Music-making and NASCAR are the themes of two new attractions at this weekend’s vernal version of the Puyallup Fair which swings open its gates at 2 p.m. Thursday.
While some of the action is happening only Friday through Sunday there are still plenty of reasons to head over on Thursday. First: admission is free all day to anyone 18 or younger. The Fair just asks that you bring a non-perishable food donation for the Puyallup Food Bank.
Up for a good scare? The Extreme Scream is only $7.50 on Thursday ($3 off the usual $10.50 price.) Top it all off with Danny Vernon’s Elvis tribute Thursday night at 7 p.m.
Here are some highlights, most of which are happening on all four days:
Rock U: The Institute of Rock ‘N’ Roll allows would-be rock stars to try their hand at a variety of instruments: electric guitars, drums and different sounds that are popular in music today. There’s even a foot-operated oversized keyboard. Think Tom Hanks in “Big.”
“It’s for all ages. It should be interesting even for teenagers,” said Karen LaFlamme, the fair’s public relations counsel.
There will be no lack of car-themed events at the Spring Fair this year. New is the NASCAR Experience inside Auto Alley. A simulator, built in an actual NASCAR race car, will allow you to test your skills against other drivers. There’s a simulator for kids as well.
“It’s like going 190 mph and having the same experience as a race car driver,” LaFlamme said.
In the crunching-metal-and-busting-glass category, there’s the SlamFest Truck Demo Derby at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and the Big Car Demo Derby on Sunday afternoon. Friday features a Monster Truck Show at 7:30 p.m. The shows cost extra ($16/$18 adults and $9 for children) but advance purchase includes gate admission. Back this year is the popular monster fire truck, The Extinguisher, which you can ride for an additional $7.
Whether you call them loggers or lumberjacks, there will be plenty of deep woods action in the Timberworks Lumberjack Show on all four days. There are competitions in axe throwing, chopping, log rolling (on water), chainsaw carving and more.
It wouldn’t be a fair without barnloads of kids cleaning, feeding and grooming the animals they’ve raised from little blobs of fur. And there will be plenty of newborn animals for oohing and ahhing: piglets, lambs, chicks and ducklings.
Young people also will be competing in the Northwest Junior Rodeo beginning on Friday. Bareback riding, bull riding and barrel racing will be on the program daily.
The horse theme carries over into Fiesta Mexicana, which features food, music, dancing horses and dancing people. Numerous shows are held daily Friday through Sunday.
Animal-themed shows on all four days include those water loving canines, DockDogs, and the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs whose name explains it all. Wee sized animal shows include pygmy goats and miniature horses.
Midway rides, jam-filled scones and onion burgers round out the highlights. See a full schedule of entertainment and exhibits on the fair’s website.
Active, reserve or retired military folks should hit the gates on Friday. Admission is free for them (and their dependents) with military ID as part of Military Appreciation Day.
When: 2 p.m.-10 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Puyallup Fair & Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup
Tickets: $7.50 adult advance ($9 at gate); $5.50 students, ages 6-18, advance ($7 at gate); 5 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets can be purchased anytime at the fair’s website or at participating Safeway and Fred Meyer stores. All attractions are free with admission unless otherwise noted.
Information: thefair.com, 253-841-5045