Let’s face it: What’s not to love about the fair?
The bustling crowd, the fresh fall smell, the vibrant colors of the rides, and the opportunity to enjoy some first-class autumn fun provide the backdrop for this annual event.
But as you check your calendar, you realize that another year of the fair has come and gone. But don’t fret! You still have one day — today — to make this festive season complete. Here are just a few attractions that you can’t miss out on.
MIDWAY: Thrill-seekers will love this end of the fair. The rides provide heart-pounding fun.
The Giant Wheel is a classic favorite among fairgoers and has a great view of the Yakima Valley. For those who seek more fear, try the Ring of Fire. It suspends you upside down, then circles down toward the ground in a matter of seconds.
If you don’t like that kind of ride, opt for something less intense, like the Yo-Yo. This ride is like an enormous playground swing set, but it includes over 30 seats and spins in a circle around one post.
Don’t forget to check out the Super Shot Drop Tower. Slowly crawling up a 90-foot tall tower might send shivers down your spine, but when you drop, you’re sure to have a smile on your face.
If you are headed in the Midway direction, be sure to look out for the latest additions to the ride collection: Star Trooper and Vertigo. Star Trooper is a terrifying but exhilarating experience that will leave you shaking in your bones but craving more of its crazy fast spinning. Vertigo, another recently added ride, combines two other rides in a perfect blend of thrill and excitement. Think the Super Shot Drop and the Yo-Yo mashed together.
ANIMALS: Located on the southern end of the fair, animals are a popular attraction for all ages. The barns are a great place to learn cool facts about livestock and 4-H competitions.
The majestic horses are great beauties with dedicated owners. Goats are certainly bleating, boastful and playful bundles of fun. And let’s not forgot our larger farm friends, the cows.
If the barns are a bit “been there, done that,” try something a little bit on the wild side. A Walk on the Wild Side is an exotic animal rescue establishment. It features exciting species like tigers, black leopards, wallabies and other fascinating animals from all parts of the world. While you’re there, you can also pay to get your picture taken with a baby lion or other adorable baby animals.
TOYTOPIA: The name says it all. The moment you enter Pioneer Hall, you are thrust into a world that revolves around the novelty trinkets and knickknacks that entertained us as children. It is a room full of lively colors, animated images and echoes of your childhood. This attraction features the history of many well-loved toys, such as Lincoln Logs, Barbie, G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head and Monopoly.
Other highlights of the exhibit include a life-size Monopoly car and doll house as well as a huge Optimus Prime statue outside the building. Toytopia is an entertaining, exciting, and educational experience not to be forgotten. This attraction is a fun place for the whole family and will not disappoint you.
A GRICULTURAL CENTER: Don’t let the less-than-thrilling name drive you away. The entire structure is dedicated to the extraordinary produce and artwork made by people living in Yakima County.
The bottom floor contains as many crops as a supermarket. And these are not just any fruits and veggies. No, we’re talking about 8-foot tall sunflowers, 10-plus pound zucchinis and various other great super foods.
To top it off, the upstairs is jam-packed with drawings, paintings and photographs created by the skill of talented locals. If you haven’t been here yet, don’t skip it. It is truly amazing to see what people in the Valley are capable of doing.
• Hannah McFadden is a freshman at Eisenhower High School and a member of Yakima Herald-Republic’s Unleashed journalism program for high school students.