The Oregon Country Fair Celebrates 35!
The Oregon Country Fair Celebrates its 35th Anniversary taking place on July 9th, 10th and 11th, 2004 in Veneta, OR.
There's really nothing quite like the Oregon Country Fair, as anyone who has attended can attest to. It is an eagerly awaited gathering of heart centered community folks or "family", who come together each year to celebrate spirit, nature, whimsy, deep connection, wild artistic creativity, innovation, invention, education, conservation, humor, eclecticism, child-like wonder and just plain silliness. Last year's fair was blessed with opening ceremonies by visiting Tibetan Monks and Native American Indian drummers. Wherever you go at the fair, there are marvelous and diverse surprises and happenings. It's reputation attracts people from all over the world to be part of this special weekend.
There is richness of activities to engage in and environments to visit. "Energy Park" features the latest in alternative energy technology of solar and wind power, bio-diesel fuel, organic gardening techniques and other energy projects, including bicycle powered blenders and solar showers! "Community Village" is literally and figuratively in the heart of the fair. It exists for gathering and sharing in circle, singing and sufi dancing, hearing community choirs, talks on midwifery, herbal subjects and displays, and information on intentional community living (from urban co-housing in Eugene to forested community live/work situations like Breitenbush Hot Springs). "Chela Mela Meadow" , a relatively new area, invites many activities from being a play-land for juggling and fire dancing, to providing a nurturing, quiet space for meditation, relaxation or a nap under a shady tree by the Long Tom River. "Altered Space" offers a spiritual tribute to all the religions of the world including Tibetan Buddist sand mandalas and an opportunity for fair-goers to create prayer flags. There are fascinating teepees, geodesic domes, yurts, sculptures and other interesting structures throughout the grounds. The "Drum Tower" provides a continuous heartbeat for the fair at the figure eight junction. There are poetry readings, special teen events and art workshops for children.
Numerous stages present terrific world class performing artists and teachers including the FLYING KARAMOZOV BROTHERS, BABY CRAMPS, RAM DAS, Paul Krassner, DARK STAR ORCHESTRA, Jim Paige, Antis the Spoonman, Ina Mae Gaskin and Nicki Scully. The late Ken Kesly appeared often. There are a large variety of entertainers from up and down the coast such as belly dancers, marimba bands, blues, reggae, world beat, irish, country, rock and jazz groups. There are bubble blowers, fire eaters, sword swallowers, wild circus performers and vaudevillians. The "Risk of Change" puppet troupe and the "Fighting Instruments of Karma" Marching Band parade at regular intervals along the paths. Accompanying them at times are walking trees, tutu attired pink flamingos, venus flytrap on stilts, giant rastafarian puppets, the mud people and many other colorful, awe inspiring characters.
Hundreds of artists offer their beautiful and distinctive hand made goods for sale including paintings, fairy wings, puppets, musical instruments, masks, beadwork, clothing, jewelry, herbal products, kaleidoscopes, toys, furniture, candles, pottery, photographs, blown glass, and one of my personal favorites to wear at the fair: fragrant, sumptuous, hand-strung fresh rosebud crowns with intoxicating gardenias. The fair is truly a feast for the senses!
Food served is healthy and delicious from "Tofu Palace" to "Rita's Burritos" to "Lu Lu's Smoothies". Also, there is "Create a Potato", "Dana's" mouthwatering chocolate cheesecake, the "Blintz Booth", "Tibetan Mo-Mos", "Blazing Saddles", the "Indian House" for noodles and the best chai "Chez Rays" (for years, Ray was the personal chef of the GRATEFUL DEAD). "Ruby's" homemade root-beer floats, fresh squeezed orange juice and a myriad of other delectable treats are not to miss!
When you need a break, you can stay a spell at the outside "Ritz Sauna" where one has an opportunity for cleansing, resting, singing and playing music accompanied by a lovely grand piano. The sauna is lovingly designed and maintained by the hardworking, meticulous staff for the ultimate experience.
The Country Fair takes weeks of preparation on-site, and numerous volunteers arrive early to re-construct booths taken by nature during the rainy winter. They prepare the paths, drinking water, sanitation, recycling, security and booth decorations. I have been attending the fair every year since 1980 and I wouldn't dream of missing this rejuvenating opportunity.
In a world becoming increasingly more chaotic and warlike, and with our environment being compromised by exploitation and greed, the shared sincere-consciousness and priorities of the Country Fair folk are grounding points of sanity. This collective sharing reminds us of the values that really matter for a nurturing collective experience which recharges us with hope, courage and inspiration. It invokes us and takes us into action throughout the year in preparing a better and healthier world for the coming generations. Antis the Spoonman wrote a song in tribute to the Oregon Country Fair called the "Essential Event". I couldn't agree more!
I hope that you all can make it to the 35th Anniversary celebration this year. For more information about the 2004 Fair, tickets and local campgrounds, see them on the website at www.oregoncountryfair.org or call (541) 343-4298 in Eugene, OG.
contribute to this article
contribute to this article
add comment to discussion