Sisters Naomi (left), 5, and Esther Wayson, 8, dig around for potatoes at the Evergreen State Fair’s “Farmer for a Day” exhibit on Thursday. “I’ve gotten the eggs at my house lots of times, I get a quarter each time,” Esther says, speaking of her farm experience at her home in Snohomish. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Sisters Naomi (left), 5, and Esther Wayson, 8, dig around for potatoes at the Evergreen State Fair’s “Farmer for a Day” exhibit on Thursday. “I’ve gotten the eggs at my house lots of times, I get a quarter each time,” Esther says, speaking of her farm experience at her home in Snohomish. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Evergreen State Fair exhibit lets kids be ‘Farmer for a Day’

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 or pick up a guide book at the fairgrounds.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks with special ed Pre-K teacher Michelle Ling in her classroom at Phantom Lake Elementary School in Bellevue, Wash. Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (Ellen M. Banner/The Seattle Times via AP, Pool)
Governor: Educators are now eligible for coronavirus vaccine

“This should give educators more confidence,” Jay Inslee said. Other frontline workers could soon be next.

A view of the courtyard leading to the main entrance of the new Stanwood High building on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2020 in Stanwood, Washington. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Law gives Washington high school seniors leeway to graduate

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that can waive some requirements for students who were on track before the pandemic.

A Marysville Pilchuck football player sports a spear on his helmet as the Tomahawks took on Snohomish in the Wesco 3A Championship Friday evening at Quil Ceda Stadium on November 1, 2019. School district leaders may soon need to consider dropping Marysville Pilchuck High School’s mascot, the Tomahawks. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Should Marysville Pilchuck High drop the name ‘Tomahawks’?

A state bill would ban Native American mascots and symbols from schools — unless there is tribal permission.

About a dozen metal dinosaurs sit in the front yard of a home owned by Burt Mason and Mary Saltwick on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021 in Freeland, Washington. The couple are used to finding strangers in their yard and taking photos. Every year on their trip to Tucson, Burt and Mary bring home another figure  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Dinos on Whidbey? This Freeland yard is a Jurassic Park

These creatures from long ago won’t chomp or chase you, and you’re welcome to visit.

Maryville Getchell High School students Madison Dawson, left, Kaden Vongsa and Jenasis Lee, who made a presentation to their school board discussing mental health, lack of resources and personal stories of their peers mental health struggles. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Students plead for better mental health support from schools

Three Marysville Getchell seniors want more counselors and improved training for staff.

Parked tractor-trailers line the side of 40th Avenue NE on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021 in Marysville, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Worker wonders why dead end Marysville road is rough and rutty

A stretch of 40th Avenue NE is mostly used for heavy trucking and isn’t in line for repairs soon.

Camano Island shooting leaves father dead; son arrested

Dominic Wagstaff, 21, was taken into custody late Sunday for investigation of the murder of Dean Wagstaff, 41.

Jean Shumate (left), seen here during a February 2019 school board meeting, will retire June 30 after 20 years at the Stanwood-Camano School District superintendent. (Skagit Valley Herald)
Stanwood-Camano superintendent to retire after 20 years

Jean Shumate has been at the helm longer than any other superintendent in Snohomish County.

Snohomish County Council delays education spending vote

The council is now slated to decide next week on the measure, which targets a pre-K learning gap.

Most Read