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Oregon Country Fair Goes On After Winter Storms and Fire

Rachael McDonald

The Oregon Country Fair will lure thousands of people to the woods in Veneta this weekend.  KLCC's Rachael McDonald checked in with Fair General Manager Charlie Ruff this week to find out what fair-goers can expect.

Workers are putting finishing touches on the fanciful structures that dot the landscape of this wooded tract of land in Veneta. Charlie Ruff says this year's heavy snows and icy temperatures caused some damage.

Ruff: "The winter storm was severe and a hardship for everybody in the region. I know everybody was affected by it. Here we have a 446 acre property that's primarily contstituated of woodlands and some of the older wood stands here were dramatically affected and so that, all that tree damage really changed many of our plans for the year."

Credit Rachael McDonald
Crews repair dragon structure at entrance.

Another unexpected incident was a fire last March that destroyed part of the dragon structure at the front entrance to the fair. Ruff says the straw beast has been rebuilt using metal work and wood.
Ruff: "When folks come out and see the dragon that has risen from the ashes I think they're going to be blown away by our newest entryway art-piece. It retains all the functionality and is even more beautiful and stunning actually."

Besides forming an entry, the dragon structure houses security offices for the fair.
Ruff says there are lots of new things to see at the fair, including a new art space called the Bubble.

Credit Rachael McDonald
The Bubble is a new art space at the fair.

The fair is continuing to work with Lane Transit District to offer free rides to and from the site. But that's not all:

Ruff: "We partnered with them to buy out the entire system for the whole weekend of the fair, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So anyone can ride anywhere in the LTD system for free, even if you're not going to the fair, although I'm not sure why you wouldn’t. But, if you're not, you can take a free ride on us that weekend."

LTD shuttles to the fair leave from Valley River Center and the Eugene Downtown Transit Center beginning at 10 each morning. Ruff encourages people to take the bus.
Ruff: "Could not be an easier or more cost-effective, or environmentally friendly way to come out and experience the fair."

The Oregon Country Fair is Friday Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 7. There are no tickets sold on site.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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