Photo Diary: Oregon Country Fair

Oregon Country Fair. I wish I could describe the experience of OCF in a way that makes sense. I wish anyone could. No one can really capture it.

Imagine a Renaissance Fair in a forest, but then imagine you removed all of the Renaissance from it. Now, replace the Renaissance with Deadhead paraphernalia and Merry Pranksters. No, that’s not right. Add some more parades. Also, everyone’s naked. Well, not EVERYONE, just everyone over the age of sixty or under the age of five.  And some young adults. Now, add facepaint. No, more facepaint. Oh, and body paint. Don’t forget to add the loincloths. And the fairy wings, you can’t have Fair without the fairy wings. Now, throw an entire white reggae band in there, and a couple of acoustic guitarists. Top it off with some nutritional yeast and BOOM – that’s fair.

I’ve thought about writing something about Fair for years, but each time I try, I fail. There’s something intangible about it, something magical on a level I have never experienced. And I’m not even a fair baby. My boyfriend has been going to fair every year since he was six months old, working in booths and camping behind a stage for most of his life. When I came this year, I decided I’d bring a camera instead, try to capture the magic with a DSLR. But pictures can’t do it, either. Nothing can truly capture waking up to the sound of parades, the taste of a salmon burger during a poetry slam, the color of rainbow tents in the sunshine. And music, music in the air – he or she must have been talking about fair when someone first used that phrase.

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