Sunday, September 12, 2010

It's State Fair Time!

On Friday, September 10, my sister Lori and I went to the Puyallup Fair (formerly called the Western Washington Fair).  We went on opening day, a mistake we will not repeat, as it was a mob scene, with throngs of people packed into the 169 acres like sardines.  Eventually the crowds thinned out, however.

The Puyallup Fair is the 8th largest fair in the world, and is over a century old, having begun in 1900.  It runs for 17 days and attendance always tops 1 million.  It's so huge that you can't see it all in one day.  It starts off with an old fashioned cattle drive right down the main street of Puyallup, with the cattle being driven to the fairgrounds by cowboys mounted on cowhorses. The cattle don't always go where they're supposed to.  Last year, one steer did his imitation of a bull in a china closet by taking a detour through a drug store, with the amiable steer going in one door and startled patrons erupting out the other door.

This year, I tried to talk my sister into going on some rides with me, but she declined.  So the only ride I went on was the Giant Slide.  That's me on the far left.  I screamed all the way down.  It was a blast, but climbing the five million steps to the top just about did me in.  The stairs are on the right of the slide, behind the orange barrier.
Everyone is so friendly at the fair. Complete strangers will laugh and joke with you as you wait in line for rides or share inadvertent elbow bumps and toe stomps. I love being totally immersed in the whole experience. It’s a sensory overload of the best kind—crowds of people, food smells, calliope music from the carousel, screams from the fairway rides, cheers from the rodeo grandstand, mooing cows, baaing sheep and goats, crowing roosters, the thunder on the pavement as 6-horse hitches of Clydesdales rumble by, hucksters hawking their wares, the diesel smell from the farm tractors/agricultural equipment demos, the bright and twinkling lights from the brilliantly gaudy fairway . . . Lord, how I love state fairs!


Anne said...

I love a fair, too, Sherrie. In Australia we have what we call "Show Day" --most cities and sizeable rural towns have them, and it's a mix of agricultural activities (such as show jumping and dressage, woodchopping, animal competitions, cooking and preserve competitions, etc) and fun-fair pursuits.

I'm not one for the scary rides, though. A big slide, now, that I'd do.

News From the Holmestead said...

No scary rides for me, either, Anne. Just the fun ones!

Your Show Days sound much like our state fairs, except for the show jumping and dressage. We have tons and tons of horse shows here in the Pacific NW, to take care of those events. Our fairs do have rodeos, though. And they bring in big-name entertainment: Las Vegas shows, singers, comedians, magicians, etc. It's all just so much fun!