The Puyallup Fair – Washington’s Biggest Event

The Puyallup Fair

My wife and I realized that we hadn’t been to the Puyallup Fair in over 20 years – that was with her twin nephews who were 4 years old at the time.  We were overdue to take our own nine year old to the fair.  The visit was well worth it.  He had a blast.

Do the Puyallup

The Puyallup Fair ranks among the top 10 fairs nationally and is the single largest event by attendance in Washington State.  The fair runs for 17 days every September with a four day Spring Fair recently added.  The Fair attracted 1.1 visitors to the September 2012 event just passed.

Random Fair Facts:

  • 162 food booths (in 2011)
  • 99,917 Giant Slide riders (2011)
  • 391 lost kids (2011)
  • 927 pounds – winning giant pumpkin (2011)
  • established in 1900
  • top attractions in the 1920s: chariot racing and trick horse riding

Half Day Visit to the Puyallup Fair

We zipped down to Puyallup from Bellevue on a week day after school to avoid the crowds (ha!).  We found free street parking a few blocks from the entrance and the lines for the rides were tolerable, but the fair was definitely well attended.  I can’t imagine what it would have been like on a weekend.  In the five hours we had available, we concentrated on the carnival rides and exhibit halls (animals and shopping).  There was so much that we missed: special exhibits (Rain Forest Adventure, Our Bodies), free concerts and paid concerts by major national artists, the rodeo, Friday Night fireworks, Fiestas Patrias weekend, and much else.  It would have taken multiple visits (and a small fortune) to cover everything.  The highlights of our quick visit were:

  • Gondola: We started with the gondola ride across the park, which gave us an understanding of how vast the Puyallup Fair is.
  • Animal exhibits: We were there on sheep day.  We saw a wide variety of sheep.
  • Animals of the World exhibit: zebra, ze-donk (zebra-donkey mix), exotic sheep and cattle, miniature horses, a camel, emus, baby kangaroos, llamas.
  • Walking on Water: the rider sits, rolls, or attempts to stand inside a dry, plastic bubble, which floats and spins on a pool of water.
  • Big Slide: giant, multi-lane slide you ride down on a burlap sack.
  • Wooden Roller Coaster: Exciting roller coaster we rode twice.
  • Exhibit Halls: We watched a demonstration of the most expensive cookware on Earth: $3,000+ for a complete set.  The sample food was worth the wait.
  • Fair Food: We pigged out on cotton candy and an M&M covered caramel apple.
  • Fair Toys: My little boy couldn’t wait for dark and the end of the Fair, when I promised him a double lightsaber with flashing lights.  (Surprisingly affordable.)

About Bob Kelly

Experienced buyer's agent with eXp Realty based in Bellevue. I encourage my buyers to negotiate from low bids and save money. Service area is King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Thurston counties - even more widely for vacation homes. Specialties include vacation homes, working with investors, general home buyers, and listings. Based on my real estate investing experience, I can advise clients about property analysis, landlording, effective online advertising, running a vacation rental, creative financing (lease options, owner financing), flipping/rehabbing, and much more. Contact me at

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