Monday, September 15, 2008
The Puyallup Fair
When we first arrived in Seattle, mid August, the temperatures were in the 90's. Cool, in comparison to to Texas, but hot considering the lack of AC units in a state that only has 2 months of sunny skies. After our brief spurt of "heat," the sun lost it's nerve and went into hiding for several weeks, shortening their already pitiful 2 months of summer to 6 weeks. We felt lucky if the temperature reached 70 degrees on any particular day. But on our arrival, from Oregon, back into Seattle, the sun re-emerged, spreading it's rays and enveloping Seattle once more, except that the temperatures soared to a whopping 75 degrees this time, warm in the sun, cool in the shade. But never-the-less, we were thrilled. The weekend was forecasted to be beautiful, sunny and perfect for outdoors activities. Puyallup State Fair, a combination between a rodeo and a carnival, advertised for being epically fun, was our choice of activities. We jumped in the car and drove the hour plus through traffic to Puyallup. The first thing I noticed when arriving was the difference in the clientele between Bumbershoot, the music festival and Puyallup fair. The most noticeable difference being the average weight of the fair goer. While Bumbershoot patronage was mostly a younger crowd, but not limited to that, the Puyallup crowd was mostly families, and agricultural folks. The food at the fairs was a good indicator of the type of people in attendance. While we snacked on salmon and lamb at Bumbershoot, Onion burgers and fries were the peoples' choice at the Puyallup State Fair. The crowd at this event was unbelievable especially considering the expansive fair ground. We entered an enclosed building to stroll lazily down the aisles, looking at the different booths and vendors, however each aisle that we attempted to walk down was lined with people and strollers from one booth to the next leaving absolutely no space for breathing and or moving. I am used to crowds, and am not bothered by them for the most part, I sometimes even find them invigorating, but this was the most crowded besides NIOSA (night in old San Antonio) I have ever seen. We couldn't even find a space to fit our bodies to walk down the aisles. And the ladies bathroom was totally havoc, I was afraid I might not ever be able fight my way out again.
So instead of that enclosure, we went to visit the farm animals. We saw, cows, and I mean the most massive cows I have ever seen, goats and dwarf goats, Shetland ponies, giant rabbits, dwarf rabbits, and a creepy looking rabbit out of a horror movie.
Our favorite event, by far, at the fair was the mutton bustin. It is similar to bull riding in that the person is trying to stay on for as long as possible, but instead of a bull, it is a sheep, and instead of a cowboy, it is a child 6 years or younger and under 60 lbs. The M.C. would announce the child's name, age and place of residence. Armed with a helmet and a padded vest, the children who didn't back out at the last moment were placed on the sheep near the rear. The goal was to stay on longer than six seconds, but most didn't last a second before they flew into the special sand dirt engineered to be extra soft, but provided no help in the case of trampling. Some of the children understandably lost their nerve at the last moment but those who rode never fell gracefully. It was a great show which even went into overtime when two children tied. The little boy requested that he use the bathroom before he perform in the ride off, however when he returned, he no longer wished to participate. Mutton bustin was a really cute spectacle, a crowd favorite. I'm glad we got to see it! All in all, a fun day at the fair!