Washington State Fair Tickets on Sale Now! 

The Washington State Fair starts in just five weeks! Tickets are now available to purchase. Get early bird deals online, through Aug. 26 on gate admission (including season passes), rides (including unlimited Dizzy Pass bracelets – a guest favorite!) and exhibits.

All of the Columbia Bank Concert tickets are also on sale, with huge headliners this year including Blake Shelton, Seattle’s own Ann Wilson of Heart, Nelly, Dierks Bentley, Shaggy & TLC, The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and more!

Lots of Fair favorites return this year, and new food will be added into the mix. The Puyallup Rodeo will award an unprecedented $1 million purse!

More fun info and updates will be sent as we get close to opening the gates!

For more info and to purchase, visit thefair.com.

The Washington State Fair is one of the biggest fairs in the world, and the largest in the Pacific Northwest. It started in 1900 in Puyallup, and welcomes more than a million guests to the single largest attended event in the state. Star-studded entertainment, the Puyallup Rodeo, rides, exhibits, food, flowers and animals are mainstays of the 20-day event that kicks off the Friday of Labor Day weekend. For more information about the Sept. 2-25, 2022 Washington State Fair (closed Tuesdays and Sept. 7), visit thefair.com.

With Humor and Pathos, This Flat Earth

Harlequin Productions in Olympia presents This Flat Earth by Lindsey Ferrentino, August 26 – September 17 at the State Theater. Artistic Director Aaron Lamb will direct. The play depicts the aftermath of a school shooting, as experienced by two students who witnessed it. Harlequin Productions is a participating theater with #Enough: Plays to End Gun Violence, and two student matinees are open for this production, where educational material provided by #Enough will be available.

At a middle school in a seaside town, the unthinkable has happened, placing a bewildered community in the national spotlight. Stuck at home in a state of shocked limbo, Julie and Zander, two thirteen-year-olds, try to make sense of the chaos they witnessed, their awkward crushes, and an infinitely more complicated future – but the grown-ups are no help at all. An urgent response to our times, This Flat Earth is a startling and deeply felt story of growing up in this confounding world.

Originally programmed for the 2020 season, a play that highlights the emotional fallout of a school shooting is sadly more relevant than ever. What sets this piece apart is its main character: 13-year-old Julie, a smart, funny, startlingly authentic tween full of hard questions without satisfying answers. The audience sees the weeks and months following the shooting from her and her best friend Zander’s perspective rather than from the adults’. The result is a fresh, gripping take on this issue, giving audiences a different angle from which to see the toll of escalating gun violence in this country.

The roles of Julie and Zander will be played by three local child actors. As with the casting of The Highest Tide (2020), Director Aaron Lamb determined that due to the size of the role of Julie it should be shared between two actors. Julie will be played by Annabeth Collett and Cosette Yanasak, who will alternate performances, each bringing their unique stamp to the role. Zander will be played by Jones Dillard-Disston. All three young actors live in Olympia and attend Olympia middle schools.

Keep Cool During Warm Weather Workouts

As the weather warms up, the American Heart Association is urging everyone to take extra steps to protect their hearts while exercising in the heat of summer. All movement adds up to the recommended amount; try walking, swimming or gardening and set realistic goals that set you up for success. Adjusting your activity time to early morning or later in the evening can also help you keep cool.

While you’re enjoying the beautiful Pacific Northwest, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of heat stroke and stay hydrated. If you have a history of certain conditions like high blood pressure, you may be at higher risk for heat related emergencies. 

You can also help kids reduce summer break screen time by planning a fun outdoor activity as a family. Registering for the 2022 Puget Sound Heart and Stroke Walk Events is a great way to boost your health while raising funds for science that helps more people in our communities live long, healthy lives.

22nd Annual Willie Stewart Community Scholarship Honors Seniors

This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the annual Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship. From the very beginning, United Way of Pierce County (UWPC) has supported this scholarship program to recognize a select number of Pierce County high school seniors who demonstrate a tireless commitment to volunteering in their community.

This year’s cohort of 11 recipients’ hails from high schools across the county, including Charles Wright Academy, Bethel High School, Bonney Lake High School, Dr. Dolores Silas High School, Lakes High School and Rogers High School. Recipients were selected based on their leadership, impact, service, and commitment to service beyond high school. These 11 students performed nearly 5800 combined hours of community service. Two students completed over 1000 hours on their own!  

United Way and local leader Willie Stewart granted $2,500 to each scholarship recipient. Recipients will use their awards to help pay tuition at colleges and universities across the country. On behalf of the entire community, United Way congratulates the following students for their dedication to giving back through volunteerism: Cannon Combs, Taylor Galbreath, Shanalyn Goulding, Kylie Hammett, Kaelen Hoseth, Isha Hussein, Jessica Konop, Alison McDougall, Julia Odhiambo, Zana Stewart, and Braden Wesenburg.

United Way has partnered with Willie Stewart for all 22 years of the scholarship’s existence to celebrate the Pierce County high school seniors most dedicated to community service. Stewart and his good friend, the late Karl Anderson, started the program after Stewart ran for the Tacoma School Board in 1999. Anderson was his campaign treasurer. When the successful campaign was over, they had funds leftover, and Anderson suggested they be used to start a scholarship program for young volunteers in the community. Stewart wanted a large, recognizable organization to oversee the program’s administration, so he took the idea to UWPC’s CEO at the time, Rick Allen. Allen loved the idea. In 2000, the program honored its first cohort of seniors.

As an educator, a veteran and a community leader, Stewart continues to be an inspiration for generations of Pierce County students. “The future of this nation is going to be based on volunteerism,” Stewart says. “We need more people born with heart and compassion. The only way we’ll get out of our situation is with love, respect, and getting involved. Community service is the first step.”

United Way of Pierce County collaborates to break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers and focusing on long-term solutions. By helping build strong families and successful kids, we create a community that will thrive. Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship

Sophie’s Scoops Opens A Storefront Location

Any day is a good day for Sophie’s Scoops. There are so many reasons why Sophie’s hyper-local gelato is a taste sensation. Each small batch is lovingly made with ingredients sourced from the community. Owners Sophie Landis and Chris Proctor unite their culinary and business skills with great attention to detail and a whole lotta love.

“We make everything,” they both say. Sophie’s Scoops pasteurizes the milk which gives incredible freedom to make its own gelato base and flavors. TUNaWerth Creamery in Tenino supplies the milk. “Our gelato is farm fresh,” emphasizes Sophie. Other ingredients are sourced from nearby farms such as Johnson Berry Farm. Cookies are made by the Bread Peddler and coffee comes from Olympia Coffee.

The new storefront, with significantly more space than the original location, gives Sophie’s Scoops an expanded operational kitchen. It’s where Chef Chris gets to do gelato magic. With years in the restaurant business, he appreciates the creativity that goes into each batch. With in-house pasteurizing, it’s possible to use small quantities of seasonal ingredients for a unique blend. A friend’s garden supplied mint which became Free-Range Mint. Naming gelato is almost as much fun as eating it.

Two customers were seated inside savoring their cups of gelato. One was temporarily lost in a memory of the recently made Key Lime Pride, featuring Sophie’s lime curd and graham cracker crumbs topped with a vanilla whip. It was zingy, tangy, and wonderfully balanced. “You can get order envy,” one says. That’s when you wish you ordered what your friend got after you taste it. Don’t worry. You can always take a container home for later. 

Sophie’s Scoops has its own truck for mobility as well as use at special events. There are also two bikes complete with umbrellas. Sophie had fun using the bike at Oly Fed’s golf tournaments and uses it for other outside activities. “It’s fun to interact with people,” says Sophie.

Sophie and Chris invite you to visit their new digs. You can also order a coffee drink and check out the fun t-shirts and reusable totes. Sophie’s Scoops is truly a community business. Scoop a little deliciousness into your life. 

Get more details on the Sophie’s Scoops Facebook page. .facebook.com/sofiesscoopsgelato

Sophie’s Scoops 

510 State Street

222 Market Street

Mary Ellen Psaltis

Westerly Home delivery food service expands to Tacoma

Tacoma now has a new healthy and delicious home food delivery service as Westerly Kitchen has now expanded to offer their gourmet services to the city’s residents.

Born from the kitchen and imagination of Chrissy Hunt, Matt Hunt and Annalicia Schwab, the owners developed this meal delivery service because they “believe in the importance of good food and the power of delicious meals prepared with whole ingredients. When you continuously fuel your body with the right nutrients, you will feel your best. [There’s] no calorie counting or fad diets with Westerly meal delivery.”

Our publisher, Robin Lucas, recently tried the meal and she was delighted. Not only were the meals nutritionally dense, [but] they were really delicious. I was a little reserved, but now my husband and I are big fans.” It feels good to eat well. Healthy habits simply make happy people,” says Lucas.

To learn more about this healthy and nutritious food, visit Westerly Kitchen.

Pierce County Fair’s 75th Anniversary Year

Celebrating Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow

Eager to celebrate its 75th Anniversary, the Pierce County Fair Association is planning a 2022 Fair filled with entertainment, exhibits, livestock shows — and of course — delicious food. It will be fun for the whole family, from Thursday, August 11 through Sunday, August 14 at Graham’s beautiful Frontier Park.

Made possible through the generation donation of sponsors and more than 150 volunteers including its hard-working board of directors, the Pierce County Fair is an annual celebration of rural life and agriculture that dates back to 1947 when it was held in Sumner. Moving to its current location in 1968, the county fair is one of only a few fairs in the state to take place in a park setting.

“The location sets our fair apart from other fairs around the state that take place primarily on asphalt,” said Shelly Bennett, manager of the Pierce County Fair. “Our visitors have a more personal experience and the park setting and hometown feel create lifelong attendees.”

Given the significance of the 75th Anniversary, the Fair Association is making sure the four days are packed. Performances will include the always popular Extreme Dog Show, Olympia’s The Olson Brothers Band, Elvis tribute performer Danny Vernon, and, new for 2022, a Mexican Rodeo event.

While the fair is always about fun entertainment, it is also a chance for local 4-H students to show livestock they have raised or enter a quilt, flowers, or delicious recipe they have perfected in various categories judged for their quality. These opportunities for 4-H students allow increased educational exposure and even scholarships and college funding. The fair also features an open class, giving an opportunity for the general public to show off their sewing, flowers, photography and more.

This year, a new partnership with the Graham Kapowsin JROTC will showcase how a volunteer organization like the Pierce County Fair can benefit while young men and women gain valuable experience. The JROTC students will assist with set up, cleaning, and tear down of the fair.To learn more about the Pierce County Fair in Graham please visit piercecountyfair.com.

Silent Sky at Tacoma Little Theatre

Tacoma Little Theatre is excited to welcome Silent Sky to its stage after having been postponed earlier in the season.  Silent Sky is written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by pug Bujeaud.  

This true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of Silent Sky features Jessica Robins as Henrietta Leavitt, Jillian Faulk as Margaret Leavitt, Mason Quinn as Peter Shaw, Rachel Permann as Annie Cannon, and Deya Ozburn as Williamina Fleming.  

Silent Sky will run Friday, July 8, through Sunday, July 24, 2022.  Friday and Saturday showings are at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm.  Silent Sky is recommended for ages 12 and up.  

Tickets are $27.00 (Adults), $25.00 (Seniors 60+/Students/Military), and $20.00 (Children 12 and under).  Tickets may be purchased online at www.tacomalittletheatre.com, or by calling our Box Office at (253) 272-2281.  Group rates are available for 10 or more, and special FLEX passes for 6 are only $145.00.  TLT requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination at the door for all audience members and masks will also be required while inside the building. 

There will be a special “Pay What You Can” performance on Thursday, July 21, 2022.  Tickets for that performance are only available in person or over the phone.

The Infinite: An Out-Of-This-World Experience

The largest ever interactive outer space exhibit is in Tacoma for the duration of the summer. Known as “The Infinite,” the virtual reality exhibit is in Washington until Sept. 5, following a tour in Houston and Montreal.

Located at the Tacoma Armory, guests are first directed to a waiting room with audio interviews from past astronauts describing the excitement and anticipation of leaving the familiar and beginning their trip to space. 

The staff is concerned with making sure visitors are comfortable and prepared to move through the experience, though there is an air of mystery to some degree. Once exiting the waiting room, several staffers assist guests with understanding and putting on their VR headsets.

After a short tutorial, guests are released into the vastness and wonder of the International Space Station replica. Here, one can identify the figures of others in their group by looking out for yellow silhouettes, identify strangers who have a blue silhouette, and recognize staff members who reflect a bright green light. 

Perhaps most unique is that depending on where one goes, and subsequently what videos they select, each person will have a different experience as they are shown different content. Though you can move about the space station with someone in your group, there will be nuances which differ, and the staff recommends visitors move independently to get a personalized tour. 

Videos — which play when a visitor taps on an orb of light shown in front of them — incorporate lifelike video and audio. The videos transition from practical topics to more abstract ones, such as astronaut Jessica Meir demonstrating how to get in and out of bed in a zero-gravity environment, versus an interview with Kansas born-and-raised astronaut Nick Hague describing how he views space exploration as an opportunity to improve the way humans interact with natural environments.

One hour in length, The Infinite’s virtual reality portion concludes with the first-ever VR spacewalk. Ushered into chairs, guests relax and watch as footage captured by astronauts floats by and everything — from the earth below to the galaxy above — immerses visitors in an environment most will never see. 

After this brief movie-like portion, guests return their headsets to a futuristic neon conveyor belt and exit through a digital art installation which experiments with light and reflection. Pictures are allowed in this exhibit, and although it is enchanting, it is not recommended for those with light sensitivity or epilepsy. 

Also important to consider is motion sickness and acrophobia, which should not present an issue unless extremely severe, since any sensation of movement glides by gently and is not sudden. The feeling of being “up above” the earth can be disorienting at first, but quickly becomes part of the magic. 
The Infinite is a must-see experience. My recommendations? Wear contacts if you normally wear glasses, forego makeup, dress coolly, and leave the high heels at home. Ticket prices range between $16.50 to $31.20 and can be bought at theinfiniteseattle.com.

Wa Center Announces Scholarship for the Arts

The winner of the 2022 Washington Center Anacker Scholarship for the Arts is Camille McLean. Camille is graduating from Olympia High School where she has served as concertmaster of the Chamber Orchestra. She has also been involved in Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia for six years including being the concertmaster for the Conservatory Orchestra. Camille plays the violin and piano and hopes to major in violin performance and music education.

According to Camille’s Orchestra teacher, Joseph Dyvig, “Camille’s work ethic goes beyond the standard practice and preparation… she is always prepared for class, putting in extra work, and is always punctual and present.”

First awarded in 2014, the Washington Center Anacker Scholarship for the Arts recognizes, encourages, and supports a Thurston County Scholar’s study in the field of the arts. The scholarship was endowed by former Washington Center Board President Sally Anacker, who believes the arts exist to enrich our lives. “If the arts exist to enrich our lives… then the Washington Center’s mission must surely be not only to provide the various art forms but to nurture the pursuit of them in our young people,” said Anacker.

The Washington Center for the Performing Arts is a not-for-profit performance venue with a mission to inspire audiences and artists of all ages through live performances, enriching the vibrancy of our community.

2021-2022 Calendar of Events:  https://www.washingtoncenter.org/events/month/