The Washington State Fair begins its 113th year today and will continue through Sept. 22. The Fair will officially kick off with the traditional cattle drive and the Washington State Fair Western Rodeo Parade at 10 a.m. on Meridian Street in downtown Puyallup.
Corriente cattle will lead the way, followed by draft horse hitches, marching bands, equestrian drill teams and costume characters. Preceding the parade will be the rodeo breakfast, held from 8 to 10 a.m. at Pioneer Park's Pavilion across from Puyallup City Hall next to the parade route. Breakfast will cost $2.
Gate admission will be free from 9 a.m. to noon on opening day with a non-perishable food donation for Puyallup Food Bank.
The fair will feature its usual array of carnival rides, livestock displays, food booths and concerts; and to that mix fair organizers have added several new attractions for 2013.
Luminasia lantern festival (daily): This ancient lantern-making craft has been transformed and modernized to dazzle its audience in this larger-than-life production. Artisans from China have been on the grounds in Puyallup since Aug. 3 assembling this marvelous exhibit.
Over 50,000 state-of-the-art bulbs are used to illuminate this spectacle for viewing both day and night. The result is an East-meets-West fusion that’s sure to awe its audience. Wander through a lantern-lit ferry boat, gaze at tulip fields and majestic totem poles. This unique look at many Washington state sights is sure to entice the entire family, especially when combined with Eastern lanterns, including lotus flowers, a dragon, pagodas, and much more. This is a separate, ticketed event. Tickets are $10 to $12 for a single-day pass, $16 to $20 for a pass that also includes Fair admission, and are available online at http://www.thefair.com.
Rainier Rush roller coaster: This new, looping inversion coaster guarantees a stomach-twisting experience you won’t forget. It will take you over 60 feet in the air, then hold on tight as you speed downhill around wild loops, along wavy tracks and bendy curves. The 80 degree banked inversion is unique, offering a fear factor exciting for every family member. Rainier Rush offers a smooth ride, in spite of its +5.8 gravity force.
Opening Weekend Comcast Dizzy Pass bracelet: This weekend bracelet will be sold on site for $35 on Sept. 7 and 8, and will allow access to all rides, except for the Extreme Scream and Rainier Rush coasters.
Piglet Palace: Each year, two sows arrive at the Fair with one ready to deliver her piglets around opening day, and another midway through the Fair. Once the piglets arrive, the Palace will be packed with kids of all ages ogling over the latest newcomers to the Fair. Free with gate admission.
Tractor Tracks: Kids will be able to take a spin on a tractor that they pedal around a maze, seeing a red barn, water feature, big farm tractor and more. This attraction is located in Sillyville and is free with gate admission.
Laser shows (nightly at 9:00 and 9:30 p.m.) and fireworks (Fridays, Sept. 6, 13, 20): Laser shows will be held every night of the Fair near the Planting Patch. Fireworks will go off starting at 10 p.m. on Fridays.
Evergreen Hall: The Floral Department and the Agriculture and Horticulture Department have moved into a new facility so that both produce and flowers from the rich earth in Washington can be shown. You’ll also enjoy the tradition of the beautiful grange displays, too. Sponsor: Marquis Spas
Sounder Train (Sept. 14 and 21): The Sounder Train will serve 12 stations between Everett and Lakewood. Shuttle service will be offered from the Puyallup Station to the Washington State Fair.
‘Crazy Worlds’ 5D Adventures: Immerse yourself in a walk-thru interactive, multimedia experience that you won’t want to miss! Imagery comes to life with 3D glasses (provided). Free with Fair admission.
Green Marketplace: The Funky Junk Sisters will be here from Sept. 6 to 10, followed by a wild west theme from Sept. 11 to 16. The last six days will feature artisan products from the region.
Columbia Bank Concert series: This year's grandstand headliners include Craig Morgan (9 p.m. Sept. 6, after the rodeo, $40); Trace Adkins (9 p.m., Sept. 7, after the rodeo, $40); Little Big Town (7:30 p.m. Sept. 9, $20 to $60); Al Jarreau with Tacoma Symphony (5 p.m. Sept. 10, $50); Cheap Trick (7:30 p.m. Sept. 11, $25 to $55); CeeLo Green (7:30 p.m. Sept. 12, $20 to $60); Carrie Underwood (7:30 p.m. Sept. 13, $45 to $95); Digital Affair with Excision and Chuckie (4 p.m. Sept. 14, $45 to $80); Fiestas Patrias Music Festival featuring Roberto Tapia (noon Sept. 15, $32.50); Alabama (7:30 p.m. Sept. 16, $35 to $95); Raise the Roof featuring Jeremy Camp, Tenth Avenue North, Kutless and Jars of Clay (7 p.m. Sept. 17, $20 to $40); Carnival of Madness featuring Shinedown, Skillet, In This Moment and We As Human (5 p.m. Sept. 18, $35 to $45); Larry the Cable Guy (7:30 p.m. Sept. 19, $20 to $65); Carly Rae Jepsen (7:30 p.m. Sept. 20, $20 to $50); Austin Mahone & Bridgit Mendler (7 p.m. Sept. 21, $25 to $60); and Kid Rock (7:30 p.m. Sept. 22, $45 to $95).
Fair gates open at 10 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on weekends. Admission is $10 to $12.50 for adults, $7.50 to $9 for senior citizens and students, ages 6 to 18, and free for children ages 5 and under. Season passes are also available, for $19.50 to $29.50, at participating Walgreens and Safeway stores.
Learn more online at http://www.thefair.com.