What’s in a name? For Yakima’s state fair, history and pride

Yakima Herald-RepublicFebruary 10, 2014 

Much to fancy as Puyallup Fair begins

A clown waves to the crowd during the Western Rodeo Parade, one of the kick-off events for opening day of the Puyallup Fair on Friday, September 10, 2010.


“Yakima! The most promising place in the new Northwest!” proclaimed a February 1885 advertisement in The Washington Farmer.

It prophesied a grandiose future for the Yakima Valley’s largest city, boasting it had the potential to be the state capital, home to a college and site of the state fairgrounds.

One hundred and twenty-nine years later, Yakima has been outpaced by plenty of large cities in the Pacific Northwest. The capital went to Olympia when Washington became a state in 1889; the college went to Ellensburg a year later; and Yakima’s fairgrounds lost its state sponsorship in 1936.

Now, a fair west of the Cascades is claiming the State Fair name for itself. That isn’t sitting well in some corners, and three legislators in Olympia are pushing for the reinstatement of the Yakima fair’s official state designation.


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