Often our anticipation exceeds imagination, but when imagination exceeds expectations, the fantasy becomes real. The Oregon Country Fair has captivated my imagination for nearly ten years. I have often wondered what could possibly make people simply light up when they thought of their days on the fairgrounds and whether or not I would feel the same elation.
This is no ordinary country fair with blue ribbons for quilts or blueberry pies. It’s an eclectic, creative mix of parades, stilt walkers, meditation centers, yoga, sacred altars, vaudeville acts, belly dancers, ecology booths, crafts and more. There are nearly 20 stages and several alcoves with performers of spoken word, ecstatic Kirtan, hip hop, classic violin, live drumming, rock, funk… on and on it went. There are 960 booths of hand-crafted work from pottery to jewelry to glasswork and metal work, primarily locally made, delicious food, cordage and hide tanning workshops and back to earth information and healing centers in the Community Village.
As you walk onto the fairgrounds you are greeted with greetings “Happy Fair!” by fairfolk with warm and welcoming smiles. Characters on stilts call out “Remember How Beautiful You Are!” Or “Welcome Home!” in recognition that here is a tribe of like-minded folk who invite, nay encourage you to suspend judgement and fear of being judged, shake loose your cares and let your imagination of who you want to be today fly.
Oregon Country Fair invites you to be that free-spirited kid that you still are, the one running without a care, down a hill with your arms flapping or trying out cartwheels for the first time or dressing up like a cupcake or a tiger or a tree. This buoyant open-hearted pulse vibrates throughout the entire grounds and wrapped me up in a circle of loving kindness. Its three days without hearing a sharp word spoken surrounded by thousands of joyous people. Even or maybe especially the babies and children emanate pure bliss and delight.
Although approximately 45,000 people attend the fair annually, there is a very advanced recycling system as the fair strives to be a zero waste event. Since 1968, the Oregon Country Fair begins on the second Friday of July in Veneta, Oregon. Advance tickets and camping information are available on the Oregon Country Fair website a few months prior to the event.
I highly recommend you immerse yourself in fantasy and experience your bigness or truest oddball self at the Oregon Country Fair next summer. Come experience the deep acceptance when you open up to your full expression that creates possibilities of how to be in everyday life. And that’s how you keep your freak flag waving all year round.
Written by Jamie Wood. Jamie is a social architect, a storyteller, published author of eight books and road trip warrior.