Thousands flocked to the Puyallup Fairgrounds last weekend for the 25th annual Spring Fair. The spring event is kind of like the younger sibling of the grand Washington State Fair at the end of the summer — all the same things, just less of them.

As expected, fair animals, rides and food were the main attractions.

Though sporting a new name this year, the Washington State Fair boasts some of the same staple foods it has for more than 100 years. Scones are an excellent choice for fairgoers looking for a tasty treat that won’t ruin their diet — at least not as badly as the deep-fried butter. Photo by Leah Traxel.
Though sporting a new name this year, the Washington State Fair boasts some of the same staple foods it has for more than 100 years. Scones are an excellent choice for fairgoers looking for a tasty treat that won’t ruin their diet — at least not as badly as the deep-fried butter. Photo by Leah Traxel.

While the fair’s activities and attractions are smaller in number, it draws a hefty crowd. In 2010, the fair reported more than 126,000 attendees.

While some might waffle on whether the rides are worth it or be unsure about looking at the animals, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy fair food.  In honor of the fair’s end, here’s a list of the good, the bad and the ugly of fair food options.

The Good: elephant ears

No, they aren’t actually the ears of elephants, but they look like them. These delicious crepe-like cakes are fried, doused in butter and then slathered with your choice of cinnamon sugar or raspberry jam.

At $6.75 each, these aren’t the cheapest option at the fair, but they’re the most delicious, and one can feed two to three people depending on your appetite.

I’ve never seen these offered anywhere else, so it’s definitely something to take advantage of during fair season.

BONUS Good: scones

This fair staple has been at the Puyallup Fairgrounds for more than 100 years. Fisher, the Seattle-based manufacturer, boasts it uses the same recipe today it used when it started operations in 1910.

Hot and covered in jam, these things are a must — and a fair price too at $1.50 each. If you get the craving for them outside of the fair, you can usually find the scone mix at the grocery store. Cash & Carry also has a 50 lb. package of the mix — for heftier appetites.

The Bad: fair burgers

The only claim to fame a fair burger has is that it’s usually covered in grilled onions. Other than that, it’s nothing special.

At more than $5 a pop, you’re better off stopping at a McDonald’s on your way home than springing for a burger and a drink.

Because burger joints in the fair get so busy, more often than not your burger was made before you ordered it and has been sitting under a heat lamp for a while — not a recipe for the greatest burger ever.

For fair attendees less concerned about being heart-healthy and just looking to indulge, curly fries covered in nacho cheese are a tasty treat. Photo by Leah Traxel.
For fair attendees less concerned about being heart-healthy and just looking to indulge, curly fries covered in nacho cheese are a tasty treat. Photo by Leah Traxel.

The Ugly: cheesy fries

Fries and cheese, what’s not to love? Well, you probably won’t love the heart attack you’re giving yourself with the combination of nacho cheese and salty fries.

Not to mention the cheese itself starts to take on an orange tint the longer it sits on the fries, which is not exactly appetizing.

I’d be lying if I said I’d never had them, but I’ll concede 100 percent they don’t look good at all.

BONUS Ugly: fried butter

At this point, they’re just trying to be ridiculous.

Fire destroys building after fair

This fair also received some unintended attention when a two-alarm fire broke out in one of the barns Sunday night after the fair closed.

A hot water tank inside a nearby Krusty Pup food stand caught fire. Employees called 911 after they were unable to douse the flames with fire extinguishers.

Of the 50 animals inside the barn, firefighters and fair workers were able to rescue 49. According to reports, one piglet died as a result.

Evergreen Hall, which housed the petting zoo and other 4-H exhibits, was gutted by the flames. The building was a complete loss. Fair officials said the fair will still open as planned next fall, though some of the exhibits may need to be housed in tents.

Compiled from reports in The Tacoma News Tribune.

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