Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Oregon Country Fair

Some call it an "counter-culture event", others a throw-back to the Hippy days of the 1970's. Whatever... the Oregon Country Fair has been a local event since 1969. With attendance upwards of 45,000 fair revelers, the fair draws visitors from throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Having been over a decade since Nancy and I last attended the fair, a group of friends invited us to join them this year. Though not a big fan of crowds, we couldn't resist checking out the Country Fair this year with good friends.

Half of the attraction of the fair are the costumes worn by attendees. We saw Can-Can dancers on stilts, bearded ballerinas and fairies of all ages flitting to and fro. Above, a lone wolf stalks fair goers.

There are upwards of 350 food and craft booths, artists, music and lots of activities for kids. Above, kids peer into a huge Human Kaleidoscope.

Outfits range from the elaborate to the skimpy. Women wearing bras were a rare commodity, and in many cases, tops were dismissed of entirely, replaced by elaborate body paint... or nothing.

I found it interesting how closely the fair almost mirrored the creative and artistic virtual online world of Second Life. The virtual SL world of art, architecture, clothing booths and outrageous costumes emulated remarkably the real life experience of the Country Fair.

Some of us aging hippies were forced to take a needed break to soothe aching feet. I wonder if blue blue body paint helps tired dogs hold up any better?

Half a dozen music stages dotted the grounds. One of the most interesting was the Drum Tower where an incessant beat whipped up the tribal portion of the fair goer's amygdala... mine was pounding in short order, but was easily soothed with a cool hand-dipped ice cream.

I was thoroughly impressed by how well this event is organized. From parking to exiting, and everything in between, friendly volunteers kept operations running smoothly. For an event that attracts attendees one might consider "counter culture" the crowd was fun-loving and convivial; there was no rowdiness or any hint of unpleasant incidents. Alcohol is strictly prohibited and bags are searched before admittance; though there were some questionable brownie recipes passed around and the occasional whiff of smoke from the Cannabis species.

Overall it involved a lot of walking but also a whole lot of fun. We plan on attending the Oregon Country Fair in future years... guys, bring the kids, ladies, leave your bra at home.

Google Images of the Oregon Country Fair
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20 comments:

DJan said...

There's something about Portland... this post is so different from your usual ones, Robert, and I enjoyed it once I got over the shock. :-)

We old hippies definitely love these fairs. They have similar ones in California, which I remember fondly. I haven't found the equivalent here in Bellingham yet.

Paul said...

Hippierama Robert ? Dude ? And Granny hippies too ...

adrielleroyale said...

Lol!! Yah... I like my bra... although I have been known to be quite comfortable running around all day in a swimsuit, so I suppose that would work. :) Sounds like you guys all had fun! If I lived closer, I might have to check it out. :)

Robert the Skeptic said...

DJan Well you and Smart Guy should come down next year for the next one. We certainly weren't the only "Boomers" there and hopefully won't be the last.

Paul Indeed, Paul... many a lovely looking lady with long grey hair.

Adrielle The fair draws people from all over the country. Some make travel plans around it. Tickets are available online.

Jayne said...

That's it, dang it. I'm going to Oregon. You guys have way too much fun out there. And now, I have a serious excuse (other than for the wine--which I think ought to be serious enough). ;)

Robert the Skeptic said...

Jayne We have over a dozen wineries within a short drive from our house. The problem is, we have difficulty finding our way back.

Yeah, this state rocks.

Paul said...

Yummy Robert - I love'em...:-)

Nance said...

The ultimate in people watching! I'd pay for admission to this, myself! Thanks for the pics and reporting.

It reminds me of some scenes from a favorite movie you might like, "Stealing Beauty."

Mandy_Fish said...

So like a Renaissance Festival but less geeky? Or equally so?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Paul Indeed.

Nance People watching indeed... half the attraction to the fair are the people attracted to the fair. Many are very attractive.

I'll NetFlix your movie suggestion.

Mandy There actually is a separate Renaissance fair in the area which, clearly, is more themed in that genre. It's put on by the "Society for Creative "anachronism", cleverly enough.

Kara S. said...

I love the Oregon Country Fair. Good times!

KleinsteMotte said...

That you plan to go back makes sense. What you saw and described would beckon me too.

Antares Cryptos said...

He says, while pretending to read the newspaper.:)

The modern version is probably burning man...talk about people watching...

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Looks like a braless blast!Glad you had fun ya hippy.;)

Paul said...

Old hippie women were made for lovin'...:-)

Robert the Skeptic said...

KaraS I'm thinking you've been a couple of times.

Kleinstemotte Yeah it was pretty fun, though I walked my legs off.

Cryptos I have been fascinated by Burning Man, though never been. Hope there are plenty of porta-potties out there in the desert.

Dawn You know, I was never really a Hippy though that culture grew up all around me being raised in San Francisco. But I did benefit from that culture.

Paul *wink*

Snowbrush said...

I've outdone you by not going since 1991. I went maybe two or three times, but the CF is one of those things that people tend to love passionately or not at all. On my last trip, I went mainly so I could take Peggy's parents (who were visiting from Mississippi), and watch them freak out. Ten minutes, and they were out of there. For my part, I acted innocent, but I'm afraid my act wasn't terribly believable--then too, I did remain behind when they left.

Orhan Kahn said...

Is that woman painting on a pair of jeans?

Robert the Skeptic said...

Snowbrush Had I taken my parents to the OCF they would likely have had the same reaction. It's not their "thing" obviously. But that's cool.

Orhan Just blue body paint. I enjoyed watching her apply it, though.

Ahab said...

This looks like my kind of shindig! A gathering of free spirits and nonconformists is always fun.