“Limited” Multnomah County Fair highlights Memorial Day weekend

INCLUDES VIDEOÖ Here’s another reason many people from the far east of Portland drove to Oaks Amusement Park on this holiday weekend …

While the 115th annual Multnomah Count Fair opens to the public on Memorial Day at Oaks Amusement Park, all exhibits will be displayed in The Oaks historic dance pavilion.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

After the fair was held entirely “virtually” in 2020, the Multnomah County Fair took place “live” this spring on Memorial Day weekend at the non-profit Oaks Amusement Park.

>> To find out more about last year’s fair and what it took to organize this year’s event, see “Volunteers Courageously Prepare for the Humble Multnomah County Fair” CLICK HERE.

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

“Indeed, this is the 115th Multnomah Count Fair; We haven’t missed a year – never – even last year when we hosted the fair, but with no visitors or exhibitors to enter the historic Dance Pavilion building here in Oaks Amusement Park, “noted Friends of Multnomah County Fair” ( FMCF) Chairman Larry Smith, on May 29th – the opening day of this year’s two-day show.


“This year is different when Multnomah County – just two days before we opened – went into the ‘lower risk’ COVID-19 coronavirus risk category,” Smith told East Portland News. “This enabled us to allow up to 50 people in the building; But since we had our free ticket system on the Oaks Park website and there were ‘ticket seats’, we were also able to accommodate runners at the door. “

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

Food supervisor Kimberly Walters says she is dressed like a bee to showcase a new category called “Bakers to Be” – for 6 year olds and younger – teaming up with an adult. This year they started with 20 entries!

This is an “exhibition only fair” this year, emphasized Smith. “That means we have indoor photography, arts, crafts, groceries, fiber art, and flower and garden shows this year.

“Last year, surprisingly, we had almost 1,800 entries; but a little less in all categories this year, ”Smith enumerated. “Fortunately, however, we submitted exhibits from 48 newcomers.”

The Henning family of Vancouver, Washington, is looking at the needlework entries.

Although the fair was abandoned by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in the 1990s, it is an annual tradition for the communities themselves to hold a county fair, Smith noted. “It’s an event that the whole family can attend – many through submissions; and others by coming to see and enjoy the work of others.

“As Multnomah County has moved from a predominantly rural to a predominantly urban area, we are beginning to add more features that will appeal to the urban population,” said Smith.

Photo Superintendent Jeff Muceus awards a photo to an 11-year-old participant who also received a cash prize.

Although it is early in the growing season, a bumper crop of fresh vegetables has been exhibited.

This year’s fair was organized by around 40 volunteers; and despite struggling to keep the Multnomah County Fair viable, they are already longingly looking forward to the next year. “Since we haven’t been allowed to do outdoor activities for two years, we’re going to have three times as much fun next year!” exclaimed Smith.

To find out who this year’s winners were, including those who participated in the Virtual Talent Contest, visit the Multnomah County Fair website at CLICK HERE.

© 2021 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News ™

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