By Vanessa Salvia

The 2022 Oregon Country Fair kicked off on Friday morning, July 8. After a two-year hiatus due to the ongoing pandemic, the fair was a little different this year. But for attendees, the vibe was the same and there was a lot to enjoy. The fair takes place in Veneta, where it has been held annually since 1969. There is a lot to love about the fair, and as it enters its 53rd year, one of the special things about it is the sense of tradition. There are numerous crafters who started their booths in the 1970s, had children who participated in the fair, and those children now have children who are participating in the fair. It has touched generations of people from around the Eugene area and across the world, as many “fair family” travel from afar to get here for the event.

The fair has more than 65 volunteer work crews that make the magic happen. These volunteers maintain the land, build booths, direct traffic, take tickets, provide security, provide fire safety, refill water, empty recycling, and everything else that it takes to provide for an attendance of dozens of thousands. In typical years, attendance is about 45,000 people. 2019 was the fair’s 50th anniversary event and crowds surged for that one. In 2020 and 2021, the fair was held virtually due to the pandemic. In 2022, also due to the pandemic, the organizers limited attendance to about 30,000. This was nice for attendees who enjoyed smaller crowds on the trails. Some of the artisans, crafters, chefs, and creators said that even though there was less attendance, their sales were still strong as people had more room to move around and easily visit the booths they wanted to without getting swept away by the flow. Organizers required proof of vaccination of an exemption plus a negative Covid test to enter, and it was outdoors, so it felt safer. 

The weekend started with a chilly cloudy sky on Friday morning which gave way to sunshine by Friday afternoon, which held for the rest of the weekend. Temperatures were warm but not extreme, and there was plenty of sunshine to show off the glitter. One of the things that is most enjoyable about the fair are the impromptu parades, the incredible costumes that people wear, the joyful art, and the unexpected beauty that you stumble across as you’re walking the fair. Below are some of the photos we took this weekend.

Have you ever been to the fair? Did you go this year for the first time? Have a favorite fair memory? Email me at editor@eugenemagazine.com to let me know.

  Oregon Country Fair 2022