The carnival rides at the King County Fair are always a hit. Photo by Joshua Solorzano

The carnival rides at the King County Fair are always a hit. Photo by Joshua Solorzano

King County Fair in Enumclaw is back and looking to grow

The oldest fair west of the Mississippi is open for business July 11-14 at the Enumclaw Expo Center

What does this year’s King County Fair not have?

From July 11-14, the oldest fair on the West Coast will be held at the Enumclaw Expo Center with rodeos and mutton bustin’, live music performances, carnival rides and so much more.

“We say we are in the business of educating and creating memory making experiences,” said Rene Popke, the fair’s chief executive and general manager. “So many fair goers have deep roots in this fair growing up and we hope to continue the good-old fashion fair fun that is part of the legacy moving forward. There is just something about a small-town fair, fair food and fun with family and friends that is worth coming out for.”

In 1863, when Abraham Lincoln was the president and Alfred Nobel was inventing dynamite, the first ever King County Fair was held in the Georgetown area just south of Seattle. The King County Fair moved from Georgetown to Renton in 1900 but has stayed in Enumclaw since the end of World War II.

This foundation makes the King County Fair the oldest county fair in America west of the Mississippi.

Originating as a simple celebration of local agriculture, the fair has maintained this legacy while blossoming into so much more.

In addition to continuing the agricultural history, education of the youth on agricultural topics remains a top priority. The fair fully embraced 4-H and FFA, non-profits organizations with the goal of teaching the youth and supporting the agricultural industry.

The fair will host specialty events just for 4H youth members, including a dairy goat clinic, a cat show, archery, and events with llamas.

“Agriculture is the cornerstone of the fair! It’s important for our youth, 4H, FFA and Open Class kids to raise awareness about their livestock and to keep the foundation of the fair alive!” Popke wrote. “You will find that the skills and work ethic these youth build through the process of raising, caring for, and showing their animals is so rewarding to our community.”

The culmination of the continued legacy of agriculture and youth education is the King County Junior Livestock Sale.

“One of our main events in the covered arena is the King County Junior Livestock Sale,” Popke said. “This is really what the fair is all about. Our local youth, and their livestock.”

The fair’s attendance numbers have been rising since 33,000 people came in 2019 and Assistant fair manager Jaclyn VanHoof expects that to continue to increase.

“Last year our gates welcomed just over 50,000 fair guests,” VanHoof said. “We are hoping to hit that number again this year with a goal of growing to the 60,000 mark.”

General admission tickets are $10 but this year’s fair also provides special celebration discount days throughout the week.

On Thursday, July 11, all seniors (60+) will be able to get in for one dollar; on Friday, July 12, all police, fire and healthcare workers get in for free; and on Sunday, July 14, admission is free to all active, reserve and retired military and National Guard.

Parking will cost $8 for a single day pass, and $24 for a 4-day pass

For a comprehensive schedule go to—schedule. In addition to the daily attractions, there will be ground acts running every day. These events include Tractor Pull, Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show, Barnyard Racers, Jet City FMX Stunt Dirt Bike Riders, Canine Stars, Reptile Isle, The Kid’s Wild West, Mutton Bustin’, and Kids Corral Stage.

Popke also highlighted special cannot miss events. These include the opening ceremony on the main stage on Friday at noon, the Rough Rodeo Stock on Saturday night at 6 p.m. (limited tickets available), Cowboy Church Sunday morning at 9 a.m., and the King County Junior Livestock Sale, combining the core aspects of the fair, local youth and agricultural tradition, starting on Sunday at 12 p.m.

Make sure to check out the Roughstock Rodeo and the Rodeo Clown Bull Fighting competition on July 13, starting at 6 p.m. Photo by Vic Wright

Make sure to check out the Roughstock Rodeo and the Rodeo Clown Bull Fighting competition on July 13, starting at 6 p.m. Photo by Vic Wright

Thursday, July 12

10:30 Open Class Shows: Goats, Sheep, Poultry

11:00 Open Class Rabbit Show

12:00 Dog Judging Contest

12:00 Mainstage: Opening Ceremony

12:30 Mainstage: Whiskey Creek

3:00 Mainstage: Dance It Up

3:30 Mainstage: Five Mile Drive

3:30: Horse Running Events

4:00 4-H Archery

6:00 Mainstage: Sammy Steele & The Spades

Friday, July 12

10:00 Hogs, Horse Running Events

10:30 4-H Junior Dog Obedience, 4-H Dairy Goat Clinic,

11:00 Mainstage: Kaitie Wade and Band

12:30 Demos: Acrylic Painting

2:00 Llamas

2:30 4-H Senior Dog Obedience

3:00 Mainstage: Chance McKinney

3:30 Horse Running Events

5:30 Mainstage: Dance It Up

7:00 Mainstage: Saltwater Sky

Saturday, July 13

9:00: 4-H Goats

10:00 Livestock Judging, Horse Running Events

10:30 Novice Dog Showmanship

11:00 Mainstage: Buddy, Ritche & The Bopper

12:30 Demos: Jewelry Making

3:00 4-H Cat Show

4:00 Mainstage: Santa Poco

6:00 Mainstage: Boot Boogie Babes

6:00 Rough Stock Rodeo (Limited Tickets Available)

7:00 Mainstage: Joel Gibson Jr.

Sunday, July 14

9:00 Mainstage: Cowboy Church

10:00 Barrel Race (Rodeo Arena)

10:30 Mainstage: Andy Burnett

11:00 Kick the Dust Up-Barrel Race, Dog Costume Contest

12:00 King County Junior Livestock Show

12:00 4-H Cat Costume Contest

12:30 Demos: Quilting Hand Applique

1:00 Mainstage: Wally & The Beaves

4:00 Mainstage: Kevin Jones & Band

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The carnival rides at the King County Fair are always a hit. Photo by Joshua Solorzano

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