Olympia’s Lakefair-goers go along for the ride(s)

Riders go upside down on the El Nino thrill ride during Funtastic Carnival's unlimited-ride wristband day at the Capital Lakefair in Olympia on Thursday.
Riders go upside down on the El Nino thrill ride during Funtastic Carnival's unlimited-ride wristband day at the Capital Lakefair in Olympia on Thursday. Staff photographer

Capital Lakefair kicked off its Fabulous Family Fun theme this week at Heritage Park.

Several hundred people turned out Wednesday to ride the rides and eat the fair food, but hundreds more attended for Wristband Day on Thursday — when a $35 wristband meant unlimited rides from noon to 11 p.m. That’s much thriftier than paying the usual ticket price for rides on any other day of the week.

By 11 a.m. Thursday, approximately 100 people already were waiting in line at the ticket booth to purchase wristbands.

The front of the line spot was occupied by Olympia residents, and siblings, Mysy and Zak Smith. The pair arrived at 7 a.m. and got in line at 9 a.m. to beat the rush.

Mysy said she’s been to every Lakefair Wristband Day for 12 years now.

“It’s fun,” she said.

Her brother added, “I’m here to hang out with my friends and get away from the house.”

Both said they would recommend the affordable wristband option for anyone.

Further back in the line, Alissa Adams, who just moved to the area, stood with her four kids.

Adams can remember riding the rides as a small child, and she said her own kids were excited to do the same.

“Hopefully we won’t have to wait in the lines too long,” she said. “The kids like the rides, and I have a lot of kids so this way is just cheaper.”

The approximately 20 rides at the fair include options from tame to intense. It’s easy to find rides for kids, or rides for experienced thrill-seekers. Throughout the day, long lines stretched out for every ride: the Ferris wheel, the “Vertigo” swing ride, the Tornado, the hang glider ride, the “ring of fire” – you name it.

The carnival continues to run Friday and Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to midnight.

The Lakefair Car Show is at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Kids’ Day takes place from noon to 4 p.m. in Sylvester Park on Saturday, just before the Lakefair Grand Parade at 5 p.m. Lakefair concludes with the Grand Finale Fireworks show over Capitol Lake Sunday night at dark.

Full schedule of Lakefair events can be found at lakefair.org.


Many of the young at heart believe the best part of Lakefair is the carnival. Olympian reporting intern Natalie DeFord did her own investigation into this year’s ride offerings, and here are her Top 3 rided:

1. Ferris Wheel – A classic and perfect for all ages. The stellar view from the top looks over Capitol Lake and downtown Olympia.

2. Vertigo – Not for those afraid of heights or who suffer from motion sickness, but the view and flying sensation from the swings is incredible.

3. Hang gliders – An easier version of the swings that still sends you gliding through the air, but not so high up. Very fun.

Headed to the carnival? Tell us your favorite ride. Tweet your Lakefair photos to @TheOlympian and @NatalieDeFord.

Video Online

Visit theolympian.com to see footage of Natalie riding Lakefair’s Vertigo swings.