Puyallup’s annual Meeker Days Festival this year will coincide with Father’s Day weekend, June 19-21, and there will be plenty of fun things to do with the family.
“There will definitely be no lack of things to do,” festival manager Benjii Bittle said. “This year we’re putting more of the kid activities in a central location.”
Pioneer Park will be “kid central,” so to speak, and will include the Rotary Stage with plenty of children’s entertainment; the Kids Zone on the north end of the park, adjacent to the Pavilion with rides and attractions; the newly opened Kiwanis Kids Spray Park on the south end of the park; and finally, the Washington State Fair and Event Center’s Traveling Farm exhibit along South Meridian in front of Puyallup City Hall.
The Traveling Farm is an ADA-accessible mobile classroom housed inside a large tractor/trailer semi. With free admission, children will learn how the fruits and vegetables they eat at home are grown on the farm.
“It contains 16 interactive exhibits inside all having to do with agriculture, teaching kids how food comes from the farm to the table,” said Peggy Watson, educational programs coordinator at the fairgrounds. “It teaches them how the plant grows in the ground, where the plant needs to live, different stages of plant life, and the names of plants to grow.”
As always, the operations team from the Washington State Fair will help with set up and tear down of Meeker Days. Karen LaFlamme, spokeswoman for the Washington State Fair, said the operations team provides 80 hours of labor and much of the infrastructure and materials needed to set up the festival, including electrical boxes, bleachers and stages.
This equates to more than $61,000 in value, both in labor and product, LaFlamme said.
“The Washington State Fair has partnered with Meeker Days for decades,” she said. “We are committed to the varied interests of our community, and find Meeker Days a great opportunity to give back by donating services and products to help make the event a success. It is also a wonderful opportunity to support the strong efforts in our community to bring locals and visitors alike to shop and enjoy downtown Puyallup.”
Unlike the United States Golf Association, which has prepared for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay over a period of several weeks, the Washington State Fair operations team does it overnight, Bittle said.
“The logistics of Meeker Days is pretty amazing,” he said.
Bittle also credits the countless volunteers who work the three-day festival. The list include those from the Kiwanis Club, Boy Scouts, the YMCA Youth Investment Center and the Puyallup Senior Activity Center.
Bittle hopes Meeker Days will swell to 150,000 visitors roaming the 10 blocks of entertainment, food booths and craft stations.
“We’re trying to give everybody a little bit of something,” Bittle said.
The music entertainment will be varied and spread out across two stages: the Muckleshoot Casino Main Stage on Meeker Street and the Meeker Stage on South Meridian. A lot of local musical talent will be on the stages, and toward the evening hours music to please adults returning from the U.S. Open will be on full display.
About 150 craft vendors will be located along Pioneer Avenue, Meeker Street and South Meridian. A wide gamut of food trucks will fill the Ezra Meeker and Elm Street food courts. The Puyallup Farmers’ Market will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Pavilion on June 20-21. There will also be a Wine Garden and Classic Car Show.
Saturday will likely peak at 100,000 visitors, Bittle said.
A good day to come is Friday, which is historically light in attendance, but full of good entertainment. Parking is available on the streets or behind City Hall. Or, Bittle encourages attendees to use the Puyallup Connector, which takes guests from the South Hill Mall down to Meeker Days.