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 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 

Peach Pit Jams

Walking down the trodden dirt path of the Oregon Country Fair can be intimidating at first. To your left, there’s a beeswax candle merchant; to your right is a group of leather-clad didgeridoo players. Straight ahead, on a wooden stage in a meadow, a jam band that may or not be the Grateful Dead reincarnated plays. The Fair offers a ton of great live music from which to chose, and here are a few acts you won't want to miss.    TAARKA Continue reading 

Rejuvenate the Land

How OCF overcame this year’s swathe of obstacles

Crashing branches, trees snapped in half, debris-littered roads — the ice storm that swept across Lane County in February left the streets a twiggy mess that took weeks, even months, to address. The Oregon Country Fair site in Veneta bore its share of the damage, with the back half of the main camp kitchen totaled and three booths taken out by trees. Add to that a flood and a fire that damaged OCF’s iconic dragon-shaped entryway, and the Fair faced a much bigger challenge than usual when shaping up the grounds for July. Continue reading