Mystical, eerie, impressive, magical, ancient, enchanting… hey, wait, I already blogged about the redwoods! Quite honestly, the same words capture the Oregon Country Fair.
When I think of a country fair I imagine pie eating contests, blue ribbons for the biggest hog, cotton candy, and carnival rides. The Oregon Country Fair is no ordinary country fair, it is a fair to remember!
From the moment we pulled into the parking lot, the fun began. We were greeted by volunteers dressed in various costumes. Fairies, princesses, wizards, and bikini goddesses. Smiles graced everyone’s lips. There were hoots and hollers. “Welcome to the Oregon Country Fair!”
The plan was the meet our friend Jill at the Blue Moon stage. While walking amongst the costumed crowd through fields surrounded by greenery, we came upon prayer wheels. I jumped in front of some folks to cast my prayer. As I spun the colorful wheel my prayers spread like seeds in the field, rooting in the soil.
From Native American garb to loin clothes, and everything in between, my head rolled around its axis to take in the sights, and we hadn’t even made it to the main gate. Personally, I was in shorts and a t-shirt which is my favorite costume. After a week of cool coastal temps, it felt good to feel the summer heat caress my skin.
As we entered the gate, the Blue Moon stage was off to the right. Our timing to meet Jill was perfect. I grabbed a fresh squeezed OJ (heavenly) and joined Beth to listen to the blues, right up our Chicago alley. Jill joined us in a black with white poke a dot dress and black lace gloves. A red ribbon contained her hair. Jill was ready to DANCE! We enjoyed India food and then Jill sent us on our way to “take in” the fair.
Everywhere we looked, everywhere we went, something was happening. Jill and her friends went off to a music stage to take in one of their favorite bands. Beth and I weaved our way down the dirt paths to see what we could see. By the creek three men were beating African drums as several women moved to the tribal beat. One by one, the women stomped around and surrendered their bodies to the drums. A little boy sitting on a drum simply watched the crowd as well as the dancers. We hung out under the trees taking in the African rhythms for quite some time ourselves. In the distance, colorful mini sailboats and large cloth lotuses filled the creek.
Around another corner, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” lured us in. Two fiddlers were having it out, Charlie Daniels style. One was bare chested in overalls, his counterpart sported a Panama Jack hat, leather vest and cargo pants. What a great dueling song. The entertainment didn’t stop there. With their arms and legs hooked together, they played each other’s fiddle. To simply maintain balance linked to another person is tough, to play the fiddle that way was amazing to watch. Oh, they also hopped around, connected in more ways than one.
I’m certain many “Dead Heads” were in attendance of the fair. And there, hung upon a tree surrounded by moss, Jerry Garcia’s face. It was as if he were overseeing everything. One of the vendors actually collected moss to make her merchandise stand out. She told me she had been doing it for years and that people gave her moss because she knows what to do with it. The moss did accent her jewelry.
Treehouses sat above the vendors wares and that’s where most vendors slept. I heard it is another sort of fair when the gates close and the vendors have the place to themselves. Walking past the treehouses I noticed one launching a cookie into the crowd via a fishing pole. Many passersby were tempted, but few could catch the flying cookie.
Continuing down the dusty path, we happened upon a parade. Tubas, trombones, flutes and drums filled the air. Then came the jugglers, stilt walkers, and a 12′ x 10′ white with red trim chiffon winged bird. The puppeteer worked the bird. A large wooden stick moved the red, white and purple beak. An orange, yellow, and red bird followed. Unknowingly, we entered Mardi Gras. So, we ordered a catfish po’ boy with a sweet tea and enjoyed New Orleans, Oregon style, for a little while.
There were bare chested guys in leather aprons cleaning animal hides. Special features: The “Still Living” room filled with gray hairs. “Altered Space”; a meditative space where I sat for awhile. “The Love Lounge” where couples hung out curled together. Stilt walkers, acrobats, jugglers, hoola-hoops, balls rolling, dancing, music, chai, espresso, cheesecake… on and on. Oh, and there was a spa. I heard there was a baby Grand piano in the spa to entertain the crowd. A young man stood in the 80˚+ heat stoking a fire to keep the heat pumping through the spa. When I asked him about the heat he replied, “It feels good.” I think that was the attitude of everyone working the fair.
After reconnecting with Jill, we watched more of “the show” in Chelsea Meadows. Several bands played and the crowds loved it. It was amazing to see the stilt walkers whose heads nearly touched the tops of the colorful tents dancing as if their feet were on the ground
It was time to go. We said our good byes and headed to the main gate. On our way out we stopped to watch Brazilian dancers. With feathered head dresses and sparkling bodices, the women shook their booty. I turned to Beth and said, “We gotta get out of here, this thing goes on and on. I don’t think it ever ends.” Once we reached the car and pointed Avy in the direction of the coast, our time at the Oregon Country Fair had physically ended. However, it continued in our minds for a good long time. If you’ve never been to the Oregon Country Fair, you should go. It is truly something to see. “May we dance in balance with the elements.” Be well… Nancy T.