County Fair happens in Sellwood - very privately
You read in two separate issues of THE BEE this fall about the dogged attempt by its volunteer organizers to hold the annual three-day Multnomah County Fair, in reduced form, at Oaks Park in Sellwood again this year – despite the coronavirus, and all the state restrictions.
Then you didn't hear much further about it – but, by golly, its volunteer organizers did go ahead and hold popular elements of the Fair anyway. The really unfortunate part was that they were prevented by the Governor's rules from letting anyone in to see it.
The dramatically-scaled-down version of the Fair finally did take place in the Oaks Park Dance Pavilion – albeit without any visitors allowed to attend – on Saturday, October 17. You couldn't be there, but it's actually not too late to enjoy it – virtually! Read on. . .
"Optimistically, after we lost [our usual] Memorial Day weekend, we rescheduled it as a smaller event for the July 4th weekend – but were again denied by officials, including those from the Oregon Governor's office," said Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Larry Smith.
Then, the organization proposed some other dates, later in the summer and into the fall; finally settling on a weekend – if it would be permitted then by state and county officials.
"It was going to be a ticketed, time-limited-entry Fair, set up through our host, Oaks Amusement Park – to carefully control the number of people who could come by the historic Dance Pavilion to view the exhibits," Smith explained.
That weekend event, to be called the "Multnomah County Mini-Fair and Fall Festival", was again postponed by regulators, and the date was moved to Saturday, October 17.
"We pleaded with the Governor's office to allow us to host a 'virtual Fair'," recalled Smith, who is also a 35-year veteran television producer at Metro East Community Media – primarily of the "The Body*Smith Workout" show.
"In the end, the only reason it took place at all was that officials allowed us to accept entries from exhibitors, by their dropping them off at the entrance of the Dance Pavilion," Smith told THE BEE. "Surprisingly, we got quite a few exhibits in!
"But sadly, we couldn't admit even one member of the public into the building to see it," Smith reflected. "We'd been limited to a maximum of 10 people in the building at any time; so, it was only our many volunteers, working in shifts, including the judges, who saw the many wonderful exhibits on display here this year."
With the help of Photography Exhibits Superintendent Jeff Muceus, Smith photographed the exhibits and combined the photos with video, showing the winning entries. "We've produced this into a show, and put it on our website – so the public can enjoy the Fair remotely, even though they couldn't come in person," said Smith.
So, in the end, it's not too late to enjoy a virtual tour of the 2020 Multnomah County Fair by visiting their website – www.multcofair.org
"We're already looking forward to putting on the 2021 Multnomah County Fair next spring!" Smith exclaimed. It should be on Memorial Day weekend, Saturday through Monday, May 29-31, 2021, at Oaks Park beside the Willamette River in Sellwood.Keep your fingers crossed.
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