Mr. & Mrs. Sparkles make the switch to Intercard for a friendlier cashless experience

By | October 5, 2021

ST. LOUIS — Intercard, the world leader in cashless technology for the amusement industry, has installed its latest systems in Georgia at the Sparkles Family Fun Center in Kennesaw and the Starlite Family Fun Center in Sharpsburg. These popular roller skating FECs are owned and operated by two generations of the Couey family.

Jeff and Ava Couey, known in the roller skating world as “Mr. & Mrs. Sparkles” are life-long skaters who helped pioneer the modern skating FEC by adding kids’ playgrounds, two-story laser tag and bigger arcades to their two rinks in Georgia. Jeff, a dedicated booster of roller skating, is a former president of the Roller Skating Association, the industry’s trade group.

Michael and Clint Couey, the sons of Jeff and Ava, operate three skating FECs of their own in Georgia. They have added their first Intercard cashless technology system to their Starlite Family Fun Center in Sharpsburg, Georgia.

Jeff Couey initially embraced cashless technology to enhance his customers’ arcade experience, sell gift cards and complement party packages. When his first system unexpectedly became obsolete due to changes made by the vendor, he made the switch to Intercard.

“We switched to Intercard because our previous vendor changed their card readers and we would have had to buy a whole new system as a result,” says Jeff. “We didn’t like being forced into that situation. Also, the [old] system would go offline or something would happen and it wouldn’t function. We heard from other people that Intercard support is much better.”

Ultimately the Couey family plan to go cashless across all of their attractions including food and beverage operations. Intercard’s ability to manage multiple cashless locations safely and securely was another reason they switched.

Mr. and Mrs. Sparkles also give top marks to Rachelle Granger, their Intercard sales rep, who has made a special outreach to the skating industry for several years at trade shows and other events. “Rachelle’s always been so helpful and explained so many things to us. She’s always been there, but never pushy,” says Ava Couey. “She’d always let us know ‘I’m here if you need me.’”

Eastern States Exposition attendance sets records

By | October 5, 2021

A total of 1,498,774 visitors attended the 2021 Big E, in West Springfield, Mass. During the Fair’s 17-day run, an all-time single day attendance record was set when 177,238 visitors came to The Big E on the third Saturday. Daily attendance records were also set: the first Tuesday, Sept. 21, 56,769; the second Sunday, Sept. 26, 136,512; and the third Friday with 113,827 visitors.

A diverse concert line-up of more than 80 individual performances, fabulous Fair foods, rides and unique shopping experiences provided something for everyone in the family.

World Class Entertainment
The epic entertainment line-up this year included ticketed concerts at The Big E Arena, sponsored by Truly Hard Seltzer: Machine Gun Kelly; Billy Idol; Zach Williams with Cory Asbury; Flo Rida with Ying Yang Twins; Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo; the Goo Goo Dolls; A Day to Remember; and STYX.

The Court of Honor Stage, sponsored by Mattress Firm, brought a stellar line-up of acts: Jesse McCartney; Jay and the Americans; Kameron Marlowe; Foghat; the Donna Summer Experience; Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; 10,000 Maniacs; The Bar-Kays; Broadway’s Rock of Ages Band; Plain White T’s; Don McLean; Here Come the Mummies; The Outlaws; Big Brother and the Holding Company; Lisa Lisa; Ripe; Kashmir: The Live Led Zeppelin Show; Tribute to the King; Hoobastank; and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of RUN DMC.

The E Stage, sponsored by Blue Chair Bay Rum, featured fresh sounds of local and emerging talent, offered every day of the Fair.

Other daily offerings were: The Big Parade; The Circus Spectacular; Swifty Swine Racing Pigs, sponsored by Leaf Filter Gutter Protection; Sahara, presented by Camel Kingdom; rides and games on the North American Midway; Zultar, the Comedy Fortune Teller; Mobile Glass Studio; the Roaming Railroad; and more.

The Young Building featured products from around the world, including an exhibit on Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula with QR codes for shopping products of the Emerald Isle and an array of themed jewelry from Brian DeStaic Jewelers.

Delectable Dining
We welcomed new additions to the dining experience in 2021.

New vendors included: Emma’s, featuring Kora’s Cookie Dough on a Stick; Deep Fried Tacos; the Speakeasy by Stanley; Calabrese Market & Deli; and the All American Craft Beer Bar & Grill.

New foods for the 2021 Fair included: the Bloody Mary Grilled Cheese; the Cider Bomb; Deep Fried Pineapple with Coconut Sauce; Potato and Corn Chomper dipped in roasted red pepper ranch; the Bacon Wrapped Dilly Dilly Dog; Angela’s Pickle Pizza; the White Hut Waffle Burger; and Bavarian Poutine. 

A new Big E Cream Puff flavor was introduced – Pumpkin – which was well-received. Cream Puffs, with or without ganache topping, and Eclairs proved to be a favorite among fairgoers. The Craz-E Burger was joined by the Craz-E Breakfast Sandwich and the Craz-E Chicken Sandwich.

We honored restaurateur, the late Andrew Yee, of the Bean Restaurant Group, who co-owned and operated

The Wurst Haus and White Hut at The Big E. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined us in this special tribute that included area dignitaries, law enforcement and the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office color guard in a procession through the grounds. A bronze plaque was permanently installed at the Wurst Haus in his memory.

Agriculture
The Eastern States Farmers Market and Wine Barn offered fairgoers a variety of agricultural demonstrations, such as spinning and weaving, cooking demonstrations, samples from The Big E Northeast Gold Wine, Cider & Perry Competition, wine slushies and cheese plates in the Wine Café and more. The 4-H Beef Grand Champion Steer, raised by Riley Mahaffey of New York, was purchased by Cedar Hill Ranch at the Fair’s 4-H Beef Auction. ESE purchased the Highly Commended Steer, raised by Briley Wade of Massachusetts. Overall, twenty four steers were sold for an average of $3.61/lb.

The ESE Horse Show, sponsored by Budweiser, featured Hunters and Hunt Seat Equitation, the USHJA Zone I HOTY finals and the $15,000 Hunter Classic as well as Saddlebreds, Hackneys, Morgans, Friesians and Opportunity Classes. The Big E Draft Horse Show featured the 2021 North American Classic Cart Series Regional Finals, the Haflinger and Hitch Pony Championship Series Finals and the $50,000 Six-Horse Hitch Showdown.

New England Traditions
Each state building along the Avenue of States put its best foot forward to bring our fairgoers an authentic New England experience. Storrowton Village Museum offered tours of its 19th century buildings, staffed with “villagers” going about their daily routines, as well as historic demonstrations and glassblowing on the Green.

New England Center – This home of The Big E’s Creative Arts department, housed displays of entries and winners in competitions for quilting, lace making, rug hooking, sewing, doll making and knitting competitions. The department had 1,293 total entries throughout all contests, judged 185 quilts and had 436 entries in the photography contest.

Social media outreach to our fans and followers across the Internet continued to grow this year. When the Fair ended, The Big E had over 246K followers on Facebook, more than 12.3K Twitter fans, and 37K followers on Instagram.

John Joseph Conway — March 24, 1964 – September 21, 2021

By | October 4, 2021

John Joseph Conway Jr., age 57, of Sycamore St., Elysburg, passed away on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021, at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 24, 1964, a son of the late John J. Jr. and Jeanette (Santoro) Conway, he grew up in Bronxville, New York, and spent summers at the family summer cottage on the lake at Franklin, Mass.
Following high school, John attended the University of Hartford and then attended Elizabeth Seton College, Yonkers, N.Y., before he enlisted in the U.S. Army on Dec. 15, 1987, and served as a medic until his honorable discharge on May 27, 1991. He was called to serve in Desert Storm, but the war was over before he flew out.

John then started working for the family business, National Ticket Co., as a salesman, working there until he enrolled at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. After receiving his Information Technology degree, he returned to National Ticket Co. to run the IT Department. He wore many hats at NTC, Vice President of Sales, Secretary of the Board and Chairman of the Board. John loved his job and his employees.

John was a “gentle giant” who loved watching his children play in their sports, mainly soccer and snowboarding. He enjoyed trips to visit family in Montana, going to the lake and then on to the Oregon coast.

He was very active in the AYSO soccer program where he volunteered as the Regional Commissioner for four years. He was able to enjoy watching the kiddos play and never missed a game when he wasn’t traveling for business.
John enjoyed spending time with his high school friends who have all remained very close throughout the years. He loved his cars and his motorcycles. He served as a volunteer fireman for eight years in East Chester, New York.

John is survived by his beloved wife, the former Michelle K. Mifflin and their three children: Chase J. Conway, and twins Trent F. Conway and Victoria K. Conway; a sister Kimberly, wife of Peter Guerlain, Boonton, N.J.; an uncle, Kenneth Santoro and his wife Pat of North Attleboro, Mass.; several nieces and nephews and other family members including: Barbara McGinn, Barbara Jean Kalle, Kelly Nullet, William and Debbie Nullet
A memorial service will be at a later date and will be announced in due time.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to The Danville S.P.C.A., 1467 Bloom Road, Danville, Pa 17821.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the care of the Roat-Kriner Funeral Home, 1133 Bloom Road, Danville.

Condolence messages and photographs may be posted at: www.krinerfuneralhomes.com.

IAAPA Expo Europe celebrates successful show in Barcelona, Spain

By | October 4, 2021

BARCELONA, Spain — Looking forward with optimism – that was the theme of the opening address at IAAPA Expo Europe 2021, and it carried through the week as the Expo brought attractions industry professionals together in Spain. Preliminary estimates indicate the Expo attracted 8,500 participants, including 5,800 qualified buyers and 439 exhibiting companies. The buyer participants represented 3,200 companies. The first IAAPA hosted Expo since 2019, IAAPA Expo Europe focused on resilience, innovation, and moving forward.

“IAAPA Expo Europe represents a fresh start for our entire industry,” said Jakob Wahl, vice president and executive director, IAAPA Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), during the opening session. “This Expo is about preparing for the future, inspiring each other, and sharing important learnings from the global pandemic.”

The education conference began at theme park destination PortAventura World. The resort hosted the IAAPA Safety Institute, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the park as well as IAAPA EMEA’s first-ever Sustainability Day. The full-day sustainability event featured industry professionals from the EMEA region sharing their parks’ strategies for becoming carbon neutral, incorporating sustainability practices throughout their facilities, and providing guidelines to create a sustainability plan that supports business goals. Participants also took an exclusive tour of PortAventura Dreams, the park’s onsite resort which provides annually complimentary visits to 200 children with critical illnesses and their families.

To recognize PortAventura’s commitment to sustainability and pioneering efforts across all lines of business, as well as its openness in sharing best practices with the industry, IAAPA presented the first-ever “IAAPA EMEA Award for Extraordinary Efforts on Sustainability” to the park during the Expo.

On Tuesday, internationally known travel writer Doug Lansky presented the opening keynote presentation about using challenge and crisis as inspiration for positive change. His engaging speech was then followed by Amanda Thompson OBE, Chairman of the Board of Directors, IAAPA; Hal McEvoy, President and CEO, IAAPA; and Jakob Wahl, Vice President and Executive Director, IAAPA EMEA; officially cutting the blue ribbon and declaring the trade show floor open.

Exhibitors and attendees filled two halls of the Fira Barcelona Gran Via, and together discussed critical business needs, discovered new products and services, and looked at solutions to entertain guests while meeting new guidelines and procedures that have evolved due to the global pandemic.

“The attractions industry truly is like a family,” shared Hal McEvoy, president and CEO, IAAPA, “To finally come back together – in person – means a great deal. We understand our members and the industry are still working through the ongoing impact of COVID-19, but we are confident the industry will emerge from these challenges stronger than ever. Our role is to help members and the global attractions industry push through, and IAAPA Expo Europe was an important step toward full recovery.”

The professionals in the business of fun also had fun during the Opening Reception at Tibidabo Amusement Park. One of the oldest parks in the world, the sold-out event was filled with food, rides, attractions, and conversation high above the Barcelona skyline.

“This week’s show demonstrates the strength of the attractions industry throughout the EMEA region, and the rest of the world,” continued McEvoy, “Exhibitors represented more than 43 countries around the world. International attendees came to meet with them and make serious buying decisions for their upcoming season and beyond.”

Plans for IAAPA Expo Europe 2022 are already underway. IAAPA Expo Europe 2022 will take place in London, United Kingdom 13-15 Sept. Advance exhibit sales are strong; more than 325 exhibitors have reserved 11,745sqm of contracted booth space.

This year’s IAAPA Expo Europe sponsors included: accesso, Brogent Technologies Inc., DOF Robotik San. A.S, Gateway Ticketing Systems, Interlink, Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), Leisure Development Partners LLP (LDP), Outdoor Factory, Panasonic Hollywood Lab, Polin Waterparks, ProSlide Technology, QubicaAMF, Sacoa Cashless System, Sally Dark Rides, Simworx Limited, TAIT USA LLC, The Coca-Cola Company, Valo Motion, Vekoma Rides Manufacturing B.V., Water Technology Inc. / Neuman Aqua and WhiteWater.

Quassy Amusement Park: new water coaster sections delivered

By | October 4, 2021

Quassy Amusement & Waterpark’s new water coaster will soon start taking shape as sections of the two-person raft ride, shown on shipping pallets, were delivered this week to the Middlebury, Conn., property. The state-of-the-art attraction will be located in Quassy’s Splash Away Bay waterpark and ready for the 2022 season, park officials said. In addition, Quassy has challenged regional elementary and middle schools to come up with a name for the marquee ride. The water coaster is being provided by ProSlide Technology, Inc., of Canada and will be the largest single investment in the park’s 114-year history. (Quassy photos, Rendering courtesy ProSlide Technology)

Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO and Executive Director, Kathleen O’leary, announces retirement

By | September 30, 2021

WEST ALLIS, Wis. — Kathleen O’Leary, CEO and Executive Director, has announced her retirement from state service after 24 years in various management roles at Wisconsin State Fair Park. O’Leary’s career spans nearly 35 years and includes public and private sector experience in marketing, sponsorship, communications, and operations in addition to serving as CEO.

O’Leary began her tenure at State Fair Park in sponsorship and moved quickly into overseeing marketing, sponsorship, and communications. She briefly served as Chief Operations Officer at State Fair Park before being appointed Interim CEO prior to the 2016 Wisconsin State Fair. In October of 2016, O’Leary was officially appointed the first female in the history of State Fair Park to serve as CEO and Executive Director.

“Words can’t describe how much I will miss leading the team at Wisconsin State Fair Park and bringing the joy of the Wisconsin State Fair to the people of our great state,” said O’Leary. “We have made great strides over the past several years, not just in terms of State Fair attendance, but also in overall guest experience at State Fair Park year- round. I am proud to have been instrumental in ensuring that several large infrastructure projects, including the new Central Mall area, were completed, and know that despite the challenges of the past 18 months, the future is bright at State Fair Park.”

The annual Wisconsin State Fair is considered one of the top 10 Fairs in the country and has garnered numerous industry awards in recent years under O’Leary’s leadership. Prior to the cancelation of the 2020 State Fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event welcomed more than one million guests for seven consecutive years.

In addition to the 11-day Wisconsin State Fair, State Fair Park is a year-round, 200-acre entertainment venue, hosting hundreds of events each year. O’Leary currently oversees a staff of more than 100 year-round employees, along with approximately 1500 part-time and seasonal employees leading up to and during the State Fair. Despite the effects of the pandemic, O’Leary leaves State Fair Park financially sound, with a legacy of focusing on the security and safety of all visitors. She was instrumental in implementing metal detection at all State Fair gates during her first year as CEO, and prior to the 2021 Wisconsin State Fair announced that State Fair Park received GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation. This program recognizes excellence in establishing and maintaining a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to minimize risks associated with infectious agents like the novel coronavirus.

State Fair Park Board Chair, John Yingling, will appoint an Interim CEO/Executive Director prior to O’Leary’s departure at the end of October. He will also appoint a special committee of current State Fair Park board members to conduct a search for O’Leary’s successor.

“On behalf of the entire State Fair Park Board, I want to thank Kathleen for her leadership and dedication, not only since she was appointed in 2016, but since she began at State Fair Park more than two decades ago,” said Yingling. “Kathleen is a master of marketing the Wisconsin State Fair. She was always finding creative and innovative ways to give our Fairgoers new and exciting experiences, even during the pandemic when she and the staff shifted their focus and created a Fair Food Drive-Thru that became the envy of the Fair industry. I firmly believe she is one of the main reasons the State Fair set an 11-day attendance record of 1,130,575 in 2019 and I know she will be greatly missed by the staff and board at State Fair Park.”

The Milwaukee Business Journal named O’Leary a Woman of Influence in 2017, a Power Broker 2018-2021 and an Executive to Watch in 2021. She holds a Certified Fair Executive (CFE) designation from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE) and has served on several committees and boards throughout her tenure at State Fair Park, including the Governor’s Council on Tourism Marketing Committee and the IAFE Board of Directors. She currently sits on the Visit Milwaukee and Wisconsin State Fair Park Foundation Boards of Directors and is an active member of Professional Dimensions and Tempo Milwaukee.

PeopleVisionFX debuts AnimatedReality at IAAPA Expo, booth 2849

By | September 30, 2021

ORLANDO — PeopleVisionFX will be exhibiting its newest special effect technologies at IAAPA Attractions Expo, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, November 16-19, booth 2849. The display will include the worldwide debut of the company’s new technique for AnimatedReality.

AnimatedReality allows for holographic elements that are fully integrated within real physical environments. Images can be produced in virtually any size to communicate any story — all without the need for any special headgear.

Utilizing the unique PhotonOpticon system for image projection, AnimatedReality creates novel experiences that captivate audiences and communicate information. The technique literally adds a new dimension to real environments.

AnimatedReality is a novel and natural addition to holographic imaging. It is specifically designed for face-to-face applications such as themed attractions, museums, trade shows and special events. The technology goes beyond the flat confines of conventional video to include almost unlimited information such as lighthearted animations, photos, and videos, all in actual 3D holographic space.

Wayne Sullivant, president of PeopleVisionFX says that the development of AnimatedReality was prompted by the need to communicate with an audience that can be unimpressed with traditional media. According to Sullivant, “AnimatedReality utilizes holographic images to attract an attentive audience and engage the audience in a fun, interactive involvement with any presentation.

AnimatedReality can attract an audience, communicate in a memorable way, and tell an innovative story through the use of an innovative technology.

Presentations featuring AnimatedReality can be modular and upwardly compatible, so that the design can be upgraded for future events and to incorporate new stories. The technology is compact, adaptable and reliable, with no moving parts.

PeopleVisionFX, of Roselle, N.J., produces and markets creative special effects for theme parks, museums and corporate exhibits. PeopleVisionFX technologies include a unique system for three-dimensional video projection. Products using this technique include the SpokesMannequin, an animated figure that accurately reproduces the voice, likeness and expressive nuances of a live presenter. In addition to the SpokesMannequin, other dimensional video products from PeopleVisionFX include the MagicBook, the Anatomical VideoSculpture and FollowTech effects. IAAPA Attractions Expo is the premier international exhibition for the amusement park and themed venue industries. The show will be held at the Orange County Convention Center and will include nearly 500,000 square feet of exhibits. More than 32,000 theme park professionals are expected to attend. The show is produced by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

Hologate celebrates grand opening of immersive entertainment venue Hologate World

By | September 30, 2021

MUNICH, Germany — HOLOGATE, the global market leader in immersive location-based entertainment opened the doors of their first state-of-the-art 1,200 m² extended reality entertainment franchise location, Hologate World Flair.

Located at the new and modernized 22,000 m² FLAIR Fürth urban experience center in Fürth, Germany, HOLOGATE WORLD was met with high praise by representatives of the press and enthusiastic first-time visitors, followed by their space being fully booked with a capacity crowd to round out the week.

HOLOGATE’s CEO and Founder, Leif Petersen, says, “HOLOGATE WORLD was an amazing accomplishment. We had only broken ground at the beginning of 2021 and tight COVID restrictions were still in place, so to see our grand opening happen less than a year later was a remarkable feat. This couldn’t have been done without the amazing efforts of Michael Peter, his P&P Group, and the entire HOLOGATE team.”

Petersen goes on to give further credit to his team.  “I am so proud of the HOLOGATE family. Every member of the team knew the tremendous and unwavering effort it would require from each of them and they all delivered!”

Petersen feels that Germany is primed for change and open to embrace progressive entertainment, gaming, virtual reality and esports as the future and one of the most important building blocks for retail environments.

Petersen adds, “HOLOGATE is here to demonstrate that social play, escapes from reality, and creating powerful long-lasting memories of good times with friends and family and always exceeding guest expectations is the key to stimulating this change.”

In addition to food, drink, and many of HOLOGATE’s successful VR experiences such as ‘ARENA’ and ‘BLITZ’HOLOGATE WORLD will be featuring two brand new products, HOLOGATE X, their next-gen free roaming VR adventure platform, and ‘HYPER GOLF’, their fusion of miniature golf and digital arcade experience. 

‘X’ and ‘HYPER GOLF’ will be available for global distribution later this year.

World’s tallest indoor coaster “Epiq” opens in Doha, Qatar

By | September 30, 2021

BALTIMORE, Md. — Quest theme park has announced the completion and soft opening of the much anticipated, highly-themed, dark ride, custom, multi-launch, special effects coaster Epiq. Quest theme park is locatedinside the Doha Oasis, a stunning luxurious mixed-use development in Qatar that includes a 5-star hotel and residences, a prestigious French fashion department store, cutting-edge cinema, and Qatar’s first indoor theme park. The signature attraction of the indoor experiential theme park quest, Epiq is the World’s Tallest Indoor Coaster which the Doha Oasis team plans to have certified by Guinness World Records.

Quest theme park is a 32,000 m² story-based concept with a three-dimensional timeline-the past, present, and future. Through the City of Imagination, Oryxville, and Gravity, guests can experience the recent cityscape, ancient Arabian past, and futuristic Space Age. Aptly located in Gravity, a state-of-the-art bright and bold future, themed as a sci-fi spaceport, Epiq is the world’s first launch coaster with a fully integrated projection mapping tunnel to truly immerse riders into the story.  Epiq offers riders an unparalleled augmented reality and coaster experience, complete with special effects, audio/visual & show lighting and nonstop thrills.  Riders are fully immersed in the story and are thrilled to test drive a “revolutionary solar-driven vessel” endorsed by Spike, a fun loving, space-faring hedgehog who loves exploring the far corners of the galaxy in his sleek interstellar spaceship while showing off his zero-G expertise with his solar-powered jetpack.

The exciting launch coaster features the world’s fastest reverse launch up an awe-inspiring, 60+ meter tall, twisted vertical spike, taking riders high above the park – all while maintaining the comfort of the air-conditioned indoor park. As riders drop back down, they are launched at a heart-racing speed as they enjoy their Epiq journey. During the soft opening, guests and employees alike have proclaimed Epiq to clearly be the signature attraction of the Doha Oasis experience.

Jim Seay, President of Premier Rides, commented, “We are extremely proud to have supplied this innovative and unique attraction to quest theme park at Doha Oasis.  We are honored to be a part of Halul Real Estate Investment Company’s formula for success by delivering this one-of-a-kind, record-breaking coaster that is sure to be a must-see attraction. Guest will be impressed by the sophisticated state-of-the-art technologies applied to this augmented reality attraction.” Seay continued, “Epiq was technically one of the most complex rides to design due to the architectural considerations such as the massive supports for the 27,000 square meter overhead roof garden.  Our technical team worked hard to ensure that the attraction was a perfect integration of dark ride and ultimate thrill ride.”

The Quest theme park is currently open Tuesday to Sunday, 3pm to 10pm during the soft opening period. The Park has a pay-one-price policy for all guests to enjoy all rides, attractions, and entertainment programs. The Park offers time portal, a “Fast Pass” ticket that allows you to skip long waiting lines by granting you fast access to select quest rides and attractions.

The Washington State Fair wraps up successful return

By | September 30, 2021

PUYALLUP, Wa. — The Washington State Fair welcomed nearly 816,000 guests back to the first traditional Fair in two years. We are proud to have led the way as the state reopened, in hosting Washington’s single largest event – and one of the first major events since the pandemic began.   

We worked hard over the past several months and throughout the 20-day Fair, to keep our staff, vendors and guests safe. During the run of Fair, 369 guests received COVID-19 vaccines at an on-site booth, in partnership with the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

While attendance was down 20 percent from the 2019 Washington State Fair, we broke financial records in many areas. This reflects our guests wanting to be back, to celebrate and make new memories. Providing joy and smiles, and supporting the positive mental health so many have needed, is why we do this. 

The Washington State Fair is one of the biggest fairs in the world, the largest in the Pacific Northwest and the largest single event in Washington. It started in 1900 in Puyallup, and welcomes more than a million guests to the single largest attended event in the state. Star-studded entertainment, the PRCA Rodeo, rides, exhibits, food, flowers and animals are mainstays of the 20-day event that kicks off the Friday of Labor Day weekend. For more information about future events, visit www.thefair.com.