Streets lined with vendors selling artwork, fresh baked goods and produce – including popular fresh picked strawberries – were packed with people early Saturday for the 75th annual Puyallup Meeker Days festival as people celebrated the first day of summer under sunny skies.
Strollers cradling sleepy children and dog owners led by leashed pets navigated the crowds to experience the city’s largest festival named after pioneer and Puyallup founder Ezra Meeker.
One of the day’s more popular activities, a free ride on the Circus Train, was halted just before 12:30 p.m. after the five-car train’s caboose tipped on Second Street at Sixth Avenue causing minor injuries to six people inside.
An 8-year-old boy in the caboose was taken to the hospital as a precaution by Central Pierce Fire and Rescue. Five others – including children and adults – received scrapes and cuts but did not need medical treatment.
A preliminary investigation by Puyallup police showed weight was not properly distributed in the car, causing it to topple when the train went to make a circle turn, Puyallup Capt. Scott Engle said. The driver will likely be cited because the train was not allowed to be on a residential street that wasn’t closed off for the festival, he said.
Puyallup police also said a zip-line collapsed in the afternoon. A 42 year-old woman fell to the ground and was taken to the hospital with minor injures, Engle said.
Not far from the train’s loading station carnival rides, including swings, blowup slides and bounce houses were filled with kids burning energy. Especially popular was an inflatable pool where children could run on water while inside large, inflatable balls.
Most tumbled and flopped in the clear bubble, but 8-year-old Beaux Akiona figured out quickly how to stay up by running as fast as possible – replicating a hamster on a wheel.
Akiona, who lives in Orting, was there with his mom Jenn Akiona. It was their first time at the event.
Over at the swings Morgan, 8, and Kate Wooding, 5, waved to mom Tina Wooding as the ride picked up speed. Standing with the family dog, Wooding said they come from Lake Tapps to enjoy the event each year.
“The kids love it,” Wooding said. “It’s family fun for the weekend.”
Festivities continue Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.