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Originally published Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 12:06 AM

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What was wrong with ‘Puyallup Fair’?

The Wrap by Ron Judd


Seattle Times staff columnist

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Say wha? The Washington State Fair, file this under brilliant marketing moves, maybe next to the New Coke. MORE
The new Fair marketing "experts" over-thinking things. It's a shame. Trying to gentrify Puyallup is like trying to... MORE
I don't see anything wrong with calling something by a name you grew up with and have used for generations. If I refer... MORE

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As we have discussed in this space before, words matter, and they’re particularly important when it comes to names.

Which makes it impossible for Mr. Wrap not to ask: What were you people down in Puyallup (pronounced: “Tokitae”) smoking when you saw fit to change the name of the town’s most-notable claim to fame to the spectacularly forgettable “Washington State Fair?”

The “Puyallup Fair” had charisma, character and history on its side — strikes one, two and three to geniuses on the fair board, apparently. The “Washington State Fair,” conversely, is — exactly as predicted — being confused at this very moment, by untold tens of thousands, with the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe.

How do you know when your name change is a certifiable major fail? When fair promoters drop off boxes of fresh Fisher Scones at local radio and TV stations, and the talking heads share on the air their confusion over whether they came from Snohomish County, or Pierce.

What’s a local fair lover to do? Vote with your feet and go to the Monroe fair, which is better anyway, and runs through Monday. It’s always good to support people exhibiting the increasingly rare talent of being comfortable in their own skin. Even if it’s deep-fried.

More piano-playing chicken news:

It Could Be Worse: If the state ferry system was in charge of these festivities, people heading to Monroe would be looking for the Washington State Fair at Coupeville.

Speaking of Brilliant: Mr. Wrap is so proud of the brain trust at the U-Dub for solving two of the most-pressing problems at Montlake — the heart-rending dearth of cash in athletic department coffers, and the notable scarcity of drunken, staggering fans inside Husky Stadium — with a single bold stroke: a new plan to sell booze at football games.

Tip O’ the Cap: To Hizonner Ed Murray, for taking a leadership role by questioning, in the wake of the death of zoo elephant Watoto, the long-term logic of confining her surviving cell mates at the once-popular Woodland Park Zoo.

Blooming Idiots: Lots of social media chortling last week about that printing goof up that put blooming cherry trees from the U-Dub campus on a student planner handout distributed over at Wazzu. In all fairness, the manufacturer should even things out next year by putting out a UW version festooned with photos of a tumbleweed and milk cows.

Taking a Hard Left: Millions of Fraser River-bound sockeye, turned off by a “warm blob” of ocean water off the coast of Washington are believed to be returning to their natal stream to the north, through British Columbia’s Johnstone Strait, rather than through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands. Perhaps they prefer not to swim past the natural toilet that is Victoria, B.C.

Speaking of Mouth-Breathing Lane Campers: What do you call an insurance-company’s recent ranking of Seattle drivers as 173rd best among 200 U.S. cities? Charity, baby.

And Finally: Thursday’s final Seahawks preseason game might have been painful to watch, but it will be remembered for shoving together, for the first time in the history of the English language, the following words seen across a broad range of social media: “Switching now to the Wazzu/Rutgers game.”

Ron Judd’s column appears each Sunday. Reach him at rjudd@seattletimes.com or 206-464-8280.



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