State Fair visitors can re-live WWII internment in exhibit

The Washington State Fair will feature an exhibit about the Japanese internment center that existed for months in its grandstands. 

The Washington State Fair in Puyallup will feature an exhibit on Japanese internment where visitors can step into the past and re-live what the camps were like.

Not many people know that close to 8,000 Japanese Americans were forced to live under the grandstands at the Puyallup fairgrounds for months in 1942 before being sent off to World War II American concentration camps. The military called the fairgrounds the Puyallup Assembly Center (PAC) but the incarcerees called it "Camp Harmony."

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In the video, Eileen Yamada Lamphere (from left), Elsie Yotsuuye Taniguchi and Sharon Sobie Seymour stuff pillowcases with straw. Yotsuuye Taniguchi remembers doing this as a 5-year-old when her family first arrived at the fairgrounds.

Visitors to the exhibit can try their hand at it, as well as other interactive activities. The exhibit includes re-created horse stall and barracks apartments, period suitcases and clothing and pot belly stoves from camp.

A program about the 75th Remembrance of Puyallup Assembly Center will honor survivors. It takes place Saturday, September 2, 10 a.m. at the Coca Cola Stage. Keynote: Tom Ikeda, DENSHO; emcee: Lori Matsukawa.

The exhibit runs throughout the Washington State Fair September 1-24 at the Fair Museum.