After missing a year due to the pandemic, the concerts, animals, races, carnival rides, games, and food that provide a great finale to the summer are back.
The Evergreen State Fair in Monroe is returning after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fair, with the theme “Back in the Saddle Again – Open for Fun in 2021,” takes place Aug. 26-31 and Sept. 2-6, with the venue being closed Sept. 1.
“We are excited to be opening the gates again,” said Amy Craven, marketing specialist at the Evergreen State Fair Park. The pandemic prompted officials to cancel the fair in 2020. “It was definitely missed last year.”
There will be several changes to the fair. Instead of 12 days, the fair will be open for 11 in 2021. The fair will be closed Sept. 1 to allow for cleaning and sanitizing and to give staff and volunteers a much-needed break.
“We’re not immune from the staffing shortage that has been happening locally and nationally,” Craven said.
Capacity will be limited to help maintain health and safety guidelines. Craven encouraged fairgoers to visit during weekdays.
The rodeo, petting zoo and pony rides have been canceled, too.
Fairgoers will have a chance to see the sheep, rabbits, goats, horses, dairy cows, dogs and other animals raised by youth active in 4-H.
“It’s a great opportunity to check in with the kids. They are very knowledgeable about their animals,” Craven said.
The 4-H Club Midnight Riders, which includes riders from Snohomish and King counties, will have six members showing their horses during the fair, Midnight Rider leader R-A Mazzola said.
“It’s one of the largest in the U.S. in terms of 4-H,” Mazzola said of the equestrians in Snohomish County, adding the county’s program is larger than some states' horse programs.
He complimented the group's teen leadership in keeping the group together during the lockdown. They organized virtual scavenger hunts, movie nights via Zoom and raised money to help people affected by wildfires.
“They did a fantastic job keeping everything going,” Mazzola said.
The equestrians had to qualify to show at the Evergreen State Fair and they will select which classes to participate. The young equestrians from elementary-school age through high school will participate in classes throughout the fair, Mazzola said. He mentioned the costume class Saturday afternoon where riders and their horses are dressed in some sort of costume, is always popular.
He said the youth are excited about the fair after believing the fair might not happen this year. “Their excitement is definitely building,” Mazzola said.
In addition to the 4-H youth showing their animals, the Mt. Baker Clydesdales are scheduled to perform during the first half of the Evergreen State Fair.
Coming from Lynden, nine of the heavy horses will be performing and competing against each other during the fair.
“We’ve been showing at the Evergreen State Fair for 35 years,” owner Robert Hamstra said.
The Mt. Baker Clydesdales is a family affair with the Hamstra family taking care of the horses for 40 years. His son and two daughters are also involved with the Clydesdales.
“It’s kind of nice to see the family involved after 40 years,” Hamstra said.
Also new to the fair for 2021 is the goat playground, which is a penned area with rocks, tunnels, and logs where goats can climb.
“People can watch goats be goats,” Craven said.
There is a full schedule of musical performers this year on the fair’s Courtyard stage that includes Eric Haines, Blue Mariah Band, Minimum Wage Band and Dan Canyon Band.
The fair’s grandstand has four performers scheduled this year including Chris Janson, Foghat, Zach Williams, and Flor de Toloache.
Of course, there are the carnival rides and foods, and the monster trucks, demo derby and races at the speedway.
The Evergreen State Fair is allowing advanced ticket purchases, e-ticketing, building capacity message boards and more to make sure the fair is safe and fun.
“Everyone looks forward to the Evergreen State Fair, and after the cancellation in 2020, we couldn’t be happier to see this important community event come back,” Snohomish County Council Chair Stephanie Wright said in a press release. “With proper health and safety guidelines, it will be a fun, festive, and safe fair.”
With COVID-19 information frequently changing, guidelines and recommendations concerning fairs could also change. Stay connected through the fair’s website, www.evergreenfair.org, social media or newsletters.