There will be activities about returning to the King County Fair this year, plus a few new attractions as well. Photo by Kevin Hanson

There will be activities about returning to the King County Fair this year, plus a few new attractions as well. Photo by Kevin Hanson

King County Fair begins four-day run; Saturday brings handcars, parade to Wilkeson

The longest-running county fair west of the Mississippi River is back with some old favorites and new attractions.

Boasting everything fairgoers have come to expect through the years, the King County Fair is prepared to kick off this year’s four-day adventure.

The fair, staged on the grounds of the Enumclaw Expo Center, will run Thursday through Sunday.

The fair’s story is told every year but remains historically relevant: it’s the longest-running county fair west of the Mississippi River, having made it’s debut 156 years ago when Abraham Lincoln strolled the halls of the White House.

While the fair holds true to its roots, emphasizing the region’s agricultural heritage and rural charm, organizers are also boasting new exhibits to attract young and old alike.

Attractions include fair traditions like carnival rides and midway games, 4-H livestock shows and a hall filled with commercial vendors. There’s also live music and, as always, a wide assortment of fair food.

This year, the kids’ area has been expanded to include a geocache hunt, using phones and their GPS features to locate 19 total posters around the fair; find them all, like them on Facebook and return to a fair info booth for a prize.

Saturday’s anchor event will be a large jackpot barrel race in the Expo Center arena.

Among the returning favorites will be hypnotist Jerry Harris, the entertaining Professor Bamboozle, Cook’s Racing Pigs and motorcycle stunt rider Robert Haslam. Making a second appearance will be the Wenatchee Youth Circus and fair guests will remember attractions like the Pirates of the Plateau and the legendary longhorn cattle.

Live entertainment will be plentiful near the outdoor food court and beer garden and, each day, headline performers will take to the main stage.

The fair will open at 10 a.m. all four days; closing time will be 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $10 per person, which includes all shows and concerts; children 5 and younger are free. Additionally, those with military identification get in for $7 and anyone 65 and older can enter for $1 between 10 a.m. and noon. Pre-sale tickets for $7 are sold at participating Safeway stores. There’s a $5 fee to park.

Ride tickets and wristbands are sold separately.

For more information, visit www.kingcofair.com or call 360-226-3493.

BIG DAY FOR WILKESON

Saturday will bring the highlight of Wilkeson’s summer, the annual handcar races and all that go with them.

Included again this time around are a parade, tug-o-war, handcar races and more.

With 43 years of racing, the Wilkeson Booster Club is hoping for a big turnout. A renewed interest from tourists has noticeably grown.

“We hope to increase the fun for public participating in this unique event,” said Amy Barber, Booster Club president. “It’s our region’s legacy and very few handcar races exist in the United States today.”

Things will get rolling with an old-fashioned downtown parade at 11 a.m. The parade is free to enter with first-place trophies in nine categories. Youth are encouraged to join in and there will be participation ribbons for all. The day continues with an all-day vendor’s market, music by The W Lovers, food, free children’s activities and a tug-o-war contest, along with the traditional handcar races.

The Eagles Club sponsors the event beer garden and will host an evening dance.

New this year will be the handcar race fees of $5 per person, per entry. Winners will receive first-place trophies and there will be awards for second and third place. Handcar teams are made up of three or five people who compete against the time clock at Wilkeson’s historic Coke Oven Park.

Merchants are encouraged to enter a six-person team to win the coveted traveling trophy that can be displayed in their business.

The historic coal mining town is just five miles from Buckley on state Route 165.

For more, email wilkesonboosterclub@yahoo.com.

Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Photo by Ray Miller-Still

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