MONROE — Butterflies and a morning meant to inspire dreams are among the new highlights at this year’s Evergreen State Fair.
The 109th annual fair kicks off Thursday and runs through Labor Day. More than 320,000 people attended last year’s fair.
The gates are scheduled to open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. most days, but close at 9 p.m. Labor Day. Carnival rides get going around 11 a.m. and shut down at 11 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for ages 6 to 15 or 62 to 89, and free for children younger than 6 or seniors older than 90. Parking costs $10.
A new exhibit is planned called Butterfly Adventures, a chance to feed, watch and learn about butterflies. It costs extra.
Organizers also are introducing Morning of Dreams, an event where the fair will open for several hours exclusively to guests with disabilities and their families. The suggestion came from a local mom whose son lives with autism.
“I have always loved going to the fair, but sometimes the things that are so fun and exciting for me and others can be overwhelming for kids on the spectrum,” Carrie Mizenko said in a news release.
Morning of Dreams is limited to 500 guests in order to keep a calm environment. Admission is $5 per person, with free entry for caregivers. It’s scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Aug. 30. Participants must register and pay online by Wednesday. They can register at www.evergreenfair.org/208.
The fair also is getting extended Labor Day hours. Instead of closing at 7 p.m., it will be open until 9 p.m.
This year’s event is a “Clean Air Fair,” meaning smoking or vaping is not allowed inside the fairgrounds or within 25 feet of entrances.
There are themed admission days that reduce the cost of fair fun. On opening day, admission is free until 3 p.m. with the donation of three non-perishable food items per person for local food banks.
Adults wearing Seahawks gear get $2 off until 2 p.m. Friday. Monday is seniors day, with free entry for anyone 62 and older, and Tuesday is 2-for-1 admission.
Family Day on Aug. 30 means $5 admission until 5 p.m. Those who miss Family Day can bring kids 15 and under for free the next day. All military service members and first responders with ID get in free Sept. 1, and closing day is $2 off for everybody.
Rides, food and some exhibits cost extra. The fair bustles with free activities, too. People can expect a petting zoo, farming displays, live entertainment, and exhibits featuring animals, produce and crafts that have been entered for prizes.
About 24,000 entries in various categories — quilting, baking, photography and more — are expected to be on display. Animals will be shown in arenas or tended in barns, where fairgoers can visit them and talk with the people who entered them into the fair, mostly 4H or FFA members. Tiny piglets in barn No. 513 always draw a crowd. The popular rodeo and Western games, Sept. 1 to 3, are back this year.
The fair theme is “Harvest the Memories,” and history will be celebrated. The Western Heritage Museum offers a glimpse of Snohomish County’s past. In another exhibit, antique tractors are to be paired with a small roped-off track where children can drive a tot-sized tractor.
Free shows happen throughout the day, including the International Lumberjack Show and crazy animal races, where ducks, pigs and goats demonstrate their speed.
A full line-up of events and activities is available in printed programs at the fairgrounds or online at www.evergreenfair.org.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org