It was a cool and wet April evening, which is pretty common for up here in the Pacific Northwest. Yet even a little rain couldn't fully dampen the excitement of getting a chance to have at least a little bit of the old Spring Fair experience again at the Washington State Fairgrounds. With the COVID-19 Pandemic, both the Spring Fair and State Fair in September were cancelled. While disappointing, it was understandable given the circumstances. But as the calendar has turned to 2021, and things appear to be on the rebound with the rollout of vaccines, and different places experimenting with new ways to bring people to their businesses, the Washington State Fairgrounds are doing the same thing this year. They had some great success with their Fair Food To Go event last summer (which I checked out last year and shared on the Coasting with Culture YouTube Channel), and thus took what they learned from that event and have implemented some of the features of it into a modified version of the Spring Fair for 2021 in an effort to maintain safety for visitors as we are hopefully nearing the pandemic's end. Since part of the safety protocol is to maintain distancing with limited capacity, the Spring Fair was made for two weekends this year.
The experiences for this year's Spring Fair include a driving experience with street performers and the daffodil parade floats on display during the drive, plus they have a few options for visitors to step out of their car, including the option of the Dock Dogs show, Pig Races or Bingo. They also have rides available for this event, as you can either take a spin on the kids' rides in Sillyville, or enjoy the bigger rides in Thrillville, including the Classic Coaster, one of the more difficult wooden coasters for coaster enthusiasts to ride due to the limited operating window each year (normally a long weekend in April, and three weeks in September) and location in the Pacific Northwest. Britany and I have plans for another visit this coming Sunday, but I was really hankering for some laps on the Classic Coaster, and I didn't want to leave her out, so I surprised her with a quick evening visit to take a few rides. We both had to work during the daytime, but were able to get tickets for the 6:00-7:45 time window (Each of the entries for rides or the drive through experience are based on timed reservations for the sake of capacity control).
As part of the distancing measures, anyone doing one of the two options of ride groups will park based on the instructions given when you make you reservations of the Washington State Fair's website. From there, you go into the gate to enjoy them. Around the grounds for the rides, they had signage and ground markings for the sake of encouraging distancing, as well as hand sanitizer available for anyone seeking it. These all followed many of the same protocols that theme parks that had reopened in 2020 followed. With our visit, the rides area was fairly light in attendance, likely because of the weather.
The neat thing about this modified version of the fair is that if you really only want to do the rides, you can! It isn't necessary to do the drive through experience to be able to enjoy the rides. They have 7 ride/game passes for sale at $29 each, and if you find yourself with enough time and desire to pay for more rides, they allow you to add two more for $9. While the $4+ per ride price may be steep for some of the rides offered, the likes of the Classic Coaster is usually about $6 a ride during the fairs when a wristband for unlimited rides isn't available, so it can be a better deal than under normal circumstances.
The overall ride selection is a bit smaller than what they normally have for the Spring Fair, and far less than during the State Fair, but their offerings in the Thrillville area included several that you can often find offered by Funtastic Shows during both events here that they help run the carnival for.
Of course, the main reason for coming was to get another chance to ride the wonderfully maintained Classic Coaster. A rare gems of a coaster that we get to enjoy here in Western Washington, and one of the more rare and sought after coaster credits in the coaster enthusiast community. For the sake of distancing, they had every other row blocked off, and with buckets with some heavy material in them in the rows to remain empty to add weight to the train.
Because the the lighter weight of the train and the cooler temperatures, it was running a bit slower than it can get to be during the warmer and busier time of the State Fair in September. Luckily though, the big drop after the first turnaround was still giving a nice pop of ejector air as it normally does, even with the less than ideal conditions.
While I really enjoyed getting to ride my favorite hometown coaster again after missing out on it the past year, I also really enjoyed known that Britany was a big fan of it too. While she hasn't been nearly as experienced of a coaster rider as I have, her laughter and yells of excitement through the course (especially from that notorious drop of ejector air) was just about as much fun for me as getting to do the ride itself, as I've gotten so used to riding them with friends who are also passionate for these scream machines that I forgot what it was like to be fairly new to riding coasters and discovering how much fun they are to ride, and to experience the different forces that give. It makes me curious and look forward to when I can introduce her to bigger and better rides as some of the area parks reopen in the near future (We already have plans to go to Silverwood together, and are looking at some other possibilities of places to explore before too long).
It was a quick visit, but an enjoyable evening getting to hop back aboard a favorite again for a few laps with a potential new enthusiast (although we'll she if she is just as excited after trying out Aftershock and Stunt Pilot here soon), and I'm looking forward to our second visit this coming weekend when we get to try out the full fair experience. The weather is looking more promising, so hopefully I'll be able to do more of a full vlog for that day to share with you all what it was like.
Thanks for checking out this look back at opening day of the Spring Fair in Puyallup, hope to see you back for more from Coasting with Culture soon!
Take Care and Safe Travels,