An Evergreen fair to remember

No need to ballyhoo: The Evergreen State Fair already is the big kahuna, the harbinger of a new school year, the prelude to autumn and, as Fairgrounds Manager Hal Gausman notes, the “county’s biggest party.”

Unlike traditions that seem preserved in amber (insert lyrics from “The Music Man” here), the fair tracks with the times, as relevant as it is fun. This extends not only to the programming, but to fundamentals such as recycling and composting.

As The Herald’s Amy Nile reports, the 12-day shindig draws 340,000 visitors. Snohomish County spends about $2.5 million to sponsor the annual event. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and youth. Those age 5 and younger and 90(!) and older wriggle in free.

The gumming of U.S. 2 traffic fuels the one grumpy-man whine. Someone should conjure a Monroe version of the old Everett-ism concerning pulp mills: Smells like jobs is now “bumper-to-bumper spells money.”

Thursday, opening day of the 106th annual Evergreen State Fair, featured the 4-H Cats Costume Contest, a bipartisan favorite (witness political candidates admiring tabbies dressed as ballerinas) and Frontierland’s Great American Petting Zoo.

The latter, a perennial favorite, scalds the minds of all four-year olds who’ve ever had their shirttails chewed by goats.

Today’s Sky Valley Stock and Antique Tractor display (near the dairy barn) is always cool, especially seeing their pristine condition.

Steve the Pretty Good comedy magic show at the Courtyard Stage at 12:45 p.m. today is, by all accounts, pretty good.

There’s an element of nostalgia, true enough. As songwriter Neil Young crooned, “It’s so noisy at the fair/But all your friends are there/And the candy floss you had/And your mother and your dad.”

The rides are kid-centric while the food options (gluten-free grub) are oriented to the middle-aged set. New for the 2014 fair is the “Freak Out,” Nile reports. It swings riders up to 40 feet over the midway as their seats rotate (Note: Don’t pig out pre-Freak Out.) There’s also a high-speed roller coaster called the “Zillerator.”

Marquee acts this year include Bill Cosby, The Charlie Daniels Band, Chris Young, the Newsboys and Emblem3.

Go and go soon.

As Neil Young observed, “Oh to live on Sugar Mountain/With the barkers and the colored balloons/You can’t be twenty on Sugar Mountain/Though you’re thinking that you’re leaving there too soon/You’re leaving there too soon.”

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