You’ve got to hand it to the Washington State Fair. Back during the first pandemic holiday season, the Fair’s creative minds came up with a drive-through winter light show to entertain us — when there was basically nothing else to do. Then they reinvented the event last year, allowing folks to wander around and enjoy wintery Fair fun on foot.
Now back for its third year, Holiday Magic at the Fair remains a fun and sweet in-real-life dose of holiday cheer. On a scale of one to four, we give it four scones!
Holiday Magic is not around for long, though, with just 16 select dates between Dec. 1 and 23. (That means buy your tix asap.)
Head for the rides
Once inside the gate, we beelined it to the free rides, which are unlimited. We hopped on both the merry-go-round and Santa’s Express Train, which takes you through a tunnel and around a loop to see lights.
My 6-year-old’s favorite was Santa’s Village. For Holiday Magic, the cluster of buildings that is normally the Farm at Sillyville was decked out to look like Santa’s workshop, a candy factory, a gift wrap station and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen. Adorable. Each kid got a mini stocking to fill with goodies at each stop. The sweet ladies at the last stop, Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, offered us milk and cookies by a cozy fireplace.
New and returning fun in 2022
New this year, families will enjoy free games and activities in Arena T. Look for corn hole, giant Jenga and mini golf.
Also new this year, commune with your “gnomies” walking among a festive display of gnomes. The gnomes are set up at the Tractor Tracks.
Returning highlights include the tunnel of lights set up in the draft horse barn, and the Joy Experience, a display that highlights different holiday traditions from various cultures and countries around the world.
The sweet manger display includes live animals.
This year the ice-skating add-on should be called “ice”-skating, as the rink is some nifty synthetic ice designed to replicate the experience of skating on ice. Skating will cost you an additional $10 per person, if you pay onsite, or $8 if you buy a ticket in advance online. We opted to skip the ice skating because there was so much other stuff to do.
We attended Holiday Magic on opening night last year, and were surprised it wasn’t at all packed. There was hardly any wait for the rides. But the word is out now. We suggest buying your tickets early and packing a little bit of patience.
Most attractions are under cover but you’ll be outside plenty as well. Dress to be outside in Pacific Northwest winter weather.
Out of the park
With this event, we thought the Fair really hit it out of the park. We appreciated that the staff members were so kind to the kids.
We fought through Friday rush hour traffic to get to the fairgrounds, and by the time everyone was ready to go home, we’d blown through dinnertime and bedtime. Dinner wound up being warm Fisher scones with jam, which hit at least two food groups, right?
The kids went home clutching their stockings with happy, sticky faces. Completely worth it.
If you go...
Where: Holiday Magic 2022 takes place at the Washington State Fair Events Center — also known as the Puyallup fairgrounds — at 110 9th Avenue S.W. in Puyallup. Puyallup is about a 45-minute drive from either Seattle or Bellevue, and about 20 minutes from Tacoma.
When: Holiday Magic dates for 2022 are: Dec. 1–4, 8–11, 15–18 and 20–23, 4:30–9:30 p.m. (last entry at 8:30 p.m.)
Tickets: Book your date-specific tickets online for the best prices: $22.50 for ages 13 and older; $17.50 for kids ages 6–12; $12.50 for kids ages 3–5; kids ages 2 and younger enter free. If you buy tickets at the gate, tickets range from $13–$25 (see the website for details).
Entrance and parking: The entrance to Holiday Magic is at the Green Gate, off Fairview Drive on the west side of the fairgrounds. Parking in the Green Lot is free.
Good to know:
More holiday fun in 2022: