Get ready for a hopping good time at the fair
Bun-Bun and Brendan will be two of the stars this year at the 112th Multnomah County Fair.
Lovingly raised by 12-year-old twin sisters Lizzie and Annie Loveland, members of the Corbett Critters 4-H group, the two rabbits can be found in the Small Animal Barn at the fair, where visitors will also be able to see cavies (guinea pigs), chickens and goats.
This will be the first time the sisters are showing an animal at the fair.
"It's fun because you can play with them, but there is a big responsibility as well to feed them and clean their cages," Lizzie said. "You are caring for another being. We are excited to show the judges."
The fair is a weekend filled with attractions, vendors, contests and much more. It's a chance for people to showcase their skills in agriculture and livestock, and share their hobbies and crafts. The fair will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, May 26-27, and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, May 28, at Oaks Amusement Park, 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way, Portland. Admission and parking are free.
While Bun-Bun and Brendan are broken chocolate and white colored rabbits, they are easy to tell apart by their personalities. Bun-Bun is laid back, content to sit quietly in Lizzie's arms. She doesn't like to move while being watched.
On the flip side, if you look away from Brendan for just a moment, he's likely to hop off.
"It was challenging at first because I wasn't used to how hyper he would be," Annie said. "I have to walk him to get his energy out."
The sisters have been caring for the rabbits for about a year. While they haven't taken the stage at the Multnomah Fair, Bun-Bun and Brendan are used to being in the limelight. They were out enjoying the sun during Springdale's SpringFest, which was held Saturday, May 4, at the Historic Springdale School. The sisters also participated in an animal costume contest this year in Corvallis at the Benton County Fair where the rabbits were dressed as sailors.
"It's fun to bring them to things like this and let the kids see and pet them," Annie said.
Part of showing at the fair means answering questions about your animal. The girls have been preparing to respond to anything ranging from the breed to the names of specific parts of the rabbits.
"In 4-H we study for showing our animals, so I am looking forward to answering the questions," Lizzie said.
The sisters will also join in some of the crafts. Lizzie wants to make a beaded bracelet, while Annie would like to make a metal vase with flame-work glass flowers. After the hard work of showing their rabbits is done, they also are looking forward to exploring the fair and enjoying as much tasty food as possible.
"Last year I got a crazy face painting and we rode a camel," Annie said.
The two joined 4-H after hearing about it from their friends and some gentle prompting from their mom, Sarah, who helps run the group. The Corbett 4-H is thriving, with the small animals group having its largest membership at 25 people.
Many of those people will be joining Lizzie and Annie at the Multnomah County Fair.
Ben White will show his black and white crested Polish chicken named Mona Lisa. This will be his third time showing at the fair.
"I learned you have to stand tall and keep a smile in front of the judges," White said.
Though White's favorite part is showing his chicken, he is also eager to hop on some rides.
Kaden Reams will also be there, submitting his work in the photography competition.
"4-H is really fun and easy to get into," Annie said. "The hardest part is getting the animal and caring for it, but everyone is really nice and fun to be around."
And though it's only their first time showing at the fair, the sisters plan on making this a tradition.
"We will definitely do this again next year," Lizzie said.
The Multnomah County Fair has a special place in the hearts of many East Multnomah County residents, as it all began in Gresham.
In the mid-1890s several members of Gresham Grange 270 and Multnomah's Grange 71 began planning a celebration. Through several years of hard work, the organizers were able to host the inaugural fair, then known as the Grange Fair, in 1907, at the current home of Gresham Little League's baseball field in Main City Park.
At the first fair, a large tent housed the main exhibits, including the queen and her court, surrounded by other carnival attractions. While the inaugural fair was a success, they decided it would be best to move it to a more suitable location — at an expanse of land between Powell Boulevard and Division Street, now home to Gresham Town Fair.
Those early fairs had it all — musicians, great food like a tasty bowl of soup and crackers for five cents, displays of livestock and crops, needlecraft, flowers, a racetrack, popular pig races, and even a tame bear. The Multnomah County Fair thrived in Gresham for decades, until finally leaving after the 1969 fair was billed as "Farewell to Gresham."
This year there will be animals shown from around the county, fun contests for children and run by kids, rope making and knot tying, presentations on how to save the bees, local food and plenty of rides.
Visitors can check out a butterfly garden, explore exotic mammals and reptiles, walk on water, see magic, witness a talent show with acts from around Multnomah County, and enjoy live music.
While the fair is no longer held in East Multnomah County, the spirit of the weekend remains, filled with fun events for visitors and participants alike.