OCF 2018

B E S T   F A I R   E V E R !

KLCC Radio Adventures at Oregon Country Fair 1992-2018

By Tripp Sommer, June 2018
[Editing and photos by Gayle Chisholm]

  On Thursday, July 7, 2017, my wife Sandune and I headed to the Oregon Coast.  Highway 126 takes us west, through Veneta.  This is the day before the Oregon Country Fair opens to the public.  In previous years, we would have been heading to the Fair instead of the coast.  But I just retired from KLCC and this is the beginning of things being different.

(Brian Bull/KLCC)

KLCC heard attendees share their happiest, saddest and weirdest memories for the second year as part of their "Fair Shares" program at the Oregon Country Fair in Veneta, Oregon. Fair shares are an opportunity for those visiting the event to reminisce with family and friends on what defines the fair experience, and after 49 years, the stories continue to illustrate the changes and consistencies that encapsulate one Oregon's most unique gatherings. 

(Alec Cowan/KLCC)

The Oregon Country Fair's drum tower got a monstrous renovation.

For the last 25 years, Jesse Murdock-Bell has been a regular at the country fair.

"I started working on it when I was like 12. I think officially I wasn’t on the construction crew until about 18."

(Alec Cowan/KLCC)

Food is a big draw for the 48,000 people attending the Oregon Country Fair.

The sounds of country fair preparation are one element of tradition. The crank of a drill; the smack of a mosquito.

For the coffee and pastry booth “Rosie’s Just Desserts” it’s another tasty year as usual.

"The chocolate halpia is very good, with the works."

This is Shon Cook, currently stringing lights across around their festive sign. He says the booth’s owner, Rosie Brookshier, has been attending since the fair’s second year. She’s had a booth since 2001.

(Alec Cowan/KLCC)

The arts area "Xavanadu" made a return to this year’s Oregon Country Fair.  

What comes to mind when you hear the word, “Xavanadu”? For me it kind of sounds like savannah, and that’s what it looks like at the Oregon Country Fair:  A sprawling lawn covered with artistic wood chairs and sculptures.

Walking the dusty paths at the Oregon Country Fair is guaranteed to get you more than a little dirty. Thankfully there's a place to wash off all that grime.

There are two childcare locations at the Oregon Country Fair, with volunteer staff of about 150 people, serving more than 2,000 kids during the fair.

Brian Bull / KLCC

With Lane County's mosquito population more than double than average this year, visitors at the Oregon Country Fair may expect to get nibbled by these voracious bugs. But not everyone is comfortable with using over-the-counter sprays and repellents.  That's where one vendor, Soule Ahlenbach, comes in.  She's helping keep fairgoers bite-free by pitting Mother Nature against Mother Nature.  KLCC's Brian Bull checked in with her on the OCF's opening day.

Brian Bull / KLCC

As the Oregon Country Fair commences, organizers are urging visitors to keep hydrated, stay cool, and pace themselves. While many temps are going to be in the upper 90s,  that heat wave means cold cash for those selling wares that can keep fairgoers cool and refreshed.  KLCC's Brian Bull checked in with one such vendor, Orange You Glad I Didn't Say 'Banana'?, right as the admission gates were opening this morning.

Brian Bull / KLCC

The Oregon Country Fair turns 50 next year.  Organizers are mum about what they’ll do to celebrate the event’s golden anniversary. Meanwhile, another local fixture also marks half a century in 2019, as KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Brian Bull / KLCC

Supporting local growers, and demonstrating sustainability permeate much of the Oregon Country Fair. There’s a heavy emphasis on not producing or leaving much waste on the grounds. KLCC’s Brian Bull talked to a fair official about how well they’ve managed to reduce environmental impacts.

Oregon Country Fair

Fun fact about the Oregon Country Fair – through a good part of the year, the site is underwater.  Often, things are pretty dry by the time the first fairgoer walks through the entrance.  KLCC’s Brian Bull asked one of the fair officials about how the event handles this recurring natural disaster, including those unusual fences.

Johan J. Ingles Le-Nobel / Flickr.com

Visitors to the Oregon Country Fair might want to bring along bug spray as well as sunscreen.  Lane County’s mosquito population has more than doubled due to recent, mild weather…and the bloodthirsty skeeters have no qualms about crashing the event. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.

Brian Bull / KLCC

The Oregon Country Fair tries to cover all the bases when it comes to visitor comfort and safety. The White Bird Clinic has two sites that address the physical and mental well-being of fairgoers.  KLCC’s Brian Bull met with Wren Arrington, Rock Medicine Event Coordinator for the White Bird Clinic. Bull began by asking Arrington what help the clinic can provide, and where.

Brian Bull / KLCC

Beginning Friday, an estimated 45,000 people will gather in Veneta for the annual Oregon Country Fair. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, it’s a long-standing tradition for many.