Multnomah County Fair held, virtually

Try as they might to satisfy regulators, the Friends of Multnomah County Fair were forbidden to allow anyone to attend! But, see how the volunteers created a virtual version of their event …

The exhibits were abundant and delightful in the historic Oaks Park Dance Pavilion during the mid-October Multnomah County Mini-Fair and Fall Festival, but unfortunately, not one visitor was allowed in to see it.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After the 2020 Multnomah County Fair, usually held Memorial Day weekend, was postponed – due to COVID-19 coronavirus concerns – the organizers weren’t ready to cancel it.

A dramatically scaled down version of the fair finally did take place, albeit without visitors being allowed to attend, on October 17.

Helping out in the Floral Department, Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Larry Smith is one of the few volunteers allowed to set up the event.

“Optimistically, after we lost Memorial Day weekend, we rescheduled it as a smaller event for the July 4th weekend, but were denied by officials, including those from the Oregon Governor’s office,” said Friends of Multnomah County Fair (FoMCF) President Larry Smith.

Then, FoMCF proposed other dates, later in the summer and into the fall; settling on a weekend – if it was permitted by state and county officials.

Sniffing (but no tasting allowed!) this “Quick Lemon Cookie” entry is FoMCF Vice President Dennis Burke.

FoMCF Food Department Superintendent Kimberly Walters bestows a jar of apple preserves with a 1st Place award.

“It was going to be a ticketed, time-limited-entry fair – set up through our host, the non-profit Oaks Amusement Park, to carefully control the number of people who could come by their historic Dance Pavilion to view the exhibits,” Smith related.

That weekend event they were to call the Multnomah County Mini-Fair and Fall Festival was again postponed by regulators, and the date was moved to October 17.

“We pleaded with the Governor’s office to allow us to host a ‘virtual fair’,” said Smith, also a 35-year veteran television producer at Metro East Community Media – primarily of the awarded “The Body*Smith Workout” exercise show.

Judging floral exhibits is Susan Feigion and her husband, Art Feigion.

“The only reason it took place at all, was that officials allowed us to accept entries from exhibitors by their dropping them off at the entrance of the Dance Pavilion,” Smith told East Portland News. “Surprisingly, we got quite a few exhibits in!

“But sadly, we couldn’t let even one member of the public into the building to see it,” Smith reflected. “We’d been limited to a maximum 10 people in the building at any time; so, it was just our volunteers, working in shifts, including the judges, who saw the many wonderful exhibits on display here.”

FoMCF Floral Department Assistant Jami Jacobson affixes award labels to winning entries.

With the help of their Photography Exhibits Superintendent Jeff Muceus, Smith photographed the exhibits and combined the pictures with video, showing the winning entries.

“We’ve produced this into a show, and put it on our website so the public can enjoy the fair remotely, even though they couldn’t come in person,” said Smith.

Take a look at the 2020 Virtual Multnomah County Fair video presentation by visiting their website: CLICK HERE.

“We’re already looking forward to putting on the 2021 Multnomah County Fair next spring!” Smith enthused.  We’ll keep our fingers crossed.

© 2020 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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