Creative exhibits will inspire fairgoers in Clackamas County
It's time to "See the old and new in 2022" at the Clackamas County Fair opening Aug. 16 and continuing through Aug. 20.
There is so much to choose from: livestock, live entertainment, rodeo events, a carnival, food vendors and more.
But after seeing the alpacas, piglets and chickens, and chowing down on fair food, be sure to check out the Creative Exhibits in the air-conditioned Main Pavilion. These include the Kitchen Cupboard, photography, quilts, hobby hall, textiles and wool. Floral entries may be seen in the Floral Arcade, located behind the carnival in the old growth trees. Agriculture Crops entries are based in the Ag Barn, near the Orange Gate. And the Art Gallery is in Clackamas Hall, which is the last building on the left as fair goers enter through the Red Gate.
This marks Susan Sommers' 22nd year as the coordinator for this event, and she said she always looks forward to seeing the faces of friends she has not seen for a year.
"I really enjoy it. The skills that it takes to be able to do what the entrants do are life skills that I don't want to see lost," she said.
She noted that there are so many categories in the Kitchen Cupboard that she has made a section for anyone who wants to enter.
"We have international, gluten free, sugar free and vegan. And if they don't cook, they can enter table decorating or gift baskets," Sommers said.
"We have a cornucopia of anything you can think of," she added.
A new event this year is the "Slice of Heaven Pie Contest," dedicated to the memory of Marjorie Thomas and sponsored by her daughter.
Sommers also noted that people are invited to come to the ceremony held every day for the winners of the daily category. Once the entries are judged, visitors are invited to taste slices of each entry.
One memorable moment from the past she recalled was from a boy in the junior category who baked an apple pie based on a family recipe. His whole family turned out to support him and were thrilled when he won first place.
People should stop by the Kitchen Cupboard, Sommers said, because "these people take the time to bake and cook and they deserve recognition."
Jennifer Martin, the fair's floral coordinator, said she looks forward to seeing the variety of flowers and plants that exhibitors bring.
The floral show is split into cut flowers, potted plants, floral design and recycled garden art in both youth and adult divisions.
"Dahlias are by far the most popular entry," she said, noting that growers have access to the Canby-based Swan Island Dahlias, the nation's top grower and breeder of dahlias.
Other popular cut flowers include hydrangeas, sunflowers, zinnias and marigolds. Succulents and cactus are popular to show as potted plants, and fairy gardens also see good numbers entered.
"Kids can stop by the floral department and adopt a plant. A number of local businesses have generously donated plants and other materials so that kids can pot up a plant to take home," Martin said.
She noted that recycled garden art entries are always unique and full of creativity.
"Exhibitors take old/used items and upcycle or re-purpose them for use as containers or ornaments in the garden," she said.
Martin urged fairgoers to "come over to the floral section and get inspiration for what you can grow in your yard, patio or windowsill."
Coordinator Holly Kroening said she always looks forward to seeing the work of new artists and the joy they have when entering for the first time.
Artists enter work in a variety of mediums including oil, pastel, clay and even reclaimed material.
All entries must enter work that reflects the theme of the fair, which this year is out with the old, in with the new, Kroening said.
"The best part of my duties is that I always get a surprise, especially from the kids and how talented they are," she said, adding that fairgoers should stop by to support the artists and vote for their favorites.
This is her first year as coordinator in this category, but Kathleen Hess was a judge last year and wanted to be more involved this year.
"My favorite thing is seeing the youth photography entries. They always have a different perspective on the world," she said.
Hess noted that landscapes and seascapes make up the majority of the entries, most from locations in Oregon.
"This year we added a class for images that depict life in Oregon. We get numerous entries of Oregon landmarks and people enjoying living here, so this allows photographers to show off what they love about living in Oregon," she said.
There were two images from last year that stood out to her, Hess said.
"One was in the humor category. The photographer had perfect timing to capture a bird with a freshly caught dinner defining the 'No Fishing' sign he was perched on," she said.
The other creative image was of the star-lit sky behind a silhouette of a person gazing out.
"There is always a wide range of images and talent exhibited. Looking at the photography exhibit gives you a chance to slow down and view the world, and it may also inspire you the next time you go to take a picture," Hess said.
She added that county fairs are "a wonderful way to celebrate and come together as a community."
"I enjoy seeing the tremendous creativity that all the artists display; the love and passion that goes into creating something beautiful and unique," said Cris Waller, coordinator. This is her first year heading up this category but noted that she has visited the fair and looked at entries for many years.
She said that quilts depicting patriotic themes are always popular.
"This may be the first time we have had a section for art quilts; quilts that are not intended as bedspreads or lap throws but as works of art," Waller said.
"Quilting is an incredibly flexible medium for artists to express themselves. Everything from a handmade bed-warmer in a traditional pattern to a wall hanging with a stunning depiction of nature illustrate the possibilities
of creating with fabric," she said.
She added, "Walking into the building and seeing a wall of color and design is breathtaking."
Hobby Hall, Textiles, Wool
Brenna Ness and Sande Ely are new coordinators in Textiles and Wool respectively, so Lisa Miley, a longtime superintendent of creative exhibits answered questions for them. Miley is the coordinator of the Hobby Hall category.
For Textiles and Wool, Miley said that felted animals have always been creative entries.
"Last year we had one that did the characters of the Minions which was amazing," she said.
Miley added that she wants to encourage more patriotic entries in all divisions.
"We have had some amazing sponsors for bonus premiums on the patriotic entries," she noted.
"It's always fun to see all the different ideas people come up with to enter in Hobby Hall and we just enjoy seeing all the kids bring in their entries," Miley said.
"There have been some amazing, creative collections, dioramas and other things kids have brought in," she added.
In this category, entries are limited to Oregon-grown products and must be grown by the exhibitor. Products must be grown this year unless otherwise mentioned. Grains, nuts and grasses that do not mature before the fair may be products of last year and must be so marked.
Exhibitors are urged to make every effort to have mature fruits and vegetables of excellent quality that are thoroughly clean.
Demonstrations and hands-on workshops
At 10 a.m. on Aug. 16, Bricks and Mini Figs will bring bins of bricks for children to play with.
Rose City Stitchers, Brazilian Embroidery and The Portland Lace Society will demonstrate lace making and other textiles from noon-3 p.m. on Aug. 17.
On Aug. 18, children can make paper mini albums from 1-3 p.m. and diamond painting will take place from 6-7 p.m.
Kids and adults can stop by and build a birdhouse to take home courtesy of The Guild of Oregon Woodworkers at 10 a.m. on Aug. 20, until the bird houses run out. The Raindrop Chapter will also be there with paint and supplies to paint the birdhouses.
For more information about the Creative Exhibits, visit clackamascountyfair.com/creative-exhibits-2.
When: Aug. 16-20
Where: 694 N.E. Fourth Ave., Canby
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