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The exhibits and displays and prizes were there; the animals and outdoor activities will have to wait till next year

DAVID F. ASHTON - Friends of Multnomah County Fair President Larry Smith was ready for a fun, albeit compact, two-day fair at Oaks Park on Memorial Day weekend - with visitors actually allowed inside this year! (There really was a fair there last year, but COVID rules kept the public from visiting it.)After holding the fair entirely "virtually" in 2020, the springtime Multnomah County Fair did take place "live" this year – on Memorial Day weekend, at nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park.

"Indeed, this is 115th Multnomah Count Fair; we've not missed a year – ever – including last year, when we did hold the fair, but with no visitors or exhibitors able to come into the historic Dance Pavilion building here at Oaks Amusement Park," remarked "Friends of Multnomah County Fair" (FMCF) Board of Directors' President Larry Smith, on May 2 – the opening day of this year's two-day fair.

"It's different this year, in that Multnomah County – just two days before we opened – went into the 'lower risk' COVID-19 coronavirus category," Smith told THE BEE. "This permitted us to allow up to 50 people into the building; but since we had our free ticketing system already set up on the Oaks Park website, and there were 'ticket spaces' available, we were also able to accommodate walk-in guests at the door."

Nevertheless, across both days – May 29th and 30th – some 1,500 people visited the fair. It was an "exhibition only" fair this year, Smith pointed out. "That means we had indoor photography, art, crafts, foods, fiber arts, and floral and garden exhibits this year.

"Last year, surprisingly, we had almost 1,800 entries; but this year, slightly less, across the categories. Encouragingly, though, we did have exhibits submitted from 48 new entrants."

Although its own fair was abandoned by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners in the 1990s – the volunteer-operated Multnomah County Fair is an annual tradition, observed Smith. "It's an event in which the entire family can participate – many by making entries; and others by coming to see and enjoy the work of others.

"Because Multnomah County has transformed from being mostly rural to mostly urban, we're starting to add more features that are appealing to city-folk," Smith said.

Even though it's early in the growing season, a bumper crop of fresh vegetables were on display.

This year's fair was put on entirely by 40 volunteers; and, even with the struggle to keep the Multnomah County Fair viable, they're already eagerly looking forward to next year. "Because we haven't been allowed any outdoor activities for two years, we're going for having 'three times the fun' next year!" Smith exclaimed.

To learn who this year's prize winners were, including those who entered the "Virtual Talent Contest", see the Multnomah County Fair website – www.multcofair.org

And, if you'd like to see a brief BEE video of the Multnomah County Fair in action this year, go online – youtu.be/B0IXid5dpUk


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