Last year, Michelle introduced me to what was a truly wonderful experience. The Oregon Country Fair, just outside of Eugene, Oregon in Veneta, has been going steadily now for 44 years. Though it has all the makings of a hippie festival, it brings together all of the elements of what a community should be. It was actually an inspiration for Our Tiny Earth.
I had no idea what to expect. Michelle had told me of this hippie festival she had been going to year after year. I had missed it in the past, but was able to make it last year. I guess I was expecting to hear Grateful Dead and Phish everywhere I turned. I expected to be overwhelmed with the smell of marijuana and patchouli. Hemp sandles and hacky sacks.
As we arrived at the Fair, driven by Michelle’s amazing Aunt Robin, I knew my fears had been dead on. Buses dressed like the Merry Pranksters Further Bus, dead stickers, and topless hippie chicks with dread locks littered the grassy parking lot. The banners leading to the gate seemed to pay homage to Mother Earth, and people seemed happy. Now I’m not against hippies in any way shape or form. Well, I’m not a fan of Grateful Dead or Phish, nor do I feel the need to grow out my hear into nasty dreads, but I do relate myself to hippies in a lot of ways, or at least what they are supposed to represent.
As we walked into the fair, where we would stay for 4 days as guests of Jerry, Connie, and Patti, I began to notice that things weren’t quite as I had expected. As much as there was tie-die and patches, there was leather and goggles. There were tattooed sideshow acts and steampunk. Everywhere we went, there was music. In the streets, in the booths, as well as on the stages. Everything you could imagine from punk to house to jam bands to bluegrass. It was all there! A true representation of a community, right down to the co-ed community showers!
The food, oh, the food. I think I might have put on a good 20 pounds while there. Though I had fractured my ankle and my hip previously, I was not letting a little pain hinder my experience with Oregonian culinary delights! I had to try it all. Cookies, baked right there as fresh as fresh could be, cupcakes, which I almost left Michelle for (funny story), biscuits and gravy that would have made any southerner proud, food, food, and more food. I was in heaven.
We didn’t make it this year, and we truly miss it. We’re going to try our hardest to make it next year, for some things are just too good to miss twice!