The 90s may be alive and well in Portland but two hours south in Eugene, Oregon the 60s are flourishing like a flower child. From tie dye, tattooed and topless to forest fairies and free-spirit skippers, the hippie in everyone comes crawling out of the closet for three days each summer at the Oregon Country Fair.
In as bohemian of garb as I could gather (and feel comfortable in), I wandered through the looping forest paths. Lined with moss-cover huts filled with vendors, delicious local foods and colorful crafts, the fair grounds unwound through the lush green fields just 15 minutes east of Eugene in a fantasy splendor like Narnia’s version of the red carpet.
To my right a half-cheetah with devil horns growled by and then to the left a couple of bloomed dandelions strolled hand-in-hand. Hardly able to wipe the grin from my face out of pure joy, I dizzily walked the festival and simply enjoyed getting lost and people watching. Traveling the same route several times without even realizing the similarities, I’d zigzagged through the crowds pulled by my curiosity to view art tucked in nooks and crannies or to stop to listen to a rousing concert by a vagabond musical tribe.
A phantasmagoria of sights, smells and smiles – I have never experienced such a varied festival – or a more welcoming one. Each character at the Oregon Country Fair strutted their stuff like a true individual and showed no fear to standing out.
Combining music, the arts and a whole lot of free-spirit, the Oregon Country Fair celebrates acceptance with endless free hugs. Its a place where anyone – and I mean anyone – can get there hippy on.
Pulling everyone together – the 100% daily hippies, families and even a Hurley clad bro - the Oregon Country Fair offers free hugs to difference.