By Noah Haglund Herald Writer
MONROE — Snohomish County’s springtime mini-fair will sport more than just a new name when it opens this coming weekend.
Live bands, beer gardens and better carnival rides figure among the expanded offerings at the Evergreen State Spring Festival on Saturday and Sunday.
There’s some earthy star power, too, with an appearance by Northwest gardening maestro Ciscoe Morris.
“We had a discussion after last year about how to make it a lot more of a community event so there’s something for everybody,” fair manager Hal Gausman said. “… We talked about how to make it more fun, more exciting.”
Snohomish County’s spring fair debuted in 2010. It was formerly called the Recreation and Sportsmen Expo. Organizers hope attendance this year will top the approximately 9,000 from 2012.
Organizers in the county parks department hope they’ve resolved one of the biggest gripes from last year, when patrons were unable to taste entries from a barbecue cook-off even as they were teased by mouth-watering aromas.
That owed to a contract issue with fairgrounds concessionaires, Gausman said. It won’t be a problem this time around.
The Pacific Northwest Barbecue Association has sanctioned the contest. It’s dubbed the Washington State Spring BBQ Championship and is expected to attract more than 20 competing teams.
Meanwhile, root beer and microbrews will be offered at beer gardens. Live musical acts span genres of classic rock, country, Latin rock fusion and indie rock.
Returning this year will be vendor booths showcasing the outdoors and related products. Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club is hosting a youth casting pond to be stocked with 1,000 trout. Les Schwab Tire Centers is sponsoring the event, which is for first-time anglers ages 12 and under.
While festival admission is free, rides and games cost money. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
The schedule includes:
Festival hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
A ceremony for the 50th anniversary of Snohomish County Parks is scheduled from 11 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Evergreen Events Center.
Ciscoe Morris is scheduled to take the Events Center stage from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
The carnival starts Friday, remaining open from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday carnival hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday hours 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Butler Amusements of Fairfield, Calif., is providing the rides.
For more info on the Spring Festival or to purchase advance ride bracelets, call 360-805-6700 or go to www.evergreenfair.org.
The annual Evergreen State Fair is scheduled Aug. 22 through Sept. 2.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, firstname.lastname@example.org.