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Variety, the spice of life

OCF Lineup Keeps Vintage Performance Arts Alive
Wanderlust Circus
Wanderlust Circus

Like sunburns and fannypacks, vaudeville-style comedy and variety shows are a part of the Oregon Country Fair experience. In fact, OCF devotes entire stages to all sorts of popular entertainment from the age of daguerreotypes like tap dancing, puppetry and poetry readings.

Fair favorite Artis the Spoonman performs four times this year, kicking off 1:30 pm Friday, July 8, at the Daredevil Vaudeville Palace. Artis heads over to the Kesey Stage at 3:15 pm Sunday, July 10. See oregoncountryfair.org for a full list of Artis’ performances. 

For juggling fans, OCF has you covered: Jugglemania featuring Rhys Thomas, a performer with "hilarity and dexterity" who has opened for the likes of The Smothers Brothers and Weird Al Yankovich. Jugglemania performs first at the Monkey Palace 1 pm Friday, July 8. 

The Charlie Brown Comedy Juggling Show performs 5:30 pm Friday, July 8, at Stage Left, and Mud Bay Jugglers with the Tune Stranglers perform at 2:30 pm Friday, July 8, at The Daredevil Vaudeville Palace. For additional information on juggling performances, check the Fair’s website listed above.

It’s an election year, and like the Merry Pranksters of yesteryear, OCF hasn’t forgotten the political preoccupations of the event’s founding generation. This year, catch Henrik Bothe of Bellini Twins and Flaming Heterosexuals, who will reflect everyone’s Trump-o-noia with the All American/No Foreigner Variety Act. The “family-friendly show” promises “hardly any nudity.” The All American/No Foreigner variety act begins its OCF residency 11 am Friday, July 8, on Stage Left, with additional performance times and locations listed online.

Kicking off their string of OCF appearances 11:30 am Friday, July 8, at Daredevil Vaudeville Palace, sketch comedy act Festival The Show mixes “original music, elaborate costumes, larger than life props and high flying acts.” Check online for other performance times and locations.

Rounding out, and arguably headlining OCF ’16’s variety show offering, is Portland’s Wanderlust Circus, bringing “aerialists, acrobats, contortionists and our cabaret orchestra” for “a magical fairytale of life on the Endless Road. A brand new show with fresh discoveries from the past year, and familiar faces from our Golden Age.” 

Wanderlust Circus first performs 2:30 pm Friday, July 8, on the WC Fields Stage; additional show times and locations are online or get a copy of the "Peach Pit," the official program for OCF available around town and on Fair grounds.