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It's been a couple of decades since Multnomah County ended support, but its Fair goes on

DAVID F. ASHTON - At this officially-sanctioned show, hosted at the fair, American Rabbit Breeders Association certified judge George Germaine here was grading a French angora bunny.
All of the fun and interesting ingredients that compose a county fair, typically held in the late summer or fall, was taking place in the springtime – at the 2019 Multnomah County Fair, in the last week of May. These days, your county fair takes place in historic, nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park in Sellwood over Memorial Day weekend – this year, the dates were May 25-27.

"At this, the 113th edition of the Multnomah County Fair, there's everything you would expect to enjoy," exclaimed "Friends of Multnomah County Fair" (FMCF) Executive Director Larry Smith when THE BEE arrived on Saturday, May 25.

DAVID F. ASHTON - From Howling Creek in Hockinson, Noah Robbins demonstrated police dog training for fairgoers. Here, training begins with his new student: Franklin, a German Shepherd. "And, we look for new events to present – we keep bringing in new and interesting things that haven't been in county fairs in the past. Our opening day this year we christened 'The Dog Days of Spring at the Fair' – which included a dog parade, and doggie costume judging," Smith said. "And more serious – but fascinating – is watching highly-trained law enforcement canines, and trained working dogs, go through their paces."

Another new attraction that caught the interest of visitors was called "Bugs Galore and More". Smith remarked, "They have all kinds of creepy crawlies, including bugs and reptiles. I understand the iguanas like to be petted!"

The Oaks Dance Pavilion was filled with judged exhibits in many categories – including plants and flowers, food preparation, arts and crafts, and quilting.

The fair had to move in the mid-1990s, when the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners gave the fairgrounds, now known as the Expo Center, to Metro, and cut all of their own county fair's funding – dumping it into the hands of the FMCF volunteers.

"We're so grateful that Oaks Amusement Park has hosted the fair for several years now, allowing our more-than-a-century-old tradition to continue," Smith told THE BEE. "Our all-volunteer organization believes it's important to keep providing this true family event going – which continues to delight kids – of all ages."

"A disappointment this year was that, after the brief resurgence of county 4-H Clubs, with governmental funding drying up, local 4-H has had to cut programs and lay off their staff – so there was only a very limited 4-H group exhibiting here this year," Smith explained.

If you missed it this year somehow, there's always next year – again, on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday through Monday, with gate admission to the fair and parking both free. For more information about the fair, go online – www.multcofair.org

Oaks Amusement Park, as you probably already know, is located just north of the west end of S.E. Spokane Street, at 7805 S.E. Oaks Park Way. Turn north at the railroad tracks, just above the Willamette River, in Sellwood.

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