Categories: Art+Culture

152 Years of the Oregon State Fair

When the first Oregon State Fair took place back in 1861, the organizers could not foresee the entertainment titan they were creating. But here we are, 152 years later, celebrating the state of Oregon once again as only the state fair can.

People posing at the first State Fair in Oregon City, Oregon in 1861
Oregon State Fairgrounds at Salem about 1862
Ben Taylor's airplane on State Fair Race track in Salem, Oregon, 1910
Marion County display at Oregon State Fair in Salem, Oregon
Treva Falk of Halsey, Oregon, with calves in Oregon State Fair competition, 1939
Salem (Oregon) Centennial Pagaent, August 1940
Salem Cherrian Float for the State Fair, Salem, Oregon
Display of women's attire at 115 State Street, Salem, Oregon
79th Oregon State Fair, 1940

Oregonians travel far and wide to experience all this fine fair has to offer. In fact, the Oregon State Fair has registered double-digit attendance growth for the last three consecutive years. Unlike many “concrete fairs” around the nation, this fair still lays claim to beautiful elements of its past: the ancient oak grove, extensive grassy areas in which to relax, the historic poultry building, and the historic horse arena stand out as examples. The grounds cover 185 acres in total. And yes, the fairgoer’s favorite attractions remain as popular as ever. We’re talking farm animals and carnival rides. Then there’s the world-class entertainment on the L.B. Day Amphitheater stage: available as an advance-ticket VIP experience—tickets at oregonstatefair.org—or as general admission bargain that is free with paid fair admission; up to 6,000 free GA seats per concert. The fair’s Creative Living Department is a modern off-shoot what used to be called home economics. Today this department—in Columbia Hall—is home to everything from robotics to crowd-pleasing culinary competitions. Its Explore Oregon Stage is the epicenter for presentations and demonstrations of all manner.

Out in the Forster Livestock Pavilion, the world of agricultural animals is on full display. In the neighborhood of 4,000 various critters will make their appearance during the Fair. The highlight for many fairgoers will be the long-awaited return of an exhibit featuring a sow pig and her many suckling piglets; people just seem to love it! Complete information on the Oregon State Fair is on hand at
www.oregonstatefair.org. Opening day is Friday, August 25, and things wrap up on Labor Day Monday, September. 4. (By the way, this fair is more fun than is actually legal in 37 states!)

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