‘Fair Food Fest’ experience brings drive-thru fair food to Yakima

Fair Food Fest Yakima (1)

YAKIMA, Wash. — The Central Washington State Fair may be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but food vendors have still flocked to Yakima to give residents a taste of what they’re missing.

“It was important for us to bring some element of the fair to the community while keeping everyone safe,” said Kathy Kramer, President & CEO of Central Washington Fair Association. “We know one of the top reasons people attend fairs is for the food. We could not imagine going a whole year without enjoying some of your fair food favorites.”

The drive-thru Fair Food Fest opened Thursday afternoon at State Fair Park and is scheduled to continue through Sunday. From the safety of their car, people can order elephant ears, kettle corn, candy apples and other treats to take home.

The event is a partnership between the Central Washington Fair Association and Yakima Federal Savings and Loan.

Drivers can take South 18th Street to get to the back side of the fairgrounds and enter through Gate 15, next to the baseball stadium. Attendees will not be able to enter off of South Fair Avenue, which is where they will be exiting.

“Guests will be given a map with vendor locations and menus so they can decide what they want to order in advance,” Kramer said.

The event includes a community food drive to benefit Northwest Harvest. Anyone who brings three or more canned food items will get a free ticket to next year’s Central Washington State Fair, which is scheduled for Sept. 24, 2021 to Oct. 3, 2021.

“We know that the local food banks have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and we wanted to include a community give back as part of our event to help them replenish their shelves, plus get the community excited about the 2021 Fair,” Kramer said.

The free tickets are limited to one per vehicle per day. The donations will be collected by members of the Downtown Rotary Club of Yakima.

“The fair will be back bigger and better with many surprises next year,” Kramer said.

Before attendees get to any of the 10 vendors present at the event, they’ll have the opportunity to have their photo taken by a staff member at the “Car Selfie Station,” sponsored by Coca-Cola Bottling Company Yakima and Tri-Cities.

“You drive your vehicle under a commemorative banner and a selfie of you and the crew will be taken from the safety of your vehicle,” Kramer said. “After they snap the selfie, it will be emailed back to you.”

Once in line, attendees will stay in the drive-thru lane until they see the vendor they want, then pull into the second lane in front of the vendor to order. Kramer said credit or debit cards are preferred, but cash will be accepted.

“Everyone needs to remember this is not a traditional fast-food drive-thru experience,” Kramer said. “It will take a little time to reach all desired stops on the Fair Food Fest drive-thru route, so plan accordingly and enjoy.”

Face masks are mandatory for everyone and attendees are asked to stay in their vehicles, in compliance with state and local COVID-19 restrictions. Kramer said vendors and employees will wear masks and gloves, sanitize surfaces frequently and properly package food.

Fair Food Fest is open Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., Firday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information about the event can be found at fairfun.com. There’s no admission or parking fees and the gates open an hour prior to the start of the event.