Monday, September 14, 2015

A Fair Day

Last Friday the Seattle Urban Sketchers planned to meet at the State Fair in Puyallup, and so Tina and I decided to go.  We knew we had too late a start to make the beginning of the sketch outing, but hoped to make the end meet-and-share bit.  Alas, this was not to be!

In the horse barn

We left Seattle at 10:00am.  Admission was FREE with a food item donation until noon.  Plenty of time, right?  It's only what -- 40 miles to Puyallup?  No problem!  Ha.

Inside the poultry barn

We did indeed reach Puyallup in about an hour, and found the Fairgrounds.  Then we tried to find a place to park...oh, my.  There were, apparently, about five million other people doing the same thing, as we slowed to a crawl, passing one LOT FULL sign after another.

Curly bird!

"There are plenty of fairground parking lots," Tina said, "really big ones -- surely they can't ALL be full?"

Turns out they could!

Fancy chickens

We spent nearly an hour crawling past the fairgrounds, and past one LOT FULL sign after another, and past private homes with lawns full of cars and "parking - $10!" signs.  As it crept closer and closer to noon, we had visions of our free admission dwindling away.  Since regular admission was $12.50 each, this was not a happy thought.

The Fairgrounds

We passed the final full lot, and were at a loss what to do, so we randomly turned down a residential street desperate for street parking -- and were greeted immediately by a guy waving us to a private parking space, for which he charged us a mere $5 -- whew!  Not only that, we were a mere two blocks or so from the nearest gate.  It was 11:55am.  We ran.

Llama and Alpaca

We arrived at the gate with our food bank donations in hand with three minutes to spare.  FREE admission!  Whoo hoo!  Boy howdy, were we happy about that.  Alas, we were at the exact opposite gate from where the sketch group planned to gather at 12:30, and we had nary a sketch in hand, and so we gave up on that plan.

Really big horns

So instead we wandered around the fair, focusing mainly on the animal barns, which were very fine indeed.  It was 83 degrees outside, and we also had a good time in the hobby barn, which had air conditioning.  We were underwhelmed by the arts and crafts, and somehow missed the agricultural building.  Oh, well.  

The food was as expected, though.

I wonder what they sell here? 

Oddly, there were no people in line here...

Neither of us goes on rides, so we had to admire them from afar while listening to the screams of joy coming from them.  At least, I assume they were screams of joy....

Neither of us had ever been to the State Fair before -- my only comparisons were to the county fair in the Tri-Cities (much smaller) and to the Minnesota State Fair (INTENSELY HUGER).  All in all, it was a good time, though a bit too hot.

In addition to being too hot, it was also too crowded and chaotic to do much sketching.  I tried to get a couple of quick drawings done in the animal barns -- these took no more than a couple of minutes.

And then we tried to go home...getting out of Puyallup was easy -- but a four-car collision on I-5 slowed us to a crawl again for many miles, and the forty-mile drive back wound up taking another two hours.  We adopted an "oh, well, could be worse" approach, and had a nice time chatting about art, life, the universe, and everything.

Not necessarily something we'd do again, but we're glad we did it at least once!


  1. Except for the hassle in getting there on time, it looks like tons of fun. It appears to be the cleanest fair of all time. The poultry barn was quite impressive. You gave us a nice overview with all the great photos. I just might have to go someday!

  2. I really like those sketches; sometimes being in a hurry must be the right thing.


    1. Thanks! It was so crowded in the horse barn that I didn't realize the horse's owner was standing behind me the whole time. She loved it, and took a photo. Yay!

  3. I never go near the parking lots at the Minnesota State Fair after one comparable experience. I don't know if your fair has park-and-ride lots, but if it does, I recommend them -- it makes for a much less stressful fair.

    1. It has shuttles from the train/bus station -- but it takes just as long. One of the sketch group members lives near me, and she took the bus to downtown Seattle, and then the train to Puyallup, and then the shuttle to the fair -- and it also took her two hours each way. I'm sure there's an easier way though. I just need to figure out what that is!

  4. I love your sketches, always do, wish sometimes I didn't live in the southern hemi for then I could see your sketches in person...