The Northwest Washington Fair

In a town called Lynden, just a short drive from Bellingham, Washington, you’ll see lots of people sitting on their lawns offering you a parking spot for $5. That’s because, in the middle of August, it’s time for the Northwest Washington Fair, a celebration of community, agriculture, and rides that make you want to throw up.

Craig couldn’t contain his glee when he shepherded us newbies to the fair on the Tuesday before we left for Eliza. He, along with his sister Kristin and his brother Eric, had been going to the fair since as far back as they could remember. Now Mark, Diana and I would get to experience the magic ourselves.

First up: collections. I’d long heard stories about Craig showing off his collections at the Northwest Washington Fair during his childhood. His collection of Creepers (rubbery creatures that he and his friend Joe put together) caused a scandal in the local paper when someone asked if creepers constituted a valid collection. Judging from the collections we saw upon walking into the fair (including someone’s “Home Improvement” DVD collection), I’d say Craig had a strong claim for collection worthiness. My favorite collections on display were this Platypus collection:


And the Land of Misfit Socks.


On our way out of collections, I spied a booth selling something called Poffertjes.


Turns out these are puffy doughnut-like pancakes cooked in a special pan:



Sprinkled with powdered sugar, they’re a perfect pick-me-up for conquering the fair.


That’s buttercream piped in on the side. So, basically, doughnut pancakes with buttery icing. One bite in and I was hooked.

Now let’s see some farm animals!

Here’s a cow’s backside.


And a cow from the side.


Some cow facts.


Back outside, the Teens for Christ are selling Cheesecake on a Stick.


For some reason this makes me think of “The Golden Girls” doing a production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” My casting: Dorothy as Jesus, Blanche as Judas, Rose as Mary Magdalene and Sofia as Pontius Pilate.

Hey, there’s Kristin and Eric at the Tea Party booth:


And then we spied this:


Mark’s had a hankering for a big turkey leg every since he didn’t get one at Disneyland. At the Northwest Washington Fair, his dreams finally came true.


Here’s that turkey leg close up.


Everyone who took a bite enjoyed it (though I found my bite too salty) and a conversation ensued about why more restaurants don’t serve big turkey legs as an entree. It’s a good question.

Now, more animals.

A boy resting on a horse.


Kids walking their…kids…in a goat competition.


A pig:


More pigs:


We asked about the scratches and apparently the pigs scratch each other pretty violently (one looked like it’d been sent through a thrashing machine). We watched one pig forbid his stallmate from getting any food. I felt one drop less guilty about that morning’s bacon.

But, still, they’re pretty cute.


For a second, I started to worry there might’ve been L.S.D. in that turkey leg:


But then a Justin Bieber llama told me everything was going to be O.K.


Outside, we saw updated versions of medieval torture devices and the terrorized people forced to endure them.


Then, in the art barn, a sadistic painting of a horse eating a little girl’s hand:


But the highlight of the whole fair, for me, was the Floral and Agriculture section.


Look at these lovely dahlias.


Vegetables grown by children.


Food art.


And then, the serious stuff, pies in competition.


I find it a great travesty that these pies were all locked away, only to look at, never to be eaten by the likes of me. Same for these cookies:


Here’s the canning section:


I loved how specific each competition was. For example, the pickled beet competition:


What makes Vicki Lewis’s pickled beets better than Michelle Lewis’s? Is it a mere coincidence that they have the same last name? Or are they related? If they’re related, has this competition caused a rift between them? Are they in counseling? Did one of them cut the other out of their will? So many questions, so many beets to pickle.

I think the dried lemon balm got robbed here (dried lavender just smells like soap):


But this cake deserves its 1st place prize:


At the end of the Agriculture collection, we saw some bees:


And took a quiz based on powders in bags:


I knew the couscous right away. Baking powder was tougher. Dried mashed potatoes, forget about it.

And so we ended our time at the Northwest Washington Fair. It was charming and delightful, even if it’s ruined the Lewis family forever.

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