I experienced a truly unique, Eugene event this weekend: the Oregon Country Fair. This is an annual event held every year on the outskirts of town. Booths and stages are built into a forested setting and people buy tickets Friday through Sunday, either for the whole weekend or just one day. There are various food vendors, crafts, and interesting bands and entertainment all weekend.

I went to the fair on Saturday to take a break from some long hours spent working on class projects in the studio. The fair was really crowded, but with your ticket you have access to a free shuttle that drives you right to the front door. The shuttles came every 15 minutes or so from downtown Eugene. I thought for the most part the level of crafts was pretty good – better than what you find at the Portland Saturday Market, for example.

I talked with this man who makes succulent potted gardens out of found objects, like shoes, boots, old baskets, tin containers, etc. The idea looked really fun. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any website and is just known as “Dan-Dan the Garden Man” up in Seattle, where he has a small landscape business.

A big draw to the fair is what I am calling the whimsical freak fair. Tons of people are dressed up in costume, or just not wearing anything at all. There were lots of fairies, woodland creatures, a stoned looking caveman, people on stilts, etc. It added a really fun, spastic touch to everything. It felt like we weren’t quite in a reality.

There were some very Eugene-like booths as well, like the Postcard from the Future booth. They also had a whole “Energy Stage” area where people demonstrated pedal-powered blenders and washing machines. The basic idea is attaching these appliances to a bike, so when you pedal you are actually blending or turning the washer. I don’t know that I saw anything new, but it was still excited to see so much forward thinking in one area.

The fair is not something I think I will need to go to every year, but it was worth the money to see such lively characters and creative ideas in one space. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it – it’s something you will certainly never forget!

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