Oregon Country Fair

I have got to take my kids to the Oregon Country Fair!
This visual extravaganza is set in a magical woodland of meandering paths, trees and old structures that really feels like a different world.

There isn’t a grumpy person for miles, and the organization of the event and volunteers is flawless. I really think this experience has made me a better person, because I’m finding myself reacting to my children in a more cheerful manner. Even when they were correcting behavior, the event volunteers would do it in a nice and friendly way, then thank you for it. Why not be happy and sweet instead of irritated and grumpy?

People dress in crazy costumes or don’t dress at all. For my attire, I chose “the opposite of hippie.” Although I have absolutely nothing against hippies, it was my way of being me and kind of in costume. I assumed I would look different than the other revelers, and I was certainly correct. Here I am with a lovely fairy:

Here are my tips for a successful fair adventure:

• Wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty. The paths are dirt, and well managed by volunteers with misters to keep the dust down, but your feet will be pretty dirty toward the end. I wore my Havaianas flip flops, and they were comfortable. And washable.

• Bring your own refillable water bottle. There are a few potable water stations around the fair grounds, plus you can have the vendors put your drink in it to save wasting a disposable cup.

• Bring plenty of cash. There are a few ATMs, but the fee is $3 and there were lines at each one. Some vendors accept cards, but most are cash-only. I bought a beautiful necklace, and could have easily spent a lot more. Everything was hand-crafted and unique.

• The food vendors near the entry all had long lines but the lines seemed to get shorter as we got further along the path. Although the whole place was pretty crowded! Food prices ranged from $2.50 for a veggie samosa, to $10 for a big plate of Peruvian food. Most drinks (fresh-squeezed juices, iced tea, iced coffee) were $2-3.

• Don’t be surprised by nudity. I have no problem with it, and none of it was at all sexual. I love seeing people brave enough to bare their breasts, covered with fantastic body paints. I couldn’t do it, but I’m glad other people can. I would definitely have a discussion with my kids about it before-hand, since they’re not used to seeing people walk around in next-to-nothing! And believe me, a leather thong is in fact next to nothing!

You might expect debauchery at an event like this, but it’s really clean. Alcohol & drugs are not allowed, and they check your bags at the entry.  There were a few smoking areas, and I may have gotten a marijuana contact high near some of them, but they are easy enough to avoid.

I feel completely safe bringing my kids, and the lack of alcohol helps that. I think I would have enjoyed even more if I had a drink in me, but it obviously wasn’t necessary. There were a lot of kids activities set up, and quiet places for resting and recharging as well.

Here are some images from the day:

This harlequin-esque gal said, “Do you want to see the most beautiful thing at the Fair?” And opened a mirror. Yay!

We left around 6 p.m. The gates close at 7, and everyone is swept out at 8. I could tell some of the people arriving after 5ish had a few drinks in their cars before entering, and the tone of the event started to feel a little more chaotic to me. It could be that I was just fair-ed out, but I really think the tone changed.

I’ll be going back next year with the kids. Who wants to join us?



  1. Xan July 15, 2012
  2. Bianca July 15, 2012
  3. Tina July 15, 2012
  4. Laura Stafill July 15, 2012
  5. Raya July 18, 2012