With a new management team in place, the historic King County Fair looks to be on the upswing.
A local nonprofit has taken hold of the entire Enumclaw Expo Center operation, a group that will handle the fair – the oldest west of the Mississippi.
For the past few years, the fair was operated by Universal Fairs, a Tennessee company.
Scott Gray, who runs the Expo Center operation, said this year’s fair guests can expect new attractions and more vendors. The fair may not match the huge crowds from the halcyon days of the operation, but the situation is improved from not too many years ago when the fair was on it’s death bed.
Gray said the number of food vendors has grown to more than a dozen, up from just three a year ago. The number of commercial vendors filling the Exhibition Hall and outdoor spaces has increased as well, he Gray said. And, for the first time, there will be two beer gardens on the grounds.
Among the other new attractions, Gray added, is a zip line that starts at 30 feet off the ground and runs 250 feet in length.
As part of a return to its rural roots, the King County Fair has reached out to the agricultural community, particularly youth. Gray said there should be plenty of livestock provided by local FFA and 4-H kids. New this year will be a petting zoo operated by members of the Enumclaw High FFA, plus antique tractors and a hydroplane display.
This year’s fair will span four days, July 16-19. General admission will be $7 at the gate, but $5 tickets will be sold in advance at 20 area Safeway stores. On the fair’s opening day, students from 6 to 18 years old will be admitted free when an adult buys a ticket (limit of two). Children younger than 5 will always be admitted free. Parking will cost $5.