Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oregon Country Fair 2009

We went to the Oregon Country Fair. The Fair started out as a renaissance faire, then turned into a hippy fair, and now it's a kind of annual Eugene (and local area) weird/alternative fest. On the fun side, the fair's in a woods, there's lots of geometric sculptures, creative entertainers, crafts, alternate power, parades, art and costumes. The creative, friendly, atmosphere can be exciting and restful at the same time.

On the not-quite-so-fun side is that the fair seems to be two miles long, the paths can get quite choked with people and dust, the art is prohibitively expensive, and some --er-- costumes are more about personal expression than imagination. Loin-clothes (or socks) and nipple-clamps. I think I have the definition of a "drommer boy" now. That's all I'm saying.

The weather was cooperative, starting out cool and not getting too hot in the afternoon. We walked around, but really didn't see anyone we knew right away. Mark liked a kinetic sculpture -- the "Hippypotumus," a six-person bicycle float with an articulated head and jaws (and blinking eyes). I kept seeing icosidodecahedrons everywhere, and found a Eugene artist who welds them out of stainless steel (sorry, honey, I got his card and someday when I can afford it, we'll have Platonic Solids in the garden).

Much later in the day, I ran into Damon Kaswell and Loreen Heneghan. Loreen makes lovely masks out of fabric, wire, spangles, and sequins. And hats. One hat (with ears) looked like a Beatrix Potter design. She had a whole troupe of Jellicle Cat masks.

The other friend I ran into was Steve, who makes really cool kaleidoscopes with oil and beads.

Oh yes. I wore The World's Most Fabulous Shirt -- it's a shirt covered with little squares of iridescent diffraction gratings. Usually, I hear about twenty disco-ball jokes in a hour, but I guess the purple iridescent scarf I wrapped around my hat made me look like I was on Gay Safari (I had many more attractive, shirtless guys complimenting me on my clothing than I can remember for quite some time). Anyway, I love the shirt, and about forty new best friends love the shirt, and I love that something as easy as wearing a shirt (OK, it was a little too warm in the afternoon) can make so many people smile.

And I think smiling is what the Oregon Country Fair is all about.
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