MONROE — There are lessons to be learned at the fair.
Roosters are loud.
A finger in a cage can startle even the softest, sleepiest bunnies.
Little pigs grow up — and out — into much bigger pigs.
The giant slide and the merry-go-round are the places to be.
“Elephant Ears” have nothing to do with elephants and everything to do with slathered butter and sprinkled sugar.
The Evergreen State Fair Kids Day drew dozens of families Thursday morning despite a gray sky that suggested rain might be on the way. Crowds gathered around pink piglets feeding in the swine barn, rabbits lounging in cages and roosters strutting and crowing in the small animal exhibits.
Eva Rike, 5, went to the fair with her grandfather, Matt Jones, of Snohomish. Eva said she couldn’t be sure what her favorite part of the fair was until she’d explored all of it. She quickly learned that the piglets were more her speed than the roosters. She flinched from cages and plugged her ears when the feisty fowl started crowing.
“What’s the big deal, chickens?” she demanded. “Why you so loud?”
She’ll start kindergarten at Dutch Hill Elementary School soon. The fair was one of her last adventures before summer ends.
Over in the rabbit section of the barn, 2-year-old Donovan Monroe wandered around tables almost as tall as he was, occasionally reaching out to try to pet some of the bunnies. He yanked his hand back when one of the young rabbits startled and bounced away.
Donovan’s younger brother Roman, 5 months, rode in a baby carrier on his mom’s chest. Gabby and Craig Monroe were visiting from Orange County, California. Craig Monroe’s parents live in Monroe and he grew up going to the fair.
Nancy Monroe, Craig’s mom, said she likes the Evergreen State Fair better than others because it’s focused on families and children. She smiled while watching Donovan explore.
“He noticed the big slide immediately,” she said. “But he’s enjoying the animals more than I thought he would.”
Gabby Monroe suggested letting kids lead the way on Kids Day. They always find something interesting. As for Nancy Monroe’s thoughts: “Bring the grandparents. That’s good advice.”
In a white tent near the main fair entrance, children could pretend to be farmers. There were apples perched on a wooden tree, potatoes tucked into a patch of dirt, eggs underneath stuffed toy chickens and a fake cow with udders that released water.
Christine Wayson of Snohomish guided her four kids through the tent. Abbie, 13, and Jacob, 11, helped their younger siblings figure things out. Esther, 8, and Naomi, 5, moved quickly from station to station. The milking and potato harvesting were their favorites.
Gathering eggs was fine, but it wasn’t anything new, Esther said.
“I’ve gotten the eggs at my house lots of times,” she said. “I get a quarter for it every time.”
Monroe High School sophomore Hannah Davis, 15, is working in the Farmer for a Day tent during the fair. She keeps an eye on things, cleans up after the kids and replaces the items they’ve gathered so the next group can farm. It’s her first job.
“Most of the kids are very happy, very cheerful, very excited,” she said. “It’s super cute. I have one girl who comes every day and stays for like an hour.”
Children’s activities continue during the last few days of the fair, which ends Monday. For more information, go to EvergreenFair.org or pick up a guide book at the fairgrounds.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.