Yesterday, Phillip and Cristina and I spent the day at the Puyallup Fair. (Yes, we know it’s officially the Washington State Fair, but the three of us prefer the nickname.)
The last time Phillip and I went to the fair was seven years ago. Back then, we took a Metro bus from Capitol Hill to Downtown Seattle, then a Sound Transit bus to Tacoma, where Pierce Transit was running shuttle buses to the fair.
Yesterday, Phillip and I took Link light rail to International District/Chinatown Station. Cristina met us there. Then we walked over to King Street Station, where a special Sounder commuter train (running twice in the morning, southbound, and twice in the evening, northbound) took us to Puyallup Station.
We played Oz Fluxx on the train ride from Seattle to Puyallup.
Pierce Transit had a line of free shuttle buses to take us, with a police escort, from Puyallup Station to the fairground. Then, they opened a vendor gate, just for us. That was nice!
It wasn’t as fast as driving to the fair would have been, but it was a whole lot more convenient, and a whole lot cheaper. (But, it still wasn’t as convenient as a couple of decades ago, when Metro Transit ran special shuttle buses from Downtown Seattle to the fairground entrance.)
We got our fair tickets scanned (yea smartphones!) then we headed directly for the food court and ate hamburgers.
We had a great day at the fair. It was an overcast, smoggy day (wildfires?), which was actually kind of nice. It kept the temperature to a comfortable level, at least.
We rode on two very un-scary haunted houses, for fun. We rode on lots of other rides, too. Phillip and Cristina rode on a roller coaster I wasn’t into. The fair had an interesting ticket system: You buy your ride tickets at the ticket booth, and you get a card with a bar code on it. Each time you ride a ride, the person at the ride entrance scans your card, which (I suppose) deducted the ticket number. It seemed like an efficient, paper-saving system, but we couldn’t figure out how to tell how many tickets we had left. What would we have done if we waited in a very long line, only to find out we didn’t have enough tickets?
I almost convinced Cristina that Phillip wanted to try some deep-fried butter, but I wasn’t able to convince Phillip, at all, that Cristina wanted to try some deep-fried butter.
When I was asked what I didn’t want to miss seeing at the fair, my response was immediate: I wanted to see the rabbits. I love bunny rabbits. So, we walked through the animal exhibits, including the bunny rabbits.
We’d arrived at the fair at 11:00. The first northbound Sounder train left at 5:50. There was a regularly scheduled hourly Sound Transit bus that could take us back to Downtown Seattle, if any one of us wanted to leave early. (We evoked our standard rule: If anyone says it’s time to go, it’s time to go.) But we stayed the whole day. We didn’t see everything, but we saw everything we wanted to see. We even met Wonder Woman. And, despite what the windbag know-it-all at King Street Station said about it being too touristy, we bought scones.
We caught the shuttle bus back to Puyallup Station, and rode the 5:50 train back to Seattle. The whole operation seemed not as well organized as it had been in the morning – what with the chaotic boarding of the buses, no escort, and the warnings that the train would be packed – but it all worked out well.
An older man struck up a conversation with me while we were waiting on the platform for the northbound train. It was his second time going to the fair – the first time being thirty years ago. He told me he was surprised by how much the fair had changed. The first time he went, it was all about the “agriculture”, with the 4H, farming, and crafts exhibits taking up this much space (palms held shoulder length apart), and the rides taking up only this much space (palms held a few inches apart). Now, he said, it’s all about the rides and vendors, with the agriculture squeezed into one little corner.
There was something about yesterday’s trip to fair that felt different, but I couldn’t quite pinpoint the difference. That man on the platform was right. The fair really did have a different focus. I remembered, years and years ago, walking through entire buildings full of award-winning homemade jams, through buildings full of hand-crafted quilts, through buildings full of 4H exhibits on how to raise a cow, before getting to the rides. This year, I kind of wanted to see some of that “agriculture”, but we would have had to do a lot of searching to find it.
I don’t know if this change is a bad thing, or not.
Phillip and Cristina and I found a table on the train ride back, but we were all too exhausted to play Fluxx, or do much of anything else. The three of us boarded a Link train together at International District/Chinatown Station. Phillip and I exited at Capitol Hill, and Cristina continued on to the U District.
Last night, I was too tired to write a blog post about our trip to the fair.