What’s in a name, exactly? The Puyallup Fair is going to find out.
It’s in the process of changing its handle to better reflect its position as the state’s largest fair, said Karen LaFlamme, fair spokeswoman.
The new name – Washington State Fair – likely won’t be official until next year, when the trademark process is complete, LaFlamme said.
But the private nonprofit that puts on the 17-day fair already has begun a “soft roll-out” in television and print advertisements, she said.
“The bottom line is that most people think of us as the Washington State Fair anyway,” LaFlamme said, adding the new name “encompasses all the people from around the state who compete here” in various events.
The change also will help in recruiting big-name entertainers, who understand the size and scope of a state fair, LaFlamme said.
Lovers of the fair’s famous jingle shouldn’t fret; LaFlamme said it still will use the “Do the Puyallup” tagline, pairing it with the new moniker.
Puyallup’s mayor said he doesn’t have a problem with bumping his city’s name out of the fair’s title.
“Actually, I think it could be a good thing for our city – (being) known as the home of the state fair,” Rick Hansen said.
“It’s still our fair,” he said. “It’s in Puyallup.”
This isn’t the first time the fair has switched names. It started out in 1900 as the Valley Fair, a three-day event aimed at promoting the Puyallup Valley’s agriculture, horticulture, mining and manufacturing industries.
In 1913, it became the Western Washington Fair, and more than 60 years later, in 1976, fair officials began marketing it as the Puyallup Fair, LaFlamme said.
It’s one of the biggest fairs in the nation, drawing more than 1 million people a year. In Washington, the next-largest fair in terms of attendance is the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, according to information from LaFlamme. That fair drew more than 327,000 people last year, its website says.
This year’s Puyallup Fair wraps up its run Sunday.
LaFlamme said the fair’s board of directors didn’t make the name-change decision hastily; board members have been considering it for a couple of years.
“It’s been a long, ongoing decision,” she said.
The fair is operated by the Western Washington Fair Association, which employs about 50 people year-round. During the September fair, the number of workers on the fairgrounds at the edge of downtown swells to about 7,500.
The fair association also puts on the four-day Spring Fair in April, is a partner in Oktoberfest Northwest and rents out its grounds for numerous other shows and activities throughout the year. The fair association generates more than $23 million in annual revenue.
LaFlamme said the fair association doesn’t take government money, and the name change won’t affect firstname.lastname@example.org