The Puyallup Fair, an event celebrated around the state, kicks off this morning with fanfare and tradition.The annual cattle drive and Puyallup Fair Western Rodeo Parade start at 10 a.m. sharp. Free gate admission is offered from 9 a.m. until noon, with a recommend donation for the Puyallup Food Bank.
Free gate admission until noon, sponsored by Sleep Number, draws big crowds on opening day. A food drive is also held, recommending guests bring nonperishable items for Puyallup Food Bank.
Last year, 160,000 pounds were collected in one day, with a hope for 200,000 pounds this year.
The first three days of the Fair also feature the Puyallup Pro Rodeo, Justin Boots Playoffs. The Puyallup Rodeo, sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts, features the top 24 rodeo athletes in each event in an epic battle to punch their ticket to the National Rodeo Finals.
The road to the Finals goes through Puyallup. Tickets are available to two rodeo performances on Friday and Saturday each, and the finals on Sunday at www.thefair.com/rodeo.
The Puyallup Fair Concert Series, presented by Columbia Bank, kicks off with Willie Nelson tonight following the 6 p.m. rodeo. Other grandstand entertainers include Heart, Enrique Iglesias, Big Time Rush, Jeff Dunham, TobyMac, Tim McGraw and Train. Tickets for all concerts are available at www.thefair.com/concerts.
New highlights this year include two new exhibits, the Rainforest Adventure (free admission), and Our Body: The Universe Within ($7 fee), as well as fireworks at 10 p.m. each Friday night. A flash dance will be held at 5:30 pm on opening day at the corner of Showplace Way and Grand Avenue. The Do The Puyallup Walk to Beat Breast Cancer will be held on Sept. 22.
The Puyallup Fair started in 1900, is one of the biggest fairs in the world and is considered to be the state fair in Washington. Star-studded entertainment, the PRCA Rodeo, rides, exhibits, food, flowers and animals are mainstays of the 17-day event in September.
For more info about the Sept. 7-23, 2012 Puyallup Fair, visit www.thefair.com, or text “FAIR” to 75868.