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Summer’s Last Party

// New rides, concerts and Trekkies among attractions at Washington State Fair

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We're on the other side of Labor Day, which can only mean one thing: it's time to “do the Puyallup.” The Washington State Fair will present its usual cornucopia of concerts, carnival rides and cowboys from Friday, Sept. 11, to Sept. 27 at the Washington State Fair Event Center in Puyallup. This year's theme is “Party Big Washington,” and wandering the fairgrounds will be new mascot Big Washington, a furry giant reminiscent of Sasquatch. Major difference: He's real.

He won't be the only guy in costume, though. Tons of Trekkies are expected to beam down to Puyallup this month, many adorned in their best Spock and Sulu attire to celebrate one of the Fair's new displays. “Star Trek: The Exhibition” will present a collection of props and other artifacts commemorating the original 1960s TV series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and the more recent motion picture reboots, including a full-scale mock-up of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

There are also related events. Trekkies will meet up for a cosplay event that will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Washington State Fair's End Zone Sports Bar and for a costume parade that will depart from the Northwest Outdoors tent daily at noon. Taking part in the procession is free with Fair admission, but the exhibit requires a separate ticket, costing $6.50 to $8.

Joining familiar attractions like the Extreme Scream and the Zipper on the midway this year will be three new rides. Ten cars will spin at dizzying speed at the end of the rotating arm of the Italian-built Evolution. Rock Star is a guitar-shaped thrill-ride that whisks riders 55 feet above the midway before giving them the sensation of free-fall as they swoop back towards the ground. And the Phoenix will provide a family-friendly Ferris wheel experience in the kid-oriented SillyVille section of the Fair.

Food is always a big attraction at the Fair, where festival-goers will scarf down Krusty Pups, elephant ears and hot buttery scones – gluten-free diets be damned. But one new exhibit will have fair-goers contemplating how the midway's sweetest confections came to be.

“Sweet! A Tasty Journey” takes a nostalgic look at the history of candy and how it's made. And for grownups there's “the world's largest bar,” Beer Haven, featuring 60 taps serving the best in regional craft brew throughout the Fair's 17-day run.

Then there is a new slate of entertainment to thrill spectators at the 11,000-seat grandstand.

For more info, visit www.thefair.com

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