It’s hard to whittle the 111th annual Evergreen State Fair down to a few can’t-miss attractions. After all, this year’s theme is “Jam Packed Fun.”
But we tried anyway.
Here are our top eight suggestions for this year’s fair, which runs from Aug. 22 to Sept. 2 at the fairgrounds in Monroe. For a full list of events at the fairgrounds, go to EvergreenFair.org/162/Daily-Schedules or snag a fair guide with daily schedules and a map at the fairgrounds.
This is just the second year for the the Makers Market, which showcases handmade wares by local and regional artisans, craftsmen and businesses, but it could well become a fair favorite.
“We tried it out last year and people loved it, so we’re expanding it,” fair spokeswoman Shannon Hays said of the market. “We wanted to create a section where people can see handcrafted items from this region.”
Miniature book necklaces, biodegradable shower scrubs and wood-burned chopsticks will be among the one-of-a-kind items at the market, located in the north section of the grandstands.
About half of the 20 or so vendors are from Snohomish County, including Snohomish’s Artisan Mercantile, Gold Bar’s Huaracha Studios and Snohomish’s Grateful Heartist.
Monster truck shows and rides
The big-wheeled behemoths are returning to Evergreen Speedway.
Tickets for the adrenaline-pumping shows, Aug. 23-25, come at extra cost: $5 for children ages 2-5, $20 for kids ages 6-12 and seniors over the age of 60 and $30 for regular admission. Purchase them via Etix or call 800-514-3849.
For an extra $10, you can go for ride in the big rigs yourself. The rides, open to all ages, will happen about an hour before the shows at 5:40 p.m. Aug. 23, 4:50 p.m. Aug. 24 and 1:50 p.m. Aug. 25. Buy tickets for the rides at the speedway.
They’re lumberjacks and they’re OK
Watch loggers with the the Leavenworth-based International Lumberjack Show lace up their caulk boots to throw axes, roll logs and race to the top of 60-foot poles — all of it spiced with comedy. They’ve done their thing at shows throughout the United States, Mexico and Japan. Daily shows at noon, 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (no 7 p.m. show on Labor Day).
New places to enjoy a libation
For the first time ever, fairgoers 21 and older can imbibe in the grandstands at concerts. There will also be two beer and wine gardens by the courtyard stage and arena during the rodeo.
Grandstand seats are $20 to $30, including fair admission. Purchase them online.
Note: There will be a family section where alcohol isn’t allowed at the grandstand.
Youth Livestock show and auction
This has got to be one of the most humane, sustainable and hyperlocal ways to buy your meat.
The Evergreen Youth Livestock Show is set for 6 p.m. Aug. 24 in judging arena 606. The show’s steers, swine, lambs, rabbits, chickens, turkeys and goats will be sold to the highest bidder.
Bidders can meet more than 120 kids from Snohomish County 4-H who raised the animals, such as 12-year-old Keegan Britten, who sold a 27-pound broad-breasted turkey for $600 in 2018.
Keegan, a seventh-grader at Centennial Middle School in Snohomish, takes his role seriously.
“When people normally buy turkeys at the store, they know nothing about (it), only that it’s meat,” he said. “They get to see our journals and what we did and what we fed them.”
Keegan, like many of the other kids, puts some of the money won at auction toward raising next year’s livestock — and some of it in a college fund.
Switchfoot, a Grammy Award-winning alternative rock band, will kick off the fair’s concert series on Aug. 26.
Other national acts performing at the grandstands are Brett Young (Aug. 27, country), Newsboys United with Adam Agee (Aug. 28, contemporary Christian), The Born to be Wild Tour featuring former members of Steppenwolf (Aug. 29, classic rock) and Aloe Blacc (Aug. 30, R&B, hip hop, soul and funk). All concerts are at 7:30 p.m., except for the Born to be Wild show, which begins at 7 p.m.
More at www.evergreenfair.org/164/Concerts.
A splashy crowd favorite, the Great American Duck Races, are back this year. At the sound of a duck call, the mallards will be dropped into their lane and urged on to the finish line. The quacking speedsters will race every day at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., and are free with gate admission.
Perhaps the most stunning sight at the fair will be the fireworks show — especially if viewed from the top of the Ferris wheel.
Fireworks will be setting off at 9 p.m. Aug. 22, after the 6:55 p.m. monster truck show on Aug. 23 and after the 6 p.m. demolition derby on Sept. 1.
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, email@example.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
The Evergreen State Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 22 to Sept. 1, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 2, Labor Day.
Carnival hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 22 to Sept. 1 and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 2. Purchase a $30 wristband for unlimited rides by Aug. 21 to save $5. Purchase them via Etix or at the fair pass booth.
Fair admission is $14 for adults and $10 for kids 6-12, seniors age 62 and older and active military with ID. Younger than 6 or older than 89? You get into the fair for free. Parking is $10. Get $1 off if you buy your parking pass before Aug. 21. More at www.evergreenfair.org/143/Buy-Tickets.
Aug. 22: Free until 3 p.m. with three cans of food per person
Aug. 26: Free for anyone 62 or older
Aug. 27: Buy one ticket, get a second free
Aug. 28: $30 admission for families of up to four, all day
Aug. 29: Free for kids 12 and younger
Aug. 30: Free for military with ID
Sept. 2: $2 off
Shannahan Cabin will be become the first building to be listed on the Snohomish County Register of Historic Places. A ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 22 in Frontierland. Pioneer John Shannahan built the cabin in 1887. It was moved from Monroe to the fairgrounds about 50 years ago.
Morning of Dreams, from 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 28, is offers a more low-key atmosphere for those with disabilities or special needs, and their families. General admission required. More at www.evergreenfair.org/208/Morning-of-Dreams.