Since the summer of 1969, Oregonians have gathered in Veneta, Oregon, about 15 miles west of Eugene. What started as an alternative school benefit has turned into a yearly ritual and pilgrimage for tens of thousands of Oregonians every summer. This year, the Oregon Country Fair runs from July 13-July 15. “The Oregon Country Fair creates events and experiences that nourish the spirit, explore living artfully and authentically on earth, and transform culture in magical, joyous and healthy ways,” the fair’s website writes.
What makes the Oregon Country Fair most magical is the layout of the land. As opposed to tons of tents and tables, you’ll find a totally built in world. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped foot into the coolest treehouse of all time, truly transporting you into an Oregon fantasyland. Over the years, the fairgrounds have turned into a self-sustaining ecosystem and little world of its own. Exploring here will be an adventure in and of itself. Join a dance party, watch some puppets- the possibilities are actually endless.
If you want to experience some of the best of Oregon’s authentic culture among the people, this is the festival to do it. Going to cultural festivals with variety is a great way to celebrate being sober in the summer. As opposed to music festivals that are relatively locked in, the Oregon Country Fair spans across acres and offers you all kinds of entertainment, activities, food, crafts, and people.
You can catch a variety of shows and performers, from music on the main stages, to small theater productions, entertainers walking around, circus acts, vaudeville, dance, comedy, and spoken word. The people-watching is also an exceptional way to pass the time as many plan costumes and outfits all year long for this three day occasion.
You’re sure to find some festival food favorites, but most likely with an Oregon twist. Expect locally sourced goods, organic and vegan eats, as well as tons of flavor and variety. Make sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated, even though non-alcoholic beverages will abound.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a hotel or an AirBnB in Eugene this time of year as its probably been booked for months, if not since last year. The two hour drive back to Portland can be exhausting after a long day at the fair. Camping is one of the great parts of the OCF experience. Get your sober friends together and pack up for the night. There’s likely to be song, dance, and more fun into the night after the fair closes. If you stay for multiple nights, you can find recovery support meetings onsite in the morning to meet other sober individuals who are having fun at the fair.
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