I bet there's nothing like the Oregon Country Fair anywhere else in the United States. Heck, maybe the world. It's a celebration of what made the 60's so magical: freedom, creativity, love, expressiveness, community, caring.
Sure, the magic faded (I was at Altamont, the 1969 antithesis to Woodstock: nasty and murderous). But every year it lives on in a beautiful rural setting in Veneta, outside of Eugene, for a weekend in July.
Here's some photos from opening day 2011, Friday. My wife, Laurel, and I had a great time. The weather was perfect. Per usual, the Fair staff and volunteers did an amazingly competent organizational job.
One of Laurel's first stops was a cookie booth. The guy in the antlers sold her three yummy cookies.
This trash area featured a recycling guru. I never saw him move from his cross-legged position on a barrel. Impressive. He gave expert advice on where to put various items of litter: napkin, paper plate, cup, food remnants.
Which included music. And views of towering trees. Laurel wondered what the squirrels and other wildlife think about having their home invaded by thousands of people every year. My guess: Far out, man!
While Laurel shopped at her favorite cap and t-shirt booth for what seemed like eons, I had plenty of time to observe the passing throngs of people dressed in astoundingly diverse ways. These were two musician entertainers who stopped to play a while.
In the past my wife and I haven't dressed up when we came to the Oregon Country Fair. This year, though, we were drawn into a mask booth, along with lots of other people. We tried on quite a few masks, waiting to hear an inner voice that said, This is you!
I embraced my inner African chieftain. Or whatever... I wanted head feathers that would harmonize with my beard and hair. I never thought about how the dangling wood thingies would feel, though, bouncing against my cheeks as I walked around for hours and hours. Well, sacrifices must be made for one's art.
I enjoyed the fair more after getting masked up. A photographer with a fancy camera even made a point of getting a close-up of me. Turnaround is fair play, given how many photos I've taken of weirdly dressed people at the fair.
In a semi-quiet corner of the fair, we came across this guy talking on his cell phone. His sign said: "Druid. Shaman Consultations. Poems Crafted. Mantic Arts. Spinal Healing." I wasn't aware of the light beaming on him until I got home and looked at my photos. Hey, maybe he really is a druid shaman.
The booths are wonderfully colorful. If there's a more beautiful outdoor fair, with higher quality and more interesting wares for sale, I'd sure like to know about it. But I don't think the Oregon Country Fair has much competition.
Laurel found these younger females equally easy to look at. The girls were super-cute together, big sister and little sister, I assume. Probably reminded Laurel of her growing-up years (she's the youngest of three sisters).