August 23 - September 3, 2018
The Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, Washington, is a place where the quirky spirit of the Northwest lives on. For better or worse, in many ways the fair hasn’t changed for decades. Its wood barns filled with green beans, patchwork quilts, and folk art seem strangely modern in an era when city folk are yearning for a return to the land.
The fair is also not above hocking an unabashed spectacle. Maybe you’ll handle a baby crocodile. Maybe you’ll witness a truckasaurus shoot diesel-fueled flames out of its robotic snout at a demolition derby. Maybe you’ll indulge in a deep-fried Twinkie.
Here’s the best of what the fair has to offer.
Let’s be clear: the Evergreen State Fair is not the place to go for a healthy and sensible salad. It’s the place to go for deep-fried everything. This is the place where you go to tantalize your taste buds, damn the caloric intake. And you can deep fry a lot: Twinkies, turkey legs, and deep-fried Oreos.
The Purple Cow. As near as I can tell, this ice cream-based beverage is completely unique to the Evergreen State Fair. A purple cow is vanilla ice cream, blackberry syrup (this is the “purple” part), and 7Up. It’s a sudden shock to the old blood sugar levels, which is, of course, the appeal. Every seventh customer gets a free Purple Cow, on the house.
Elephant Ears & Scones
The elephant ear is fried dough sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. The fair scone is white flour baked and topped with sugary jelly. Both are off the glycemic scale. Why not get both and pair them with a solid brick of greasy curly fries drenched in ketchup?
The Corn on the Cob. A classic fairground food. You can get a basic buttery cob or spice it up with a cayenne version.
Where in the Northwest can you see an authentic logging show, complete with beards, plaid flannel shirts, corked boots, and wood chopping? Good question. This way of life has all but vanished completely.
The International Lumberjack Show is a troupe of dedicated preservationists, only too happy to display the disappearing woodsman arts of logrolling, pole climbing, ax-throwing and chainsaw carving. The mustachioed men of yore pull off all these stunts in long underwear in sweltering August temperatures— all with a showman’s flare. Impressive.
This family-friendly show is free with price of admission and makes for a cool photo op. I like to visit this show to catch a glimpse of the romantic Northwest, a time when felling trees was a way of common livelihood.
If you go to the fair be sure to visit the nearby longhouse with totem poles. Members from local tribes sell barbecued salmon out of the building. The salmon comes with a garnish of cranberries.
The fairway is calling. You want to be whisked up into the night sky with your sweetheart among the carnival lights. Bumper cars, ring toss, or a roller coaster: it’s all waiting for you.
Connect with the old-fashioned agrarian side of life, the creatures who supply milk, eggs, and meat for the supermarket.
There’s a kids petting zoo with deer (yep), sheep, bunnies and goats. It’s incredible. It’s like half the farm got loose and you can walk among the furry escapees. Get your camera ready. When’s the next time you’ll be able to pet a deer?
Actual rodeo, actual horses, actual bronco roping. Watch the cowboy arts unfold before your eyes. Yee-haw!
Truckasaurus. Cars chained together. Buses smashing into one another. The roar of vehicles without mufflers and the screech of tires. T-shirt cannons. Cheap beer in plastic cups. This is all fun stuff. You know you love it.
Bring cash. Most vendors take debit cards, but, generally speaking, cash is king.
Bring sunglasses and a hat.
Try the grilled onions.
Stop by our visitor table in the exhibit hall.
Evergreen State Fair
August 23 - September 3, 2018
Fair Hours: 10am to 10pm (closes at 7pm on 9/3)
Carnival Hours: 11am to 11pm (closes at 7pm on 9/3)