PUYALLUP, Wash. — One day away from opening, crews were prepping the fan favorites at the Washington State Fair on Thursday.
But the 119th year of the fair in Puyallup will look slightly different at the gates.
“We will be checking all bags this year,” Fair Spokesperson Stacy Van Horne said.
The fair used to check bags at random, but this year everyone has to get their bags checked. Also at the gates, some will be randomly screened with metal detection wands.
During some of the concerts, people can expect to walk through a metal detector this year.
Van Horne says those measures were already in the works even before the recent mass shootings.
“The one thing that has directly been tied to the incidents that has happened, we will have a police officer at every gate during our business hours,” Van Horne said.
Uniformed officers will be at each of the four gates.
The extra security may slow down lines just a little bit, but Van Horne says she hopes people will still come back for the largest fair in the smallest city in America.
“We think what keeps people coming back is the nostalgia,” Van Horne said.
Nostalgia is something Greg Murphy, owner of Murph’s BBQ, can tell you all about.
“In 50 years there was nothing down here except this barn,” Murphy said.
Greg’s father, the original Murph, started the BBQ spot at the fair 50 years ago from a food truck. Murphy says his father had the first known food truck in all of Washington state.
“Those people who have been here 50 years for me, I am going to be here 50 years for them,” Murphy said.
Since then a lot has changed over the years at the fair, especially the rides. This year a fan favorite the Extreme Scream is marking its 20th anniversary.
Going on the tallest structure in Puyallup is not for the faint of heart. And if you get on, get ready to scream.
Fairgrounds open on Friday at 10:30 a.m.