Eugene Weekly : Coverstory : 7.9.2009

Oregon Country Fair 1969-2009

Writing the Fairstory How Fruit of the Sixties came to fruition

March to a New Beat Honoring tradition and diversity on the Main Stage

Beatlemania Hits the Fair 40th anniversary celebration includes full-length White Album

Upgrade Status: Green The Fair’s enviromental focus stays true

Living in Community New executive takes the reins

A Playground for All Family friendly opportunities at the OCF


A Playground for All
Family friendly opportunities at the OCF
by Natalie MIller

Photo by Todd cooper
Photo by Dennis Wiancko

Want to attend the Country Fair, but don’t know if you should bring the kids? Worry no more! The Fair offers a wide array of interactive art and child-friendly spaces to entertain fairgoers of all ages.

One activity that’s sure to catch children’s attention is the music, but not just the beats coming from the performers on stage. This year, Ambience, the crew responsible for the behind the scenes art, will give kids the opportunity to take part in creating their own rhythms. Jay Hogan of Ambience explains that through something known as the Harmonic Project, Ambience will provide children with musical instruments that have been tuned to scale, making it possible for everyone to create beautiful sounding music. Part of the fun might be discovering the instruments: Hogan says many can be found throughout the fairgrounds, including marimbas, an aumchorde (a version of the piano harp) played with mallets and a giant music box waiting to be cranked by active little fingers. 

Children can explore their visually creative side at LiveArt!, where they will use their hands to decorate, emboss and paint copper shingles. Painting projects can also be found in People’s Park on Strawberry Lane, where a large dodecahedron awaits kid-powered decoration. It’s similar to the other elaborate geometric shapes located around the Fair, but finishing this extravagant 12-sided sculpture will need the help of all who visit.

As for games, young‘uns can look forward to a giant chessboard, standing 3 feet tall (yes, kind of like the one in Harry Potter, only without the danger). And for those who need a few pointers, a Fair employee will be standing near to teach chess moves. 

While some activities for kids are scattered throughout the Fair, such as the castle-like structure designed for climbing on near the Fair’s entrance at Dragon Plaza, more entertainment and climbing areas can be found in the Kids Loop. A space designed for kids and their parents, the Kids Loop is an unsupervised play area, located on the Left Bank, complete with a playground, sand box and booth to paint T-shirts. When the little ones get tired and need a break, Mellow Space, located near Kids Loop, is a comfortable area where everyone can relax and lie in the grass. (Also important: Mellow Space has a diaper-changing table and sink!) For more information on childcare services and a complete schedule of performances at the Youth Stage, pick up a copy of the Peach Pit or visit the Fair’s website at