MONROE — The 10-day-old pink piglets and soft, floppy-eared bunnies were a hit.
The chickens, with their sporadic movements and sudden loud crowing, seemed to be a little much. Still, guests paused near the cages to appreciate some of the fowls’ funky feathers.
“Well, you can’t ask a chicken to be quiet,” Carol McKiernan said.
She visited the Evergreen State Fair on Wednesday during its first ever Morning of Dreams event with her husband, Ed, and their grandchildren, Sarah, Nate and Drew, of Duvall. Nate and Drew are 12-year-old twins who live with autism.
During Morning of Dreams, parts of the fair opened early for guests with disabilities and their families. The crowd was limited to 500, to keep things calm. Every one of the 500 available tickets sold.
Drew liked that he and his brother were allowed to pet some of the bunnies, but wanted “way less chickens.” The boys were looking forward to the rides, which opened in the Kiddieland area around 10 a.m.
“I think this just expands the fair’s ability to reach a lot of different kids, especially kids who can’t handle all of the lights and the noise and crowds, but they still appreciate the exhibits and activities,” Carol McKiernan said.
Jessica Lee and her daughter, Hailey O’Banion, 11, came with Hailey’s friend from a local dance team. Lee has a dance studio in Monroe. She and Hailey have come to the fair in the past, but it always takes Hailey a while to get comfortable. She has Down syndrome, and the fair can be overstimulating. Once she gets into her groove, though, “you can’t keep her off the rides, can’t keep her from making friends,” Lee said.
It was nice to visit the fair during a time when exhibitors were prepared to interact with groups of children and adults with disabilities. Everyone seemed eager to greet the guests, and understanding of when they wanted to participate or when they needed space, Lee said.
Along with the exhibits, the fair set up two quiet rooms if visitors needed to decompress for a few minutes.
Ed Miller, of Granite Falls, has been showing pigs at the fair for more than 30 years. He’s famous for bringing newborn piglets each year. He jumped at the chance to participate in Morning of Dreams, he said. Miller brought piglets out of the pen so people could hold or pet them.
“To me, this is something really special,” he said. “You can see their faces light up, you see that…