Entertainment

Giant insects and scone-flavored ice cream are just some of the new fun at State Fair

People ride the Wave Swinger at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup on Sept. 25, 2016. The 2017 fair opens Friday, Sept. 1.
People ride the Wave Swinger at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup on Sept. 25, 2016. The 2017 fair opens Friday, Sept. 1. phaley@thenewstribune.com

Scones are so last year at the Washington State Fair.

Now there’s scone ice cream and scone beer.

Those are just some of the new additions to what used to be called the Puyallup Fair.

Gate admission is free from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Friday (Sept. 1) with a recommended nonperishable food donation for Puyallup Food Bank.

During the rest of the fair’s run you can find entertainment options to please just about everyone. Entertainment includes Steven Tyler, The Beach Boys, Nickelback and Thomas Rhett.

NEW THIS YEAR

Fisher Scone ice cream debuts opening day, but not at the scone booths. Instead, it will be sold at nine locations on the grounds. The proportions will be in small cups with wooden sticks, fair spokeswoman Stacy Howard said.

Not to be outdone, Puyallup River Brewing Company is debuting raspberry scone golden ale.

“You should mix the two together and make a float,” Howard helpfully suggested.

Last year dinosaurs invaded the fair. This year it’s giant insects.

Animanotric insects, 40 to 120 times larger than life-size, will fill the Centennial Building.

The $7 admission (on top of gate admission) will allow visitors to watch the bugs crawl, fly, camouflage and metamorphose. Two 11 foot-long Atlas beetles will lock horns in a battle over mates. A 22-foot-long jungle nymph stick insect will rub its wings together in self-defense. A 15-foot caterpillar will morph into a swallowtail butterfly. Kids 2 and under free with paying adult.

Also new this year is Pierce County Thursdays. The fair promises they’ll still be “Doing the Puyallup” every Thursday for Pierce County residents. Those days offer 2-for-1 gate admission, grandstand shows, rodeo playoffs, tickets to The Beach Boys and Modest Mouse with Built To Spill. Obtain a coupon at thefair.com.

STAGE ENTERTAINMENT

Opening weekend gets kicked off by Canadian rockers Nickelback, country trio Lady Antebellum and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler. Other shows include classic acts like The Beach Boys and country singer-songwriters Thomas Rhett and Granger Smith. Three acts offer free admission in the grandstand area: Masters of Illusion magic show, comedian Marlon Wayans and the End of Summer Bash.

NEW RIDE

A new elephant ride will be located in SillyVille. Even though it’s a kid attraction, adults can ride along. Like the bugs, the elephants aren’t real.

RODEO

The Washington State Fair Rodeo kicks off Sept. 7 and runs through Sept. 10. The rodeo is a qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. Admission is extra.

TRIED AND TRUE

Plenty of fair staples are in place and include 4-H and FFA animal displays and shows, home arts and cooking contests and quilts, photo show, Hobby Hall and floral designs. Over 800 vendors will provide early Christmas shopping.

The fair’s antique carousel is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Fiesta Patrias is free with fair admission. The annual Latino cultural and arts festival takes place throughout the fair. Two shows, at 1 and 6 p.m., feature Carmen Jara and El Chichicuilote.

SOMBER REMEMBRANCE

The fair will honor the 75th anniversary of Camp Harmony on Saturday. The 10 a.m. ceremony will remember the nearly 7,400 Japanese and Americans of Japanese descent who were sent to the fairgrounds in 1942 after President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive order during World War II. The detainees housed there in cattle stalls and other fair facilities were later forcibly interned at camps around the western U.S.

DISCOUNT DAYS AND DEALS

Fair admission is free for kids 18 and under Friday, Sept. 1, through Monday, Sept. 4.

Military Mondays offers free gate admission to all active, reserve and retired military and National Guard members and their dependents, plus disabled veterans (with valid military ID).

The fair offers a variety of package and discount deals, season passes and other specials on admission, rides, parking and concerts. Check the website for the full list.

Craig Sailor: 253-597-8541, @crsailor

The Washington State Fair

Where: 110 Ninth Ave. SW, Puyallup.

When: Friday (Sept. 1) to Sept. 24. Opening weekend (Labor Day Weekend) has different hours from the rest of the fair. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. Friday (Sept. 1) and close at 10:30 p.m.; Saturday (Sept. 2) and Sunday (Sept. 3) hours are 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Monday (Labor Day) hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Post Labor Day hours: Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; Sundays 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The fair is closed on Tuesdays and Sept. 6.

Tickets: Adults $11; youth (ages 6-18) and seniors (62 and older) $9; ages 5 and younger get in free. A variety of packages can be purchased online.

Parking: $10 weekdays, $15 weekends.

Concert tickets: thefair.com/concerts.

Information: 253-841-5045, thefair.com.

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