The Washington State Fair takes a hybrid form this Spring Fair.
Last year, the State Fair officials canceled the Fall Fair for the first time in 80 years. This April, the Washington State Fair (previously the Puyallup Fair) was back hosting its annual two-week spring fair. Unlike their previous spring fairs, they hosted a hybrid version of the event including drive-thru and step-out activities at designated parking spaces.
For admission, they charged $30 per carload instead of their usual admission prices at $14 for adults and $12 per child. However, tickets were available in limited quantities, so the tickets had to be purchased in advance.
Seattle Times feature producer Amy Wong stated that there was about a twenty-minute wait time to enter on a weekday, insinuating that despite COVID concerns, the event was quite popular. However once inside the fairgrounds, there were routes that allowed flexibility for cars to navigate the fairgrounds avoiding excessive traffic and lines.
At the site, they offered walk-out shopping, drive-thru fair food, monster truck rides and sit-in entertainment stands. The admission also granted admission to their farm animal, reptile and daffodil festival exhibits. Bryan Tylman with World Reptiles had their exhibit accessible by drive through and allowed handlers to bring some of their reptiles to the car so guests could see them up close and personal.
In addition to these fair activities, fairgoers were able to choose from three experiences: Dock Dogs, a dog distance diving competition, Swifty Swine Racing Pigs that consisted of pigs running around a track in hopes for a special treat at the end of the race, and Car Bingo with two cards per car.
There were also stand-alone events, not included in Carload admission, such as Drive-Ins at the Blue Lot sponsored by O’Reilly’s Auto Parts along with ride entry and game booths at SillyVille and ThrillVille event areas as an add-on to the Spring Fair Carload admission, or as a separate standalone deal.
This hybrid version of the Spring Fair received an overall positive response, many on their Facebook page “Washington State Fair” left comments about how enjoyable their experience was. Currently, there is no official announcement on whether the Fall Fair will be hosted in a similar fashion if the pandemic continues onwards. However, due to the public’s response, one can assume that it is highly probable we will have access to a hybrid fall fair in contrast to a second cancellation.