Multnomah County Fair flourishes at Oaks Park

Discover why folks say this year’s Multnomah County Fair ahd all families needed for a day of fun, over Memorial Day weekend …

Visiting the free Multnomah County Fair is another good reason for families to head to Oaks Amusement Park on Memorial Day weekend.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The multitude of families coming to opening day of the 111th Multnomah County Fair was a good indication that historic, non-profit Oaks Amusement Park is the ideal location for the county fair that runs on Memorial Day weekends – this year, from May 27th through the 29th.

The fair continues to thrive, and grow in popularity, even it was abandoned by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in the 1990s. It continues, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers.

Showing her trio of Alpine goats is Camille Hildum from the 4-H Corbett Critters Club. “It’s a lot of fun!” she says.

In the 4-H area, club members Hadley Kersens, Celia Kersens, Extension 4-H Faculty Maureen Hosty, and Miguel Hosty pause for a photo.

The Multnomah County 4-H Clubs’ exhibits have had a steadily growing presence at the fair.

“Exhibits and activities of 4-H Clubs are bigger and better this year,” said Oregon State University (OSU) Extension 4-H Faculty Maureen Hosty.

“We’re celebrating the final projects that our club members have been working on all year – here to be exhibited, judged, and evaluated,” Hosty told East Portland News. “In addition to recognizing them for the efforts, it’s also a time when kids and their families can have fun here at the fair.”

A judge at a rabbit show at the fair is Grace Jackson.

On display, and being judged, were animal projects – including chickens, rabbits, and guinea pigs and goats. “And, other 4-H members brought their photography, cooking, sewing, and rocketry projects here as well,” Hosty pointed out.

“It’s really true, 4-H is the original STEM program, starting more than 100 years ago – and the Portland 4-H is the first urban program in the entire nation, started in 1922,” Hosty observed. “Because of our affiliation with OSU, our 4-H clubs are keeping up with today’s technology.”

In the Exhibit Hall, Jennifer Vasstabacchi from the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood shows her prize-winning flower in the “perennial” category – a purple Lupine.

With this year’s 111th fair underway, Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Larry Smith is all smiles.

“This fair continues to be put on by the nonprofit organization called Friends of Multnomah County Fair, as it has been for years; we are volunteers who are keeping the 111-year tradition of this wonderful fair going,” smiled Board President Larry Smith.

“In addition to supporting the excellent youth development programs of 4-H clubs, there is something for every age or interest at the fair,” Smith remarked.

At work, doing calligraphy and airbrush painting in his outdoor studio at the fair’s “Art in the Park” pavilion, is Markus Willis.

New this year, Smith pointed out, is the “Art in the Park” pavilion, featuring local crafters and artists who demonstrate, exhibit, and sell their unique offerings.

“And, we have something that the other big event in town doesn’t have – the opportunity to ride a camel!” Smith exclaimed.

At the “S&J Original Oriental Food Booth”, Thanh Cao stir-fries another batch of yakisoba noodles.

Brian Wood, better known to fairgoers as “Professor Bamboozle”, taking a break with his magic show bird, “Skittles”.

The coordination of two entertainment stages, commercial vendors, food purveyors, and the arts and crafts exhibits in the Oaks’ Dance Pavilion, is done by a volunteer Board – just six members, and six exhibit superintendents. As many as 50 additional volunteers do come in to help operate the fair during its three day run, however.

Smith said he’s had a life-long love of the fair. “Abut 50 years ago, I participated in my first fair, as an exhibitor,” Smith explained. “Someone needs to keep the tradition alive, I decided I’d be a person to help out.”

Having fun in the shade playing miniature golf are Tim Nystrom, Brennan Hinton, and Tristan Nystrom.

Going for a spin on the Tilt-a-Whirl are Hudson and Dawn Edwards.

Finally, it wouldn’t be a fair without amusement rides for the little kids, thrill rides for the bold – and fun for everyone – on the midway of Oaks Amusement Park.

“The Multnomah County Fair, and Oaks Amusement Park combined make this a great way to spend a day on Memorial Day weekend,” Smith said.

Rides, like the brand new “Zero Gravity” and thrilling “Disko”, provide excitement at very family-friendly prices.

For more information about Multnomah County Fair, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

By the way, historic Oaks Amusement Park is located near the east end of the Sellwood Bridge at 7805 SE Oaks Park Way, 97202.

© 2017 David F; Ashton ~ East Portland News

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