During its 50-year existence, the Oregon Country Fair has transformed. When I went there during my college days at the University of Oregon in the 1980s, it was an event that attracted free-spirited adults in a forested area outside the town of Veneta. My most vivid memory is of a leather-tanned man with dingy blonde hair dressed as Tarzan, who played 60s and 70s rock and folk tunes on the piano. He was an excellent pianist.
Over the years, the Oregon Country Fair has expanded and evolved into a family-friendly event. It’s still held in the same location outside Veneta, 12 miles west of Eugene. To get there, follow Oregon Route 126 west to Veneta and look for the signs to fair parking.
The fair runs from Friday, July 12, until Sunday, July 14. There’s so much to do that you could easily spend the entire three days exploring. Enjoy food at more than 75 booths. Browse the art created by 800 craftspeople, where you’ll likely find a few items for yourself and for gifts. You can finish your Christmas shopping early!
There’s also live entertainment on 12 stages. The talent includes musicians, magicians, jesters, and jugglers. This year’s headliner musicians are:
- Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band
- The Polish Ambassador
- Jim James of My Morning Jacket
- The Dandy Warhols and Zero featuring Melvin Seals
And, to celebrate the fair’s 50th anniversary, there are some new highlights:
- Peach de Resistance, a new art installation made of recycled Volkswagen fenders. This beautiful piece of art was commissioned for the fair’s 50th anniversary.
- Pop-up birthday parties with cake, singing, dancing, and surprises
- A special display featuring an interactive timeline of outstanding events at the fair
- A new interactive area of craftspeople demonstrating their art techniques features woodworkers, weavers, glassblowers, and jewelry makers bringing their work to life
Parking at the fairgrounds costs extra. Pay for parking onsite (cash only).
If you don’t want to drive to the Oregon Country Fair, hop aboard the free shuttle at the Lane Transit District (LTD) Transit Station at 10th and Willamette or at Valley River Center. The shuttles start at 10 a.m. every day of the fair, and the last pickup at the fair stop is 7:30 p.m. Here’s more information about the shuttle.
Glass items, drugs, alcohol, and pets are not allowed on the fairgrounds. Service animals are allowed.
For more information, go to oregoncountryfair.org.