Washington state spring fair

Four days of events that'll bring you closer to diving dogs and racing pigs

By Rev. Adam McKinney on April 3, 2017

It's tempting to say that state fairs are as American as apple pie, but they're already a cliché for something so homespun and wholesome that it'd be gilding the lily to compare it to anything else. The Sandlot - a fundamental document, like A Christmas Story, of simple American living and youthful exuberance - takes full advantage of state fairs as a place where pubescent thresholds are crossed amidst neon lights and cartoonish attractions. Rides loom, imposing and intimidating, and games exist almost entirely to drain you of money and dignity. I spent a couple years working a basketball game at a fair, and I can tell you that it is the dream of the operator to humiliate dudes in front of their girlfriends.

Beyond all of the flashy attractions that generally festoon state fairs, there are a myriad of options to fulfill your entertainment dollar. Washington is blessed with two gigantic fairs in Puyallup, such as this. In the fall, we get the Washington State Fair - formerly known as the Puyallup Fair - and in the spring, we get the appropriately titled Spring Fair. While the Washington State Fair is a month-long to-do that buzzes and rings with attractions to grab your attention, the Spring Fair is a shorter affair, only four days long with more intimate events.

"We have a lot of fun and excitement packed into four days," says Washington State Fair public relations manager Stacy Howard. "Some favorites are back, which include Swifty Swine Racing Pigs and the Dockdogs Competition. Who doesn't want to see pigs racing around tracks and over hurdles as soon as they walk through the front gate? And the smell of wet dog will be in the air, when the annual tradition continues as dogs leap off docks into water, competing for the longest jumps."

As you can tell, the Spring Fair is a family-friendly event that leans on the simple pleasures of life. The fantastical elements of a carnival are tempered with visceral shows like watching some grinning dogs launch themselves into a body of water, or seeing some pigs race around a track.

"Outdoor Adventures is where families can come and learn about the outdoors in the Pacific Northwest," says Howard. "Many local groups will be helping put on the show and guests will have the chance to learn about everything from gardening and conservation to outdoor fun like boating and archery. There will be hands on activities for all ages, interactive learning opportunities including kayak safety tips, hiking/snowshoeing simulation activity and 40-foot canoe on display, courtesy of the Nisqually Tribe. Opening day is free for kids ages 6-18 with a suggested food donation to the Puyallup Food Bank. Kids five and under are always free."

As is always the case with the Washington State Fair and the Spring Fair, music is bound to be wafting through the air.

"The annual KMPS Showcase is Friday night at 7 p.m.," says Howard. "This year's up and coming country artist is Western Washington's own Aaron Crawford. That's a free show that will take place on the showplace stage. The grandstand excitement that lasts all four days is Motorsport Mayhem. Monster truck rides, tricked out monster trucks, and smashing cars collide for an action-packed four days you won't want to miss!"

Hyperbole from publicists aside, I have to say: have you ever seen two cars crash into each other for absolutely no reason? It's a hell of a lot of fun, and I don't think it's overkill to say that it's something you won't want to miss - much like the Spring Fair.

Puyallup Spring Fair, 2-10 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, April 20-23, Puyallup Fairgrounds, Event and ticket info: thefair.com