform a play with costumes and props.

Another new attraction is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math showcase with students from the Puyallup School District presenting invention and technology projects. LaFlamme said the showcase features students from JBLM and is expected to draw a good crowd.

“You see a lot of families up in that area bringing everyone in that area to see their child’s work,” LaFlamme said.

Many fair goers visit the fairgrounds for the food — famous hamburgers, caramel apples, elephant ears and so much more.

At last year’s Spring Fair, more than 110,000 traditional scones were sold and are considered the fair’s one-of-a-kind food icon.

“It’s amazing how many people buy scones and send them to loved ones across the country,” LaFlamme said. “It’s all of the tradition involved with something like a scone that brings it all together.”