With September right around the corner, that can only mean one thing; It’s Fair season in America!  Every fall millions of Americans pack up their cars, load up the kids, and head out to the local county or regional fair to get their fill of farm animals, hot tub demos, fried food everything, and of course rides.

My two favorite fairs to attend are The Big E and The Washington State Fair (more commonly known as The Puyallup Fair).  These are two of the largest fairs in North America both drawing in over 1 million visitors per year.  As an added bonus, on Friday and Saturday nights you can always find big name musicians performing.

The Big E
(also known as The Eastern States Exposition)

September 14 – September 30

The Big E has been a family tradition since 1916 and is billed as “New England’s Great State Fair.”  Like many regional fairs, it started out as a way to promote local agriculture and the agriculture vocation. Today the Big E pays tribute to New England’s rich American history and of course has some pretty good food! 

The Big E is very well known for it’s cream puffs.  First introduced in 2002 and known as “The Big E Cream Puff,” you can’t leave the fair without trying at least one of these signature desserts.  Fair-goers can watch the bakery in action through large glass windows set up specifically to allow everyone to see the work that goes into making these calorie bombs.

A few attractions at The Big E:

  • One of the most popular attraction at the Big E is the Avenue of States. Here you can visit life-size replicas of the six New England statehouses.   Each state house is filled with items representative of the state and signature food dishes.
  • Storrowton Village – This Early American village of the 1700s and 1800s was donated by Helen Osborne Storrow. Storrow handed over 9 buildings – each an original structure from various New England States.  Daily entertainment can be found in the courtyard.
  • Daily Mardi Gras style parade – Floats, music, and of course, beads!
  • The Big E Coliseum

Some of the big name acts performing at The Big E this year are:

  • Marshall Tucker Band
  • Ice-T
  • Beach Boys

The famous Big E Midway sign sits in front of the ferris wheel.

The Washington State Fair
(also known as The Puyallup Fair)

August 31 – September 23

Summer’s end means it’s time to “do the Puyallup”.  One of the largest fairs in North America, the Washington State Fair located in Puyallup, WA was founded in 1900 with about 5,500 families attending. Today the fair draws in well over 1.2 million visitors from all over.

If there is one thing that the Washington State Fair is known for, it’s the scones!  Fisher scones have been a fair favorite since the early 1900s.  Scones should be enjoyed while still warm and smeared with whipped butter and raspberry jam.  Don’t leave without one!

A few fun things to do at the Washington State Fair:

  • Western Rodeo Parade & Cattle Drive
  • Fireworks on Friday evenings
  • SillyVille rides for the kiddos, midway rides for the young at heart, magic shows, and mutton bustin’!
  • Hobby Hall – Where collections of all sorts are displayed. Maybe we’ll see yours there?
  • Discover the Dinosaurs (admission required)
  • Plenty of live music and entertainment throughout the grounds – and it’s all free!

Some of the big name acts performing at the Western Washington Fair this year are:

  • Khalid
  • Toby Keith
  • Boy George and Culture Club
  • Joan Jett
  • Cheap Trick
  • And a Washington State staple: Macklemore

The Western Washington Fair is home to one of the last remaining wooden roller coasters in America.  Built in 1935 top speeds reach 50 mph from the 55 foot peak of the first drop.

Fairs provide timeless plain old-fashioned fun and entertainment.  So, go ahead, get out there and enjoy the animals, activities, rides, games and of course the food!