Volunteers gear up for ‘in-person’ big Multnomah County Fair

Forget about the weather! This will be their most culturally-inclusive event ever! Here’s a preview of what to expect at the 2022 Multnomah County Fair, on Memorial Day weekend at Oaks Park …

Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Larry Smith, and 2022 Multnomah County Fair Manager Mary Beth Coffey, say they’re planning for “a grand and wonderful springtime fair this year”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After being shut down in 2020, and having visitors shut out from visiting the exhibition hall they set up in 2021, due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic – organizers of the 2022 Multnomah County Fair say this year will be in-person, and full of fun and activity.

The fair again returns to nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park for three days in May, over the Memorial Day weekend.

“Given the past two years, this – the 116th Multnomah County Fair – will be three times as big, and three times as interesting! We do this by diversifying our activities and vendors,” enthused Larry Smith, President of Friends of Multnomah County Fair, the nonprofit organization that produces the historic county fair.

Sadly, at the last minute, visitors were shut out from even looking into the Creative Living Exhibit Hall due to State pandemic restrictions during  the 2021 Multnomah County Fair. East Portland News archive photo

Smith, as well as Mary Beth Coffey, who retired from the Oaks Park Association, and Tracy Burback of FunTastic Shows, have been working together to create a unique fair experience this month.

“Since COVID restrictions have lifted a bit, and wearing masks outdoors is no longer required, the three of us – and volunteer members of the fairs Board of Directors – have set about re-invigorating the fair,” Coffey told East Portland News during a planning meeting at Oaks Park.

At one of their largest regional judging events ever, the American Rabbit Breeders Association will be holding a competition at the fair this year. East Portland News archive photo

Remaining COVID restrictions will keep 4-H and Future Farmers of America from exhibiting this year, Coffey conceded. However, the American Rabbit Breeders Association will be holding a major, regional judging competition on Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend.

“Considering the wide diversity of residents of Multnomah County, this year the fair is presenting entertainment and activities that represent the many native countries and cultures of people who live in our region,” Coffey pointed out.

Jimmy Mai, Treasurer of the White Lotus Foundation, and a leader of thje White Lotus Dragon & Lion Dancers, says to watch for their colorful and lively “Lucky Lions” at the fair on Saturday, May 28.

One of the many entertainment offerings include the dance troupe from Ballet Folklorico Papalotl. East Portland News archive photo

For example, on one afternoon, Chinese “Lucky Lions” will prance through the fair and down the midway. “And, we’ve reached out to Irish, Native American, Hispanic, seniors, and LBGTQ groups, among others, who will provide a diverse range of entertainment at the all-new Multnomah County Fair,” Coffey disclosed.

Smith chimed in, “Don’t forget that the fair hosts the Creative Living Exhibit Hall in the Oaks Park Dance Pavilion – where Arts & Crafts, Floral, Photography, Needle Crafts, and Foods will be competitively judged. Plan now to submit items, and win cash prizes!” To obtain entry forms and sign up online, go to: CLICK HERE.

Carnival rids and fair food, too

A ride all families can enjoy is The Oaks’ “Tree Top Drop”.

“This is a really good partnership, because Oaks Amusement Park has amusement park rides for all ages, great ‘fair foods’, and acres of free parking all available to our guests,” Coffey observed. [CLICK HERE to see midway fun at THE OAKS this season]

Friends of Multnomah County Fair operates on donations; it was incorporated in the mid-1990s after its own county fair was totally defunded by the Multnomah County Commissioners. “This year, we’ve gone out of our way to invite members of the Multnomah County Commission to come to the fair and be part of this famous celebration,” Coffey said.

Weiner Dog Races” are back at this year’s Multnomah County Fair! East Portland News archive photo

Find out how to enter the “Weiner Dog Races”, see the lineup of talent, and check out all of the entertainment scheduled for at the 2022 Multnomah County Fair – by visiting their all-new website: CLICK HERE to see it.

The Multnomah County Fair – admission to it is FREE at Oaks Park – is open from noon until 7:00 p.m. on Saturday May 28, Sunday May 29, and Memorial Day, Monday, May 30th.

Historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park accessed on at SE Oaks Park Way, 97202, at the railroad tracks at the foot of S.E. Spokane Street in Sellwood. For more information about The Oaks, see their official website: CLICK HERE.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™



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