Planning Calendar: The 2008 Oregon Country Fair

From an earlier post:

The Oregon Country Fair remains uncommercialized. Still held on private land. Still has plenty of available drugs. Beautiful hippie girls going topless with painted breasts. Music that makes you want to gig. They camped overnight and found what they needed behind the canopy of an old tree.

It's almost time for that most-demented, weirdest, strangest and most enjoyable freakfest, ever: The Burning-Man-Wishes-He-Could-Be-the-Oregon-Country-Fair is, as always, during the second weekend of July. And this year, well, this year promises to be extra special: Yes. I am going!

It will be the first time I’ve been back in many years. I’m excited about camping out under the stars and at the prospect of catching up with old friends from Eugene- there’s no better place to find old friends than the Oregon Country Fair. Family members, too, because when you have a big fan-damily and you is from uh small town like You-jeene, youze go to the country fair, man. It’s the apex of the counter-culture that still exists in Eugene and definitely not everyone’s scene. Some people in my family and some of my friends have just flat-out outgrown it. Luckily a lot of my friends are still really immature. Ha.

There have been years when I felt like I’d outgrown the Oregon Country Fair... And Eugene. But it’s been just long enough since my last visit to make me want to go again. See if it really is still uncommercialized. See if all the sights, sounds and smells really do bring it all back for me. I checked the fair's website and since video cameras are banned, I’m guessing that not much has changed. We’ll see.

My niece and I were talking the other day about growing up in Eugene. I have a love/hate relationship with the town. It’s small. I often felt like I couldn’t make a move without having it reported back to someone in my family. On the other hand, no matter what you do, people in a small town will always forgive you. They’ve known you since kindergarten. They don’t know what else to do but forgive you. And when you have a big family, well, quite literally, no one is a stranger, in a small town. But towns like that will suck you in.

My neighbor told me that he thinks Portland is like a bubble. I can’t imagine what he would think if he ever lived in Eugene. My friends that stayed, I worry about them. But they’ve selected their paths and they seem to be surviving. And yet… And yet: When a child of a family friend recently passed away, 500 people showed up for the funeral in Eugene. When our favorite cashier, who had worked at the Payless drug store for as long as I can remember, passed away my mom hung the obituary on the fridge. It’s a town that cares, quite deeply, about its people. And like so many things that are really, really important to us, I love it- and hate it- all at the same time.

I can’t wait. If you see me there, be sure to say hi.

2008 Oregon Country Fair
July 11 – 13
Location: Just outside Eugene, man. Look for the handpainted signs, VW buses and hitchhikin hippies.