Syracuse, New York, hosted the country’s first state fair in 1841, featuring displays, recipe showcases, and livestock exhibitions. Today there are nearly 70 agricultural fairs in Washington alone, along with their blue‑ribbon pies, pumpkins, and ponies—exhibited alongside advancements in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). Washington State University is connected to them all.
The 1927 Pioneer Hall at Yakima’s State Fair Park engages young people with such things as 3D printers along with straw rockets, shadow walls, engineering challenges, and more.
[ View of the Central Washington Fair in Yakima from the Sundola chairlift. Photo Robert Hubner ]
The delights of state, county, and local fairs have long brought together folks of all walks of life and ages. Sometimes just for the food: Cotton candy? Elephant ears, funnel cakes, corn dogs and curly fries? Or maybe a Fisher scone smothered with raspberry jam? Fair season runs March to October and serves up creativity and innovation along with Americana and tradition.
[ Back in the swing this year at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. Photo Robert Hubner ].
Time goes fast at the fair. But, oh, what a ride. Early days featured vaudeville and circus acts, fiddler contests, and horse racing. These days, entertainment includes bungee jumping, riding exotic animals, and concert-going with a wide array of musicians and bands.
[ The Evergreen State Fair in Monroe has high horsepower rides along with real horse power in action.
Photo Robert Hubner ]
Besides amusement rides lit up, experience the thrill of the midway with its carnival games, or exhibits of homemade quilts, towering sunflowers, and gigantic squash. Not to mention all the 4-H sheep, cows, and horses. Kids can get lost in hay-bale mazes and learn the joy of petting goats, watching piglets.
[ The Spokane County Interstate Fair even has a Sensory Day for those with sensory sensitivities featuring a touch-and-feel zone, critter-cuddle area, comfort dogs, and carnival rides without lights or sounds.
Photo John Austin ]
Nearly 70 local fairs each year…
with 3 million+ people in attendance…
and 60,000+ exhibits on display.*
*in 2019—source: Washington State Fairs Association