Fairly Local

2016 Fair live tunes lineup reflects Eugene scene

Marv Ellis & We Tribe

Survey Oregon Country Fair 2016’s music schedule and find African blues rock 'n' roll with Portland’s Dusu Mali Band (featuring Ibrahim Kelly, nephew of legendary Mali blues guitarist Ali Farka Toure) as well as homegrown indie rock from Eugene’s Ferns (featuring world-class guitar work from Jake Pavlak, like a red-bearded mix of Johnny Marr of The Smiths and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath. Unconfirmed rumor has it Ferns are on hiatus after this show, so don’t miss 'em!)  Continue reading 

It’s All About the Ice

A discussion with OCF's new general manager Tom Gannon

Looking back over his first year as general manager (GM) for the Oregon Country Fair, Tom Gannon says the thing that’s surprised him the most is “how incredibly important ice is.”  It might sound strange, but realize that the frosty lemonade you’re enjoying, or that tasty burrito with extra sour cream, or your gluten-free hemp seed salad with extra hemp seeds, were all made off the grid. No one operating a food booth has a fridge to plug in — there are no plugs. Continue reading 

You Should Be Dancing

New pavilion invites Fair-goers to take off their shoes and shake it up

New pavilion invites Fair-goers to take off their shoes and shake it up

As you’re cruising around the loops at the Oregon Country Fair, be sure to stop by the new Dance Pavilion, featuring movement performances and workshops for all.   “The dance space is for the exploration of dance and the movement arts,” says volunteer site coordinator Shawn Kahl.  The Dance Pavilion stage and an adjacent outdoor studio, the “WorkIt Shop,” have concurrent but separate programming throughout the weekend. Both areas welcome and encourage participation.   Continue reading 

Variety, the Spice of Life

OCF Lineup Keeps Vintage Performance Arts Alive

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.  Continue reading 

The Kids Are Alright

Childcare options at the Fair

“Childcare has been a part of the Oregon Country Fair for 37 years,” co-coordinator Johnny Whiddon says. “Parents need a break, kids need a break. We try to provide a Fair experience, tailored to the little guys.”  Children who are potty-trained, up to age 12 or 13, can come to one of two childcare locations for two hours at a time, to enjoy live music, face painting, entertainment, acrobatics, arts and crafts, quiet activities like board games and chess and good ol’ story time.  Continue reading 

My waffle, my liege

Off the Waffle joins the Fair’s food family

You’ve bought a ticket to the Oregon Country Fair and chances are high that at some point during the three-day odyssey, you will develop the munchies, suddenly needing a place to satiate this supernatural hunger. But with the fair hosting more than 50 food vendors — including the addition of new vendors to its roster for the first time in many years — how ever will you decide where to pig out? Continue reading 

Flown the Coop

Bird Woman, disillusioned, skips out on Fair this year

Shirley Musgrove is a costume designer and puppeteer, most known for her elaborate Oregon Country Fair costumes, which include a unicorn and fiery phoenix. One year, she dressed as a wolf and made people howl if they wanted a photo with her.  Musgrove first attended Fair in 1978 as a merchant with The Great Hooey Man, a puppeteer she met in her hometown of Spokane. She sold puppets and performed puppet shows for her first four years at the Fair, before spending time in New York to work with Muppeteer Jim Henson. Continue reading 

Diamond in the Ruff

Outgoing general manager Charlie Ruff reflects on the past, present and future of OCF

Charlie Ruff

“The thing I love most about the Fair,” says Charlie Ruff, Oregon Country Fair’s outgoing general manager “is that, at its best, as a community, people can come and be themselves — they can express themselves in an environment as free from judgment as you’ll find.”  Ruff steps down later this summer after 12 years on staff, the last seven of which he served as GM. He will remain, for the time being, a Fair volunteer. Ruff's replacement is Tom Gannon, a longtime Seattle resident who recently relocated to the area. Continue reading