So Long Puyallup Fair

Sunday marked the end of the "Puyallup Fair" era. Next year, we are legally bound to call it the "Washington State Fair." As Patch Editor Brent Champaco puts it, the name may fade, but the fight against long lines at the scone stand

PUYALLUP, WASHINGTON STATE-A scone by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Mmmmm. Sweet and buttery with raspberry.

Forgive my digression, but the clan of this Patch editor is currently mired in a crisis of morale, this, the final day of the 2012 Puyallup Fair. Here we sit at the food court, crankier than the guy who has to hose down swine barn after feeding.

Mrs. Patch Editor's feet hurt. Mini-Patch Editor realizes she has come out the loser when comparing the other kids' polar bear-sized stuffed animals to the pig's head that Daddy earned by popping balloons.

And I'm in a foul fair mood, comforted only by the flakey assurance of a scone and the momentum I've built by flawlessly scribing the entire opening of this conondrum on my smartphone. I mean, "column," not "conondrum." (Darn you, Autocorrect!)

Why am I cranky? It's because they've attacked something sacred. The innocence is lost. If these were the streets, it's the equivalent of saying something about my mama and I know you just did not go there!

The offense? They've killed The Puyallup Fair, at least in name. Mr. Fat Cat-Big Oil-Wall Street Bailout-Darth Vader-Fair Guy thought it would be good idea to be more inclusive and rename the thing the "Washington State Fair" beginning next year.

"Since the Fair features countless entries, animals, entertainment, and two major youth state competitions, it was logical to have a name that fit with all the Fair encompassed, participants from around the state," according to a statement released by the fair immediately following the sale of the last Krusty Pup, which in some countries marks the beginning of the new year.

"A perfect example is the giant pumpkin competition, with first place going to Robin Halbert of Enumclaw, and second place honors to Jay Groepper of Spokane."

Ha. Joke's on them. They missed the memo that Spokane is actually considered Metro Northern Idaho/All of Montana.

I understand why Washington State Fair makes sense. It's more encompassing, more welcoming. It represents how much of a regional attraction the fair - which drew more than a million visitors this year - has become. Fine.

But did they ever stop to think about the unforeseen consequences of a name change?

How am I going to explain the Puyallup Fair shirt I'm donning in the picture-turned-coffee-mug I bought in '96?

What about hipsters from Seattle? Plugging "Puyallup" into their GPS was their only chance of finding the fair the first time without accidentally going over Snoqualmie Pass.

And what about people who don't know how to pronounce "Puyallup?" Now whom will I mercilessly ridicule for not being from the Northwest? "Pooh-Yawl-Oop?!? Get outta town, Mr. and Mrs. We're-Originally-From-Temecula."

Oh, they are keeping the "Do The Puyallup" slogan, which means drivers will continue to hear the fair's radio jingle eight times per hour while stuck in traffic.

Look, I realize I'm much too bitter over this. I just need to decompress with an Elephant Ear or something.

Next year, although we won't call the fair the P-word, it will be back, better than ever.

We'll still have to wait 30 minutes in line for a scone.

The livestock will still smell just as, um, livestock-y on hot days.

Some carnival workers will still have unique stains on their shirts.

I'm getting excited again. The juices are flowing. I'm typing faster than ever before on this foam. Phone, not foam. Darn it, Autocorrect!

I'll be back next year, Fair-Formerly-Known-As-Puyallup. And even though you'll be going under an assumed name, one thing won't change.

I still won't be able to win my kid that giant stuffed animal.

Musique September 24, 2012 at 02:08 PM
You are the second person on line who made me smile this morning and it is just a little after 7:00 AM, it's gonna be a great day, I can tell! Thanks!
Rob Gordon September 24, 2012 at 03:37 PM
They can call it whatever they want. They can even call it "the Washington State Logically-Named, Easily-Accessible Multicultural Festival" if they think it appropriate. Road signs already point to it as the Western Washington Fair when they suggest you take certain exits to get to it. Everyone else calls it the Puyallup Fair and will keep calling it that when buying tickets or season passes from Walgreens. Not only does it have less syllables than either WW Fair or WS Fair, but it's more fun to say and already ingrained in the vocabularies of Washingtonians who've been there or at least heard of it. Pronunciation for an outsider? Easily remedied with a single commercial. And the "Spring Fair?" Probably unaffected by any of this.
Laurie Miller September 24, 2012 at 05:10 PM
It's the Puyallup Fair plain and simple. Not sure what wise person came up with the decision to change it, but my motto is....why try to fix what is not broken. Our fair is known far and wide as the Puyallup Fair or as Johnny Carson used to pronounce it...the Pooh-eee-a-loop Fair. The culture of the Puyallup Fair will remain as will the name with those of us who grew up saying it. We love our fairgrounds and those who bring the fair to us each year....and all those things in between. And, when people come up to us asking "where is the Washington State Fair?" we will quickly respond....oh, do you mean the Puyallup Fair....it's right down there!
Christie Anderson September 24, 2012 at 05:33 PM
I moved to Puyallup from blue-jean, I mean, Eugene Oregon, while still in Jr High (talk about culture shock!) Learning to pronounce Puyallup was a challenge for a wannabe hippie from the Wonder Years, Oregon. I learned that my new hometown's name is best pronounced like this: Pew (as in church seating) Al (as in Gore) Up (as in the city of Chambers Bay). As to the fair's name, locals will always call the former Western Washington State Fair, henceforth to be called Washington State Fair, The Puyallup Fair....or simply "THE Fair".
Christie Anderson September 24, 2012 at 05:34 PM
There's a Spring Fair? ;-)
Jerry Foss September 24, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Brent Champaco September 24, 2012 at 11:37 PM
I try, Musique :)
Brent Champaco September 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Love it, Laurie!
Brent Champaco September 24, 2012 at 11:38 PM
City of Chambers Bay. Ha!
Jeanne Gustafson September 25, 2012 at 01:30 AM
I take offense to your Spokane characterization, Brent! The real Eastside of Washington has not yet crossed the line into Idaho--except during Silverwood season (though it's all-too-happy for shopping dollars from parts farther east)!
Brent Champaco September 25, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Ha! Amusement parks and fairs are tearing apart your hood, Jeanne :)
Christie Anderson September 25, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I love Lauren's pic from a ride at The Fair....way cool!
Lauren Padgett (Editor) September 25, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Thanks Chris! The two girls in front of my swing are my friends... I used instagram to edit it :) I love that photo too!
S A September 26, 2012 at 02:34 PM
April 18-21, 2013 = http://www.thefair.com/spring-fair/ ... There are events year-round ... http://www.thefair.com/events-calendar/?date=2012-10
Brent Champaco September 28, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Hey Puyalllup folks - what do you think? We want to hear your perspective!
Diana VanDyken April 17, 2013 at 04:14 AM
I think it's stupid & costly. It has always been known as THE PUYALLUP FAIR, why change it now and who's going to pay for all the sign changes .The public I'm sure. We are having a hard enough time holding on traditions that are getting so expensive.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something