The Nose

The Nose: Soon we’ll be kickin’ it with Bigfoot at the Washington State Fair

Note to parents: It’s not advisable to let a stranger in a fur suit grab your child’s hand and walk down the Washington State Fair midway — unless it’s the new fair mascot, Big Washington.
Note to parents: It’s not advisable to let a stranger in a fur suit grab your child’s hand and walk down the Washington State Fair midway — unless it’s the new fair mascot, Big Washington. Courtesy

Your wait is almost over, sconeheads. Only three weeks left until the return of the greatest show in Meekerville.

The Washington State Fair is, among other things, a living museum. It’s a place where relics are displayed, recluses come out of hiding and vanishing species get a reprieve from extinction.

Duran Duran, for example. They will give a concert at the grandstand on Sept. 23.

For anthropologists at the fair, the ’80s pop music fossils are a big catch. Almost as big as that exhibit of dead human bodies a few years back.

But neither of them is as big as Bigfoot.

The Northwest hasn’t had a verified sighting of Genus Sasquatch — nor a yeti, skunk ape or other close cousin — for many years. (Except for a cameo appearance at the Daffodil Parade in 2013.)

But now, in a deal that may rival the Seahawks’ recent signing of quarterback Russell Wilson, the fair has agreed to a contract with a member of the Bigfoot family to entertain crowds for the 17-day run of this year’s event, and for years to come.

Bigfoot also is allowing the fair to use his likeness on merchandise and in publicity. And he agreed to change his name to Big Washington.

Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Fair game: Any state fair worth its weight in giant pumpkins knows the value of a good mascot can’t be overestimated.

Since 1966, the Minnesota State Fair has had Fairchild, a dapper gopher decked out in a straw hat and bowtie.

Patrons of the Ohio State Fair are head-over-milkcan in love with Butters D. Cow.

The New York State Fair hopes its visitors will feel similar affection for Pop, who debuted last year as a “tall ear of corn with a stately monocle.” (Don’t be surprised if Mr. Peanut sues for copyright infringement.)

 
Big Tex was the prominent mascot at the Texas State Fair until he burned down in 2012. This is the new Big Tex, unveiled in 2013. (Courtesy of Dallas News.)

And of course the Texas State Fair has Big Tex, a 55-foot tall cowboy who welcomes visitors at the main gate — or at least he did until he burned down in 2012.

So when the Washington State Fair started rebranding itself a few years ago, officials knew they had to find an iconic character who would engender warm-fuzzy feelings in folks of all ages. And who preferably isn’t flammable.

Enter Bigfoot, aka Big Washington, who will arrive on the midway this year in two different forms: as a 9-foot-tall static wood carving and as a 7-foot-tall walking hairball.

He has a closed-mouth smile and no neck. And those bright, green eyes that blink open and closed are the windows to his gentle soul.

“We’ve had costumed characters for years, but none of them blink,” fair spokeswoman Karen LaFlamme told The Schnoz.

The contract specs describe his personality thusly: “Big Washington is shy, but friendly. He has a child-like love of fun and wonder so gets along especially well with children. He would never intentionally frighten anyone.”

Translation: He might unintentionally give grandpa a heart attack.

This Foot was made for walkin’: A video on the fair website shows the bipedal hominid hoofing it around the fairgrounds and enjoying attractions including the rodeo, the big slide, the Whack-A-Mole game and the roller coaster.

How he squeezed his furry paunch under the lap bar defies the laws of physics.

Though they’re calling him a Bigfoot, what he really appears to be is a hybrid — a love child produced by Squatch the Sonics mascot and a Muppet, with a little bit of Wookie hiding in the family tree.

Next month, you can have an encounter with the legendary creature by following his Size 50 footprints around the fairgrounds.

Just be careful where you walk. With feet that big, imagine how huge the piles of scat must be.

But about that name: The fair can go ahead and call him Big Washington, but to us he’ll always be known as Big Puyallup.

Rejected fair mascot ideas:

▪ Ellie the Elephant Ear.

▪ Frankie, the Fast-Talking Hot Tub Salesman.

▪ Gus, the Creepy Guy who Cleans the Restrooms in SillyVille.

▪ Eddie E. Coli.

▪ Krusty the Pup.

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