Entertainment, Puyallup

Concerts in the Park 2016

Puyallup Concert in the Park 2016

Each year the Puyallup Parks & Recreation brings us Concerts in the Park. The 2016 events will be held at Puyallup’s Pioneer Park (325 South Meridian) and Bradley Lake Park on South Hill (531 31st Ave S). This year they will have “Noon Tunes for Kids” which will run in the afternoon for an hour. It’s a mixture of music and activities for the kids. The “Noon Tunes for Kids” starts on July 5th 2016. The Family Series Concerts in the Park starts June 30th 2016 and runs every Thursday until August 25th 2016. The first event will be at Bradley Lake Park on June 30th at 6:30pm. The Beatniks will be rocking the park with their mix of classic rock. There are so many great events this year from Doctorfunk (funk & soul) July 21st, Bobby Sox & The Juke Box (50’s & 60’s) July 28th, Slim Wizzy (blues) Aug 4th, Heart By Heart (2 original Heart members) Aug 18th, and finally ending with Spike & The Impalers Aug 25 at Bradley Lake Park.

On August 13th 2016, there will be a community campout held at Bradley Lake Park from 6:30pm – 8pm. The Afrodisiacs will be playing and they are a really great disco band. They are quite popular in the nightlife scene around Tacoma and Seattle. It’s free (no cover).

If you haven’t experienced Concerts in the Park before, you certainly will want to check it out. The Puyallup Community really comes together and it’s a great way to meet all your neighbors. Bring a chair, blanket/s, and some snacks to enjoy as well. Prepare to dance as the sun goes down in one of Puyallup’s most historic parks – Pioneer Park.

Here is the official schedule (PDF) for the 2016 concerts in the park. It includes both Pioneer Park and Bradley Park events. In the event of rain, all concerts will be moved inside the Pioneer Park Pavilion. The Saturday event at Bradley Lake Park (Afrodisiacs) would be cancelled.

Downtown, Education, Farmers Market, Puyallup

Puyallup Public Library

Puyallup Public Library

Education is a powerful thing. It is one of the most important things Ezra Meeker, our Puyallup pioneer, valued highly. The power of education not only enhances literacy, it creates inspiration and imagination. It can not only inspire yourself but help inspire others.

Before Puyallup was even a city, there has always been a library. Before the land cut down to a manageable level by Ezra Meeker, his wife Eliza Jane was lending out books from Puyallup’s Pioneer Park. She always knew the value of acquiring knowledge and that is why she would lend the books out of her cabin. Puyallup was growing fast, however, and the process of her lending out the books was becoming more difficult. Soon after several businessmen (8) got together with funds of $5,000 to form the Puyallup Library Association. They expanded the book lending efforts greatly. This new enhancement allowed them to hire their first librarian, Francis McCoy, who was paid $25 per month.

The first Puyallup Library was created by a grant that the City Council applied for. The City Council was persuaded/pushed by the local citizens to apply for it. During the beginning of the century about 3,000 Carnegie Libraries were built. Millionaire Andrew Carnegie was financing many of the public libraries during that period. This grant was one of the those opportunities and Puyallup was eventually successful. The initial library cost $12,500 and the City Council had to pledge $1,250 annually for supporting the new Puyallup Library. With the permission from Ezra Meeker, the library was built in the now Pioneer Park we all know today. Ezra donated the Pioneer Park with the agreement that it would only be used as a park, thus his permission was required before the library construction could be started. In 1913 the 4000 sq. ft. library opened and continued to serve the community for 50 years. Eventually, it just couldn’t support the growing community and the building was wearing down. The weight of the books were struggling to support all the books and it was declared unsafe.

A new building was proposed. Voters approved a new bond and with that a new library would be built. The cost was $210,000 and 11,622 square feet. The building was bigger, better, and much more modern. Puyallup’s population continue to grow rapidly it went from 12,450 to 30,740 people and the library items continued to grow as well. In 1962 it was more than just books now. The Puyallup library had computers, DVD’s, cd’s, and talking books. The rooms were always occupied with students and business meetings. In short, the library needed to grow to meet the demands of the city, students, rental items, and the growth of the city of Puyallup.

Another bond was presented to the voters and it passed on Sept. 14th 1999. The new building would be 39,500 sq. ft. Crowds came from all over Puyallup to witness the new opening of the library. It was a celebration and the people were anxious to experience it. The new Puyallup Public Library we know today has lots of space. It supports enough space for 150,000 books, 150,000 books, 20,000 videos, 12,000 talking books, and 10,000 cd’s. The also have computers which help and supports the process of finding more knowledge not only in the library but via the Internet. They have book meeting rooms and also studying rooms which can be used by students. Throughout the building you’ll find lots of tables for studying and friendly helpers. In 2009 during their first 4 months, the library lent out approx. 41,000 items per month.

The Puyallup Public Library is a must visit being a resident of Puyallup. It offers so much to the community. Not only the knowledge it provides but events as well. In Oct 2015, they have readings, public movie events, and award winning authors who you can meet in person.

Some of their programs include the Puyallup Festival of Books program. They have a full calendar of events on their site which are quite popular. On Oct 23rd and 24th 2015, they have the third annual Memories of Valor event. The Library has adult programs where you can get a guide to understand the communities history better. Volunteers help with this effort by using old photographs, year books, and other information which dates all the back to the 1900’s. There are also computer classes available for both adults and younger students. Kids’ Programs are available which focuses on making learning fun. More is available here but one of the more recent programs is called STREAM which stands for Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Art and Math. The program is hands on with the goal of using activities to make it fun to learn. Other kid events include a Mad Scientist Library Lab, Chain Reactions, and Technology Exploration. They also have children authors who visit and storytelling events. The kids have a great time and love the activities. These events change all the time so you’ll want to check back on their website often to see what is new at the Library. Lastly, the Puyallup Library has weekly programs for teens throughout the school year. These include movie days, creative art events, comic book events, the Anime Club, gaming, and crafting events.

The Puyallup Public Library offers online tools also to help Puyallup residents find the information they are looking for 24/7. You can search by keyword, book, or author to get the information you’re looking for at the comfort of your home.

Address: 324 S Meridian, Puyallup, WA 98371 (in Pioneer Park)
Phone:(253) 841-5454

The park which includes the library is known as Pioneer Park. It features the statue of Ezra Meeker and the ivy location where the Meeker’s cabin once stood. Puyallup’s concert in the park is held here each year. The community really comes together for the musical events (Thursday nights). They bring lawn chairs, dance, and eat from many of the food vendors. The Park also holds the Pioneer Pavilion. The space is often used for the Famer Markets and also rented out for Weddings or special events. The newest attraction is the Kiwanis Kids Spray Park.

Concert Stage in Pioneer Park Puyallup

Pioneer Park Pavilion in Puyallup

Education, Puyallup

Ezra Meeker Statue & Cabin in Pioneer Park

Ezra Meeker Statue And Cabin

As I was driving down Meridian yesterday, I came across the sun shinning down on the Ezra Meeker statue and the ivy cabin area where his home originally was built before the Meeker Mansion we know today. Ezra and his family lived in the cabin for 26 years! The ivy was actually planted by his wife Eliza Jane to provide shade for the cabin in 1864. The ivy continued to flourish (as we all know it does) many years after the cabin walls rotted away. Ezra and his wife Eliza donated the “Pioneer Park” land to the citizens of Puyallup. The vines were saved to be part of the history of the city as well as the concrete pergola to support them.

Ezra in Puyallup Pioneer Park for his Statue CeremonyEventually, the Meeker family moved out of the Meeker Mansion in Puyallup. The statue of Ezra was created to honor him and his one-time home. Ezra came back to Puyallup for the local ceremony in 1926.

Just a few years later Meeker would be hospitalized with pneumonia while in Detroit. His condition got better and he returned back home to Seattle but he unfortunately got sick again. George F. Frye (built the Frye Hotel in Seattle) was married to Ezra’s oldest child Louise Catherine. While he was sick he was moved to a room at the Frye Hotel (room 412) and he eventually passed away a few months later on December 3, 1928. He was 97 – just 27 days short of his 98th birthday. His body was taken back to Puyallup where it rest today next to his wife at the Woodbine Cemetery.

Today, the Pioneer Park holds many events throughout the year. One of the new additions is the Kiwanis Kids Spray Park which was just finished in 2015.

Kiwanis Kids Spray Park Pioneer Park in Puyallup 10/5/2015
Kiwanis Kids Spray Park Pioneer Park in Puyallup 10/5/2015

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Downtown, Puyallup

The Hop Industry in the Puyallup Valley

Puyallup Valley Hop Industry

Growing hops was important to the development of Puyallup. Pioneer Ezra Meeker was known as the hops king of the World when this photo was taken about 1890. The hops boom went bust in 1891.

A brief History….

When settlers first began arriving in the valley in 1854 they found the valley floor consisted of dense strands of cedar and cottonwood trees, with often dense brush that was very difficult to remove with the tools available to them. Many of the first settlers continued to search for land elsewhere, unaware of the rich soil that lay beneath the brush. Ezra Meeker and his brother were among the first to arrive. After inspecting the valley, he at first rejected any notion of living in the valley, writing that it would take back breaking labor to clear the land.

As settlement in the valley started to take hold, settlers did work hard to clear enough land for a cabin, and to grow some food to sustain their families. Then, in 1855, Indians in the valley became increasingly dissatisfied with treaties being forced upon them by the U.S. government. They destroyed all but one of the settlers homes. Many settlers did not return to the valley. The settlers that remained were in dire financial need. The Meeker’s had suffered the greatest. Not only was property destroyed in the valley, but their mercantile business in Steilacoom had failed too because merchandise ordered – sank in a shipwreck on its transport to Washington. The money to buy the supplies had been borrowed, leaving the Meeker’s in desperate financial need.

At that time, another Meeker relative had been persuaded by a friend in Olympia to attempt to grow hops on his land, a thought that seemed crazy to most residents. On his way back to Sumner, he stopped off at Ezra’s cabin to drop off the hop roots. Ezra planted the roots among the tree stumps around his cabin, on the land that is now Pioneer Park in downtown Puyallup. From those few roots, Ezra Meeker made $157.27. In the 1800’s, that was like striking gold. The word about the “crop” spread quickly, and soon every farmer in the valley planted the Hop roots.

Hops quickly become Puyallup Valley’s biggest cash crop. During the next quarter century, hops brought the valley more than $20 million, making Ezra and his family wealthy.

Ezra became a hop broker, and frequently traveled the World marketing the valley’s hops. Disease and mildew finally put an end to the crops. Today we know the Puyallup valley for it’s daffodils, but it is the hops that started our history, and gave original valley residents the wealth, fortitude and persistence to stay in the valley and to shape our future.

Backup plan the Park Hotel in Puyallup:
The Grandiose Hotel that never was…One of the most talked about buildings in Puyallup in 1890 was the Park Hotel. The structure was to cover an entire block and would have been three stories high. It was to be built with an anticipated $40,000 from the booming hops industry. The construction of 83 luxurious suites, an adjoining restaurant, and the possibility of an additional 40 rooms, was well underway when the hop boom went bust. The hotel was never completed. After years of disrepair, the structure became “home” to unsavory individuals who used the building as a sort of flophouse. The amount of “guests” became larger, and the inhabitants began terrorizing the community for food and money. Finally, Washington States Governor came from Olympia and finally persuaded all to go home. For awhile afterwards, the building was used to store bailed hops, but the building had no other uses and went into further disrepair. Finally, a group of local citizens bought the building and property, and soon began to demolish the shell of a building that was to become Puyallup’s grandest, most beautiful building.

Farmers Market, Puyallup

Puyallup Farmers Market

Puyallup Farmers Market

The Puyallup Farmers Market is one of the best places to get fresh organic vegetables.

If you like fresh organic grown vegetables and fruit then you need to check out the Puyallup Farmers Market which is another attraction that you just can’t miss. I usually go for the food, however, they have crafts and music as well. You’ll find the Farmers Market right in Pioneer Park. The same park where Ezra Meeker’s statue and cabin once stood.

2015 Season

The 2015 season starts in April and runs through mid-October – every Saturday from 9 am until 2 pm at the Pioneer Park and Pavilion. In the same area you’ll find the Puyallup Public Library and concert stage. If you want to sell your vegetables you will need to get a 2015 market application which can be found on the Become a Vendor page.

Sponsored by Sound Family Medicine

The present farmer’s market sponsor is Sound Family Medicine whose generosity helps to make this event possible.

Something new

This year a midweek market is being opened. The Puyallup Main Street Association or PMSA is going to launch a Sunset Market on Wednesday evening’s downtown beginning on May 29th with the market hours being 3 pm to 7 pm.


Shawn Edwards who is the PMSA coordinator for the farmers’ market said that this market will have a very different feel to it than the market on Saturdays and they are hoping families will make an evening of it. Families will be able to walk around, grab a bite to eat, do the shopping and then sit on the lawn and enjoy some music.

The Sunset Market will not be as large as Saturday market, with a cap of only 60 vendor booths being available. The focus on this evening market will be on the fresh produce and food with less on arts and crafters. Another change will be that the Sunset Market will be completely outside, not in the Pioneer Park Pavilion. If you are worried about the weather, the market’s frame of time from the end of May through August captures the best summer evenings of the year.  Dogs are welcome on a leash of course.

Make a family event

Anyone who lives near the Puyallup downtown area knows that the downtown corridor is extremely busy with train services and commuters at this time of day and these are the people they are hoping to capture the interest of while making their way home.

They have asked that you ‘like’ the PMSA Sunset Market on Facebook and come for all the downtown fun on Wednesdays beginning on the 29th of May and running through the 28th Aug. this first summer.

Federal Food Assistance benefits

While farmers markets are everywhere and are known for the seasonality, freshness and high quality of the food brought by the farmers there is a segment of our community that do not know about these activities so more and more markets are trying to ensure that this tasty and healthy food is available to everyone regardless of income.

The WSFMA (Washington State Farmers Market Association) is currently working with markets across the state to help expand farmers’ and markets’ abilities to sell food to low income shoppers by letting them use their federal food assistance benefits. Often those who have the most need for fresh products are the very ones who can less afford it.


Operating a farmers market is one tough job in America and it requires multitude of skills that don’t come naturally to all people and little education is available to get the training that is needed. Being a member of the WSFMA can help as they strive to provide many valuable resources to help its Member Markets. Many of these tools are on their website and can be very valuable.