Washington State Fair

Coordinates: 47°10′55″N 122°17′49″W / 47.182°N 122.297°W / 47.182; -122.297
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47°10′55″N 122°17′49″W / 47.182°N 122.297°W / 47.182; -122.297

Washington State Fair
GenreState fair
DatesMain fair in September
Spring fair in April
Location(s)110 9th Ave SW
Puyallup, Washington, U.S.
Attendance1,065,208 (2010)
This 2005 aerial photo of the Washington State Fairgrounds shows the fair's permanent structures. SR 512 curves across the southeast corner of this photo; SR 161 forms its eastern edge

The Washington State Fair, formerly the Puyallup Fair, is the largest single attraction held annually in the U.S. state of Washington. It continually ranks in the top ten largest fairs in the United States and includes agricultural and pastoral displays and shows, amusement rides, and concert series.[1] The Washington State Fair hosts two annual events: the 21-day Washington State Fair in September, and the four-day two weekend Washington State Spring Fair in April.

Situated in the city of Puyallup, 35 miles (56 km) south of Seattle and 10 miles (16 km) east of Tacoma near Mount Rainier, the fairgrounds cover an area of 160 acres (0.65 km2) with buildings and land valued at more than $54 million. The facilities are available for rent throughout the year, making the grounds a valuable community resource. They also host various seasonal festivals such as the Victorian Country Christmas, as well as races, concerts, car shows, and sporting expositions, including the International Sportsman's Exposition. The site employs 55 year-round staff members. Over 7,500 employees are hired each September during the Fair.[2]


The fair started out under the name "Puyallup Valley Fair", with the first event taking place October 4–6, 1900. In 1913, it was renamed "The Western Washington Fair", but remained primarily known as the "Puyallup Fair" until the early 1980s.[3] In 2006, the name was changed again to "The Puyallup Fair", and the venue became known as "The Puyallup Fair and Events Center."[4] In 2013 the fair received its current name, the "Washington State Fair"; however, the marketing tagline "Do the Puyallup" was retained and many local people continue to refer to the fair by its previous name.[5]

During World War II, the fair did not take place. The fairgrounds closed after the 1941 fair and were occupied by the army, which set up Camp Harmony, a temporary assembly center within the system of concentration camps for Japanese Americans. A total of 7,390 Japanese Americans from the Seattle-Tacoma area and Alaska were confined in converted horse stables and barracks constructed on adjacent parking lots, the racing track and under the grandstand.[6][7] In September 1942, the Japanese Americans were sent to other locations and the camp was torn down. The fairgrounds were briefly occupied by the U.S. Army 943rd Signal Service Battalion until they were transferred to Fort Lewis, then closed until 1946, when the fair set an attendance record of 100,000 people on opening day.[4]

The cancellation of the Fair's 2020 season was announced on July 8, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first edition of the Fair to be cancelled since World War II.[8] The fair returned in 2021 with masking requirements and limited capacity, drawing 816,000 total attendees—a 20 percent decrease.[9]


Young fair attendees can participate in mutton busting

Attendance has grown significantly since the first fair in 1900; today the event draws more than one million people each year.


  • 2021: 816,000[9]
  • 2020: 0
  • 2012: 1,117,323[10]
  • 2011: 1,059,182[11]
  • 2010: 1,065,208[12]
  • 2009: 1,183,035[13]
  • 2008: 1,163,969[14]
  • 2007: 1,182,937[14]
  • 2006: 1,131,276[14]
  • 2005: 1,117,707[14]
  • 2004: 1,073,581[14]
  • 2003: About 1,160,000[2]
  • 2002: About 1,180,000[2]
  • 2000: About 1,300,000[15]
  • 1993: 1,420,037 (highest attendance ever)[14]
  • 1991: 1,414,487[15]
  • 1989: About 1,300,000[15]
  • 1980-1988: Between 1,100,000 and 1,200,000[15]
  • Late 1930s: About 400,000[15]
  • 1922: About 130,000[15]
  • 1900: About 5,500 families[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Historical Facts: 1900-2000". TheFair.com. June 10, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Puyallup Fair attendance down slightly". Puget Sound Business Journal. September 22, 2003. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  3. ^ Gulepi, ark (September 12, 1982). "Do the Western Washington? Straight from the pig's mouth: It's 'The Puyallup Fair'". The News Tribune. p. A6. Retrieved March 28, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  4. ^ a b "About the Fair". June 10, 2019. Retrieved August 31, 2019.
  5. ^ Trujillo, Joshua (September 20, 2012). "Puyallup Fair getting a new name". SeattlePI.com. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  6. ^ Fiset, Louis. "Puyallup (detention facility)" Densho Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  7. ^ Burton, J., et al (National Park Service, 2000). Confinement and Ethnicity: An Overview of World War II Japanese American Relocation Sites, "Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington." Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  8. ^ Peterson, Josephine (July 8, 2020). "Washington State Fair has been canceled over COVID-19 concerns". The News Tribune. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  9. ^ a b Relente, Angelica (October 1, 2021). "A million people usually attend the State Fair. This year was different". The News Tribune. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  10. ^ "Puyallup Fair Attendance Tops 1.1 Million Beats Last Year". September 24, 2012. Retrieved October 2, 2012.
  11. ^ "Puyallup Fair draws just over one-million visitors". September 25, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.
  12. ^ Schilling, Sara (September 28, 2010). "Rain, economy cut into Puyallup Fair numbers". The News Tribune. Retrieved October 8, 2010.
  13. ^ Santos, Melissa (September 28, 2009). "Final Puyallup Fair attendance". The News Tribune. Retrieved September 28, 2009.
  14. ^ a b c d e f Santos, Melissa (September 23, 2008). "Despite nice weather, fewer do the Puyallup". The News Tribune. Retrieved September 23, 2008.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g "Washington State Fair History". thefair.com. Retrieved September 24, 2015.

External links[edit]