Spring Fair celebrates 25 years this weekend

A 20-foot-tall yellow rubber duck will greet attendees near fountain at Gold Gate entrance

Staff writerApril 9, 2014 

Puyallup When staff members made plans for this year’s Spring Fair at the Washington State Fairgrounds, they realized — to their surprise — that the event had reached its 25th year. The Spring Fair will open at 2 p.m. Thursday and run through Sunday.

Although there won’t be much fanfare to mark the occasion, classic programs such as the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs and the Creative Kids exhibit will return, spokesperson Karen LaFlamme said. The kids exhibit will showcase entries from children ages 6 to 15.

“We usually get over 1,200 entries,” LaFlamme said. “Kids enter online and get one free ticket to the fair.”

Candus Barnum, the grounds entertainment coordinator, said the exhibit is an opportunity for a younger age group to display items at the fair.

LaFlamme and Barnum said the Northwest Junior Livestock Show and Sale also is a big deal each year. Students from 4-H and Future Farmers of America clubs showcase steers, lambs and hogs. On Sunday, an auction for livestock will be held. The auction generated $179,995 last year. Proceeds benefit the students.

“A lot of students use it for college education or buying new animals,” Barnum said.

A new feature will be Mindworks!, an interactive exhibit for children that includes 36 games. It will be located at KidZone on the first floor of the pavilion.

Another new feature will be Tot Spot just inside the Red Gate. Included will be free activities such as face painting, a magic show and an agriculture-themed play area called Ventureland.

A Monster Truck Show at 7:30 p.m. Friday will be held at the grandstand infield. Monster truck rides will be from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission for rides is $7.

On opening day Thursday, the Puyallup Food Bank will be posted at each gate to collect non-perishable food. LaFlamme said the drive has been a tradition since 2009. Last year, the food bank collected 5,093 pounds in donations.

“We suggest kids coming in free on Thursday bring a non-perishable food item,” LaFlamme said. “The food bank does an amazing job collecting at all the gates.”

LaFlamme said military personnel will have free gate admission on Friday.

“They are our neighbors,” she said. “They keep our nation safe and free, and this is our way of thanking them.”

Qualifying personnel include active, retired or reserve military members and their dependents, plus disabled vets. Valid military ID must be shown at the gate.

LaFlamme said all parking is free for the Spring Fair.

“This stays with the family-friendly attitude,” she said.

Barnum said young families will discover a lot of affordable options.

“(The Spring Fair) has more of a country-fair feel to it,” LaFlamme said. “It’s a chance to bump into your neighbors that you haven’t seen since last fall.”

When families arrive on Thursday, they will notice a 20-foot-tall yellow rubber duck near the fountain. A social media contest was held to name the duck, and the winning entry was “Quigley.” LaFlamme said it will provide a unique photo opportunity for fairgoers.

If you go

Advance Spring Fair tickets start at $7.50 for adults and $5.50 for students ages 6-18. They are available at www.thefair.com or at participating Pierce and south King County Fred Meyer and Safeway stores, plus the South Hill Mall. Children 5 and younger will be admitted for free.

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