‘Limited’ Multnomah County Fair highlighs Memorial Day weekend

INCLUDES VIDEO Here’s another reason lots of outer East Portland folks headed to Oaks Amusement Park on that holiday weekend …

As the 115th annual Multnomah Count Fair readies to open to the public on Memorial Day, at Oaks Amusement Park, all of the exhibits are set up in The Oaks’ historic Dance Pavilion.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After holding the fair entirely “virtually” in 2020, the springtime Multnomah County Fair did take place “live” this year, on Memorial Day weekend, at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park.

>>To read about last year’s fair, and what it took to put on their event this year, see “Volunteers boldly gear up for modest Multnomah County Fair CLICK HERE.

Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Larry Smith says he’s ready for a fun, albeit compact, event this year – with visitors allowed.

“Indeed, this is 115th Multnomah Count Fair; we’ve not missed a year – ever – including last year, when we did hold the fair, but with no visitors or exhibitors able to come into the historic Dance Pavilion building here at Oaks Amusement Park,” remarked “Friends of Multnomah County Fair” (FMCF) Board of Directors President Larry Smith, on May 29 – the opening day of this year’s two-day fair.

“It’s different this year, in that Multnomah County – just two days before we opened – went into the ‘lower risk’ COVID-19 coronavirus risk category,” Smith told East Portland News. “This permitted us to allow up to 50 people in the building; but since we had our free ticketing system set up on the Oaks Park website, and there were ‘ticket spaces’ available, we were also able to accommodate walk-in guests at the door.”

Nevertheless, across both days, May 29th and 30th, some 1,500 people visited the fair.

Foods Division Supervisor Kimberly Walters says she’s dressed like a bee to show off a new category called “Bakers to Be” – for 6-year-olds and younger – who pair up with an adult. This year, they started off with 20 entries!

This was an “exhibition only” fair this year, Smith pointed out. “That means we have indoor photography, art, crafts, foods, fiber arts, and floral and garden exhibits this year.

“Last year, surprisingly, we had almost 1,800 entries; but this year, slightly less, across the categories,” enumerated Smith. “Encouragingly, though, we did have exhibits submitted from 48 new entrants.”

Looking over needlecraft entries is the Henning family from Vancouver, Washington.

Although its fair was abandoned by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in the 1990s – for communities themselves to host a county fair is an annual tradition, observed Smith. “It’s an event in which the entire family can participate – many by making entries; and others by coming to see and enjoy the work of others.

“Because Multnomah County has transformed from being mostly rural to mostly urban, we’re starting to add more features that are appealing to city-folk,” Smith said.

Photography Department Superintendent Jeff Muceus puts a “Best of Show” award on a picture taken by an 11-year-old entrant – who also received a cash prize.

Even though it’s early in the growing season, a bumper crop of fresh veggies were on display.

This year’s fair was put on by about 40 volunteers; and, even with the struggle to keep the Multnomah County Fair viable, they’re already eagerly looking forward to next year. “Because we haven’t been allowed any outdoor activities for two years, we’re going for having ‘three times the fun’ next year!” Smith exclaimed.

To learn who this year’s prize winners were, including those who entered the “Virtual Talent Contest”, see the Multnomah County Fair website at CLICK HERE.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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