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Pantsless in Portland

The creator of Erotisphere writes about the website,
the Portland scene, and life without pants.

by AnDroid

The Oregon Country Fair: An Essential Event

Written by AnDroid   
Thursday, 09 July 2009 16:20

It's time for the Oregon Country Fair, my favorite event of the year. I've been looking forward to it for the last twelve months.

For me the Fair represents a return to the core essentials of a happy and meaningful existence. It's okay to express joy. Your own expressions of love and happiness have a direct and immediate effect on everyone around you. We all share a secret understanding of what it means to be alive. This understanding is what connects and--

Oh gawd, why is it that every time I try to write about the Fair I start tripping out on the interconnectedness of all things? Maybe it's because my first experience with psychedelic mushrooms happened during the Fair while I was camping at Zumwalt, one of the campgrounds available for Fair-goers. I was sixteen, twisted, and in love with the world.

Now, over a decade later, I still get all giddy when Fair time approaches. Some part of me that retains a sense of wonder and excitement about the world wakes up. It's like being manic, but without the edge.

It's impossible to explain the Oregon Country Fair to people who have never been to it. Oregonians who have either never attended the event or have gone but “didn't get it” inevitably refer to it as a “hippie festival.” It's hard to argue with that statement, really, but it should be known that I am not a hippie and do not generally get along with the neo-hippies I interact with in Portland. When I was sixteen and howling at the moon with strangers at Zumwalt, I was doing so with long black hair and an oversized Marilyn Manson t-shirt.

Maybe that's where our core interconnectedness comes in. The Fair speaks a universal message of peace and love, and it does so while baring its breasts and grinning mischievously with a joint hanging out of its mouth. That's a message I 'm ready to receive under any circumstances, and I think it exemplifies the ideals that draw many people to Oregon.

In fact, the Oregon Country Fair is largely responsible for my family's move here when I was a young man of fourteen. My parents had been driving to the Fair from Boise, Idaho for several years when they finally said, “If this is what Oregon is like, fuck it – let's move to Eugene.” Of course, we ended up missing the mark and landing in Albany, Oregon, that horrible stench you pass on the freeway between Eugene and Portland, a place much worse than Boise fucking Idaho, but that's another story. The point is the Oregon Country Fair evoked in my parents a feeling that change for the better was possible, that there was an adventure to be had if they only had the courage to uproot and head west to this country's cradle of love.

This year my sister and I will spread our mother's ashes at Zumwalt and the Fair, where I shared some of my fondest and final moments with her. I look forward to seeing the familiar faces of living legends playing music among the trees on the side of the winding path. I look forward to dancing ecstatically with throngs of half-naked people to the music of March Fourth Marching Band. I look forward to my own inner reawakening, shedding the skin of the past and emerging reborn into the world with new eyes. I look forward to hearing Artis the Spoonman, a man so raw and grizzled and real that his voice brings tears to my eyes, shout with all his being: “This is an essential event!”

The 40th annual Oregon Country Fair will take place July 10, 11, and 12 in Veneta, Oregon, near Eugene. Tickets must be purchased off-site and are available at TicketsWest outlets, as well as select locations throughout Oregon and Washington. For more information check out oregoncountryfair.org.

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