A crew member works to set up a ride Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

A crew member works to set up a ride Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Evergreen fair: come for giant squash, stay for lumberjacks

Find classic fair favorites and some new additions at the Evergreen State Fair through Sept. 2.

MONROE — The neon Ferris wheel stood silent and still over the flurry of activity beneath it Wednesday as vendors and competitors prepared for the Evergreen State Fair’s opening day.

Ducks, taking it easy before their big races, quacked from inside their trailer. Thousands of pounds of potatoes sat in crates, soon to become curly fries and cheesy bakes. Classic stops like elephant ear and cotton candy trucks opened their windows as they braced for the 350,000 people who will visit the fairgrounds in the next week and a half, beginning Thursday.

The chaos of fair prep is old news for Earl Marcellus, who has been putting on the lumberjack show for the past 38 years.

As his team filled up the pool for log-rolling, Marcellus grabbed a stump for himself and took a seat. He and his wife started the show together.

Crews work to assemble a food stall Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Crews work to assemble a food stall Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

“There was sawdust in my veins and sawdust in hers,” he said.

Marcellus and his brother have been sawing together as a team since they were teenagers. They’ll be performing at this year’s shows, which happen daily at the fair.

Carsen Monaghan, the recent runner-up at the world championships for log climbing, will also appear.

To find the lumberjack show, just listen for chainsaws and look for a cloud of sawdust.

The Evergreen State Fair is booming, county parks spokesperson Shannon Hays said. Attendance has been on an upward trend for the past few years.

People come for their best-loved oddities — like staring at giant squash and eating foods that shouldn’t be fried (if those exist) — and for their creature comforts — like watching the rodeo with a cold beer or taking a Ferris wheel ride with a loved one.

But Hays said the county hopes to keep visitors coming back and to attract new ones by adding to those fan favorites. This year, that means new beer and wine gardens and dance demonstrations to dust off your cowboy boots for. It’s a recipe for a pretty great first date, in Hays’ opinion.

For those looking to get a real taste of what the fair is all about, there are some hands-on activities, like a beekeeping demonstration.

Over in the display hall Wednesday, the Lake Stevens Grange members painstakingly arranged a display of their carefully cultivated produce, canned goods, jams, flowers, nuts and other goods. The items can’t just be placed in the peat moss boxes, they have to be arranged how they’d grow in nature.

Zoe Hart handles off vegetables to her mom Nicole Hart Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Zoe Hart handles off vegetables to her mom Nicole Hart Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

After 13 years of competing in equine 4-H, Miriam Huff has kept coming back to the fair.

“I don’t want (the fair) to be a forgotten celebration,” Huff said. “It’s such an essential part of the community.”

For students in 4-H, the event is the culmination of a year’s worth of hard work.

“It gives meaning to riding your horse all winter when it’s 30 degrees and pouring down rain,” Huff said. “It makes the cold hands worth it.”

Much of what she learned in 4-H has stuck with her and proved useful in everyday life, she said.

As a science education masters student, Huff said she often draws on what she learned from her equine science 4-H class.

“The fair matters,” she said. “That’s why I’m here.”

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

^

Gillian Osthimer examines a bunny Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Gillian Osthimer examines a bunny Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

For a full schedule of fair events, visit www.evergreenfair.org.

There are several opportunities for discounted entrance to the fair:

Thursday, Aug. 22: Get free gate admission with a donation of three non-perishable food items per person before 3 p.m.

Monday, Aug. 26: Everyone 62 years and older receives free gate admission.

Tuesday, Aug. 27: Bring a friend, coworker, neighbor, your barista or someone you met on the bus. But whatever you do, come in twos for buy one admission, get another gate admission of equal value for free until 2 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 28: Grab the kids and head to the Fair for Family Day. Admission is four for $30 all day. Check out the Courtyard Stage schedule for special family-friendly acts all day long.

Thursday, Aug. 29: Free gate admission for kids 12 and younger all day long.

Friday, Aug. 30: Free admission for active, veteran and retired military and their dependents with proper ID.

Monday, Sept. 2: Come celebrate the last day of the fair where gate admission is $2 off for everyone.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

Finishing touches are placed on a ride Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Finishing touches are placed on a ride Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Orion Liedtke spreads wood shavings Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Orion Liedtke spreads wood shavings Wednesday afternoon at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

More in News & Comment

Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department Twitter page
Mercer Island Marine Patrol recovers Bellevue man who drowned in Lake Washington

Mercer Island’s Marine Patrol recovered an adult male who drowned in Lake… Continue reading

Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance
Puget Sound renters will need housing assistance

Nonprofits, activists are expecting greater need as workers are laid off.

Dr. Amit Desai of St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 17, 2020. Photo courtesy of CHI Franciscan
Vaccination data reveals disparities among regions and race

South King County and certain minority groups are far behind on COVID-19 vaccine goals.

Freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish. 	File photo
Researchers track ‘mysterious’ kokanee salmon in region

Kokanee in Lake Washington and Sammamish are genetically unique. Over the past decades, their numbers have dwindled.

A protective mask hanging on a front door. (Sound Publishing file photo)
King County to lift indoor mask mandate on June 29

About 1.3 million county residents have completed their COVID-19 vaccine series.

Pills taken during police investigation (photo credit: Bellevue Police)
Renton man charged with homicide after selling fentanyl pills to a Bellevue woman

Law enforcement warns of an alarming increase in fentanyl deaths.

File photo
King County leaders propose emergency funding for gun violence prevention initiative

Sixty-nine people were reportedly shot during the first quarter of 2021.

Photo courtesy of the Bellevue Fire Department Twitter page
MIPD Marine Patrol members search for missing man in Lake Washington

Members of the Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) Marine Patrol and Bellevue… Continue reading

King County logo
Auditors find racial disparities in King County contracts

BIPOC-owned businesses earn contract bids at a much lower rate than white-owned businesses.

Most Read