Credit: Patrick Hagerty
Get a head start on summer fair fun at the lower-key Washington State Spring Fair, taking place this April 11–14, 2019. The spring fair features rides, music, pig racing, performing dogs, a demolition derby and more.
To help families plan, we scoured information about the Washington State Fair to find the newest, most affordable and most fun activities for families. Here's what we found.
1. The Spring Fair is free for kids on Thursday
On Thursday, April 11, 2019, kids ages 18 and under receive free gate admission. A donation of non-perishable food for the food drive is recommended. Hours are 2–10 p.m. on opening day.
Another great deal is free parking on opening day. Find more on the deals page.
2. The Spring Fair is more like an old-school country fair
The Spring Fair has a country fair vibe and offers lots of interactive fun for younger families. KidZone is dedicated to the younger crowd; and there are many other family-friendly activities, from free face-painting to fun on the farm.
While all of the classic fair favorites (food, rides, vendors, animals, free stages) will be on going on, the Spring Fair offers its own delights including pig racing, the Creative Kids Exhibit and the Northwest Junior Livestock Show.
3. So many family-friendly activities
Families should be especially excited about the range of kid-friendly activities and shows this year, including:
Rides: That's what most folks think of when they think of The Fair. Favorites include the Wild Cat, Giant Slide, C.P. Huntington Train, Extreme Scream and Classic Coaster. Be careful with snacks before and after.
Ninja Experience Stunt Show (new!): This thrilling new addition is bound to impress audiences with hydraulic concert staging and martial arts masters flying across the stage! This event is included with Fair admission and is offered at various times throughout the Fair.
Professor Smart Science Show: Science, juggling and comedy. ‘Nuff said.
Monster truck rides: For $8 a ride, kids can get a taste of what it's like to ride in a big old monster truck. Offered Friday–Saturday.
All Alaskan Racing Pigs: This popular event is often standing-room only. There are multiple races a day, but arrive early to secure a good viewing spot.
Brad's Reptile Show: Hatching snake eggs. Need I say more? Oh, and a real alligator. At various times during the Fair and included with Fair admission.
Tractor Tracks: A great way to entertain the littler fairgoers with pedal tractors in an interactive, scenic maze. Included with Fair admission.
4. Free fun abounds (once you're in the door)
Sure, you can spend all your time on the rides or Demolition Derby, but if you want to save your pennies, there are scores of activities that don't cost a dime after you spring for the Fair admission fee. Below are a few examples.
Fun on the Farm: With farm activities, agriculture displays and a petting zoo, the Farm is always a hit.
DockDogs: Who can resist pooches dashing down a 40-foot canine runway and jumping headlong into a large portable swimming pool? Follow them to the finals.
Creative Kids Exhibit: This exhibit showcases all kinds of talent from kids, including art baking, crafts, photography and more.
Fireworks: If your kids can stay up a bit late, bring them to the Fireworks Spectacular on Friday and Saturday nights. Starts at approximately 9 p.m.
5. Plan ahead for Motorsports Mayhem
If you want to attend the motorsports fun, including the Monster Truck Show on Friday and Slamfest Demolition Derby on Saturday and Sunday, purchase tickets ahead of time as they can sell out (also, you save by buying early).
If you go...
When: The Washington State Spring Fair takes place Thursday–Sunday, April 11–14, 2019
More info: Check out the State Fair website
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2016 and updated for the 2019 spring fair.