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Holiday Magic at The Fair: Fantastic Festive Fun for Families

What to expect at the Fair’s holiday extravaganza in 2021

Published on: December 13, 2021

Kids ride the carousel merry-go-round at the Washington State Fair's Holiday Magic holiday season event family fun near Seattle
Photo:
JiaYing Grygiel

This time last year, the Washington State Fair ran a wildly popular drive-through holiday light show. At that point, no one was vaccinated and everyone desperately needed somewhere to go during a year of virtual everything. It was a long drive for a short reward.

This year Holiday Magic at the Fair is an in-person, park-your-car and walk-right-in event. A million times better. On a scale of one to four, we give it four scones!

Holiday Magic is not around for long, though, just 13 select dates through Dec. 31. (That means buy your tix asap.)

A boy in a santa hat is seen in profile standing under a canopy of lights at Holiday Magic at the Fair in Puyallup a holiday event for Seattle area families
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Getting in the spirit

Parking at Holiday Magic is free, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get a parking spot as far away as possible from the Green Gate entrance. That way, you start things right with a free tractor-drawn wagon or shuttle van ride to the gate, caroling all the way.

At the entrance, a friendly employee checked our vaccine cards. Per state mandate, everyone 12 and older is required to show vaccine verification or a negative Covid test from within 72 hours. If you forgot, there’s a tent conveniently next to the entrance with free Covid tests (until 8 p.m.). Everyone ages 5 and older is required to wear a mask, indoors and outdoors.

Santa's Express Train among free rides for families at Holiday magic at the fair holiday attraction for seattle families
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Free rides

Once in the gate, we beelined it to the rides, which are free and unlimited. We hopped on the merry-go-round and Santa’s Express Train, which takes you through a tunnel and around a loop to see lights. So much better than last year, when we could only watch the train chugging along from our car.

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.

A hand holds a gingerbread cookie by a small stocking treats and gifts at holiday magic at the fair
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Photos ops and more fun

If you like, dress in your holiday best so you’re ready to knock out a fabulous family pic for your holiday card. There’s a photo op with the RV from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and an entire building filled with fun backgrounds. Pretend to be inside a snow globe, relax on a tropical beach with a snowman or settle into a woodland scene with gnomes.

Beach snowman photo op at Holiday Magic at the Fair
Beachy photo op. Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

The indoor ice-skating rink is an additional $10 per person onsite, or $8 if you bought a ticket in advance online. We opted to skip the ice skating because there was so much other stuff to do.

The ice skating rink is an add-on available to guests at Holiday Magic at the Fair
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

There’s an arena with a cool laser light show, a barn with a giant indoor light tunnel and a display about holidays around the world. Don’t miss the manger with darling real-life animals: a sheep, a donkey, a goat and a cow munching on hay in a living, moving Nativity scene.

A sheep and a miniature donkey are in the manger living nativity scene at Holiday Magic at the Fair holiday family event
JiaYing Grygiel

We attended Holiday Magic on opening night, and were surprised it wasn’t at all packed. There was hardly any wait for the rides. We were glad to see lots of seating outdoors, and the buildings had their entrances wide open for ventilation. Even if you go on a wet night (there’s a good chance you will), most of the activities are under shelter.

The barn at the fair's farmville dressed up in holiday lights for Holiday Magic at the Fair
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Out of the park

Last year’s event was what could be managed at that time. This year, the Fair really hit it out of the park. We appreciated that the staff members were so kind to the kids. Props to the Fair for pulling off such a fun, safe event for families.

Holiday Magic at the Fair tunnel of light with people standing under it among light attractions for families
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

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 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 operates Dec. 17–23 and 26–31, 5–10 p.m. (last entry at 9:30 p.m.)

Tickets: Book your date-specific tickets online for the best prices: $20 for ages 13 and older; $15 for kids ages 6–12; kids ages 5 and younger enter free. If you buy tickets at the gate, it’s an extra $2.50 per ticket.

Extras: 

  • Add on ice skating admission (including skates) for $8 when booked online. Skating sessions last about 45 minutes. Skating costs $10 onsite.
  • Add on snowflake 3D glasses for $3 when booked online.
  • Adults ages 21 and older can order a custom Yeti insulated cup for $30, which includes a drink credit of $10.

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:

  • The event goes on rain or shine. While most attractions are covered or indoors, it’s a good idea to wear your rain jackets. It is December, after all.
  • Guests ages 12 and older need to show their vaccination card or a negative Covid test from the previous 72 hours. Rapid tests are available at the gate for same-day ticket holders. Masks are required for ages 5 and older.
  • Concessions are available, including Fair favorites like Fisher scones.

More holiday fun in 2021:

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