After the tragic loss of the Evergreen Hall to fire last year, Washington State Fair officials had to rise up from the ashes and move forward with bigger and better things for the Puyallup institution.
This year, the Spring Fair has added a new exhibit at the April 16 to 19 event, Fun on the Farm.
“It’s always sad and emotional when you lose a building like the Evergreen Hall,” said Andrea Thayer, the Competitive Exhibits/Grounds Entertainment manager at the Washington State Fair. “It was one of our original barns, however, we also see it as an opportunity to move forward as long as we can offer a great experience. It’s just that we have to be mindful of where we were and where we are going.”
The goal for Thayer and the rest of the team at the fair is to create attractions and exhibits that bring children and families to the Spring Fair.
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“With the unfortunate happening of our Evergreen Hall burning last year, I needed a new home for our Fair Farm (petting farm),” Thayer said. “With that need for a new home, I thought it might be time to do something different with our petting farm and to create a whole area that talks about agriculture and farming from a kids’ perspective. One of our entertainment groups we work with, she does a lot of exhibits that are hands on activities with agriculture and farming. I thought it would be a perfect marriage of our petting farm and her hands-on learning activities for kids.”
Highlights of the new exhibit include the Fair Farm animal petting area, an opportunity to dig and plant potatoes, a magnetic discovery wall, barnyard cutout photos and much more. The animal petting area will have poultry, pigme goats, sheep and rabbits.
“We really wanted to have something fun and kid-friendly out at the fair and celebrate the spring kick off to farming and animals across the region,” Thayer said. “It’s just something new and adds a new dynamic to our petting farm, which is a staple and a tradition at our fairs. People love interacting with farm animals. We’re all excited here to offer an enhanced experience.”
The goal of Fun on the Farm is to stress the importance of agriculture in the local area, become health conscious when dealing with live animals, and to help children understand just where exactly their food comes from.
“In our area, we are no longer a strong farming community,” Thayer said. “A lot of our kids don’t get to connect firsthand with agriculture that maybe other generations had. It’s interesting to go into schools today and find out that kids don’t know where their food comes from. I think that’s an important connection to make and how essential farming is to our ecosystem and society, and so we really work hard to make those connections for those kids that don’t have that opportunity.”