MONROE — The 110th Evergreen State Fair is set to bring rides, animals, games, music, food and more to the fairgrounds here from Thursday through Sept. 3.
Last year, a record 350,761 people came to the fair.
The event celebrates Snohomish County’s agricultural heritage. This year’s theme is “Summer Days and Country Ways.”
It’s a down-home theme, but the fair is big business. More than 560 workers were employed for last year’s 12-day event. The annual festivities contribute roughly $23 million to the Puget Sound economy, according to a 2014 market research study.
And while some favorites never go out of style — rides that light up at night, barns full of animals, rows of craft displays, fragrant fair food — the Evergreen State Fair has added or expanded attractions over the years.
Before heading to the fair, here are a few things to know:
Dollar Up for Oso at the fair aims to boost the fundraising effort for a permanent memorial at the site of the 2014 Oso mudslide. The slide killed 43 people and wiped out a neighborhood off Highway 530 between Arlington and Darrington. Families have been involved in planning a memorial. It’s meant to be a space that remembers those lost and those who came together to help, and honors the history of the valley.
When buying tickets at the gate or online at bit.ly/EvergreenFairTickets, people can choose to add $1 for the memorial. There also will be a booth at the fair to learn about the project and donate.
Another charitable effort is the Fair Cares Food Drive. On opening day, the price of admission is three cans of food per person until 3 p.m. Donations support local food banks.
Trucks and Ducks
Monster trucks are back by popular demand. It’s been years since the massive vehicles have taken over the Evergreen Speedway during the fair, and people have been asking for their return, according to fair organizers. Those shows are scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Tickets can be purchased online.
Tickets for grandstand and special events include fair admission.
The fair also landed another event this year that has been on the wish list: the Great American Duck Races.
“We’ve tried to get them back for two years, but they were booked,” fair spokeswoman Brielle Dodge said.
A pool will be set up and audience volunteers can release ducks from the starting line. Four races are planned each day, the first at 11 a.m. and the last at 5:30 p.m.
There are other new highlights this year.
On Aug. 29, Monroe’s Bliss Yoga Studio will lead two 75-minute goat yoga sessions. The internet-fueled craze is exactly what the name implies: yoga, in the company of goats. Goats are provided. Tickets must be purchased for the sessions, at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Evergreen State Fair also is hosting the American Idol Live! 2018 tour, which features top competitors from the televised singing competition and past winner Kris Allen. That concert is Aug. 28.
There’s an app
A new smartphone app may help with planning your fair days.
It can be downloaded from the Play Store or Apple Store. Search for “Evergreen State Fair.”
The app includes navigation to and around the fair, a calendar of events, food options, and a scavenger hunt where people can enter codes from booths to win prizes.
The app ties into ongoing efforts to reduce waste, though there still are paper programs available.
The fair’s zero waste effort kicked off in 2014, focused on recycling and composting. In four years, the amount of waste has been cut in half, eliminating more than 200 tons of trash, according to the fair guide.
Affording the fair
Admission costs $14 for adults. It’s $10 for 6- to 15-year-olds, people older than 62 and active military with ID. Guests younger than 6 or older than 89 get in free.
Every weekday has a featured discount.
Aug. 23: Free until 3 p.m. with three cans of food per person
Aug. 24: $2 off until 2 p.m. if you wear Seahawks gear
Aug. 27: Free for anyone 62 or older
Aug. 28: Buy one ticket, get a second free until 2 p.m.
Aug. 29: $6 admission until 6 p.m.
Aug. 30: Free for kids 15 and under
Aug. 31: Free for military, police, fire and other first responders with ID
Sept. 3: $2 off for everyone
Wristbands for unlimited rides are $5 off at the gate and $4 off online if purchased by Aug. 22.
The fair runs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day except Labor Day, when it closes at 7 p.m.
During the fair, traffic tends to back up along U.S. 2 both directions heading into Monroe. The backups can stretch for miles.
Community Transit buses will drop riders off at the West Gate entrance during the fair. Adults cost $2.25, ages 6 to 18 are $1.50. ORCA cards are accepted.
Parking at the fair costs $10, cash. Community Transit encourages fairgoers to park for free at a park-and-ride, then catch route 270 or 271 Monday through Friday, or just 271 on weekends and Labor Day. Everett Station or the park-and-rides in Gold Bar, Snohomish and Sultan are good places to find the right bus for the fair. Buses run every half-hour during morning and evening peak traffic times, and hourly mid-day and at night.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org