1. How will the Fair dates change?
The Washington State Fair will add Labor Day weekend to its annual run starting in 2016. The extended schedule will give visitors more opportunities to enjoy the Fair. In addition, the Fair will be closed on all Tuesdays. The 2017 dates are September 1 - 24, 2017, (closed Tuesdays & Spet. 6).
2. What are the benefits of a longer Fair run?
The Fair is making the change after a multiyear study of major fairs across the West that have successfully extended their runs. Fair guests were more satisfied, and fair vendors and partners reported a boost in attendance and other benefits.
3. Why close the Fair on Tuesdays?
Being closed midweek will relieve traffic during three work/school days. Fair vendors and concessionaires can restock and exhibitors can refresh their displays. Fair superintendents and employees will benefit from a day of rest.
4. What does the change mean for Puyallup businesses?
Businesses are an important partner in promoting our community as a place to stay, play and shop. The extended Fair run likely will attract more out-of-area guests, increasing the demand for hotel rooms, meals and other local goods and services. In addition, the Fair is pursuing a new collaborative effort with local merchants to find ways to attract Fair guests to their businesses.
5. What is being done about traffic congestion?
The Fair financially supports public transit giving guests transportation options and keeping cars off the road. Sound Transit and Pierce Transit offer regional train-bus service directly to the Fair. Regular Pierce Transit bus routes serve the Fair every 30 minutes, seven days a week. The Fair closures on Tuesdays also will provide relief from traffic congestion.
6. Will growth help the Fair attract more big-name entertainers?
The “state fair” designation already helps us gain the attention of well-known entertainers. The extended schedule will provide more opportunities for performers and their fans.
7. Will there be enough workers to support a longer Fair?
We will be talking with exhibitors, vendors and other partners about the extended schedule for 2016. Our intent is to give them enough time to plan for staffing, supplies and other considerations for the additional days. Seasonal workers will have the opportunity to earn extra income.
8. Why extend over Labor Day weekend rather than later in the fall?
Extending the Fair’s run is the next step in our growth as a state fair. The holiday weekend provides more opportunity for local residents and travelers from outside Western Washington to visit the Fair before the start of school. Adding the weekend at the beginning of the schedule takes advantage of our usually dry late-summer weather. This continues the Fair’s tradition of delivering more entertainment, more competition, more excitement.
9. Is this a long-term decision or is 2016 a trial run?
Our plan is to continue the extended run into the future. It may take several years to fully evaluate the success of the schedule change.
10. Can a longer Fair be successful if it is competing with other events for Labor Day visitors, vendors and entertainers?
The additional days give us more flexibility for scheduling entertainers and exhibitors. The Fair will be a family-oriented option for a weekend activity. Washington residents near and far could consider the Fair if they are looking for something new to do for the holiday weekend.
11. What is Fair attendance?
The Washington State Fair welcomes more than one million guests each September to the single-largest attended event in the state. In 2014, Fair guests hailed from 38 states, according to a survey.
12. How would the new schedule accommodate FFA and 4-H competitors?
We are working with the state offices of FFA and 4-H on arrangements that will assure the Fair continues to be a rewarding experience for them and their youth participants. The additional days may help spread out a crowded schedule of competitions and provide opportunities to introduce new programs.
2015: Sept. 11 - 27; 3 weekends (17 days)
2016: Sept. 2 - 25; 4 weekends (21 days)
2017: Sept. 1 - 24; 4 weekends (20 days)