Fair Offers Pandemic Emergency Relief Grants

posted on Jun 26, 2020


Eugene, June 26, 2020— Even though the covid-19 pandemic has canceled the 2020 Oregon Country Fair, the OCF Board of Directors has opted to continue the Fair’s longtime commitment to community philanthropy with Special Covid-19 Emergency Relief Grants for 2020. The Board set aside $20,000 for the grants.

Lane County nonprofits with programs related to emergency assistance for economic hardships created by the pandemic are invited to apply for the grants. The deadline is July 17, 2020.

For more information on the Special Covid-19 Emergency Relief Grants, go to www.oregoncountryfair.org/philanthropy.

Over the years, the Fair has donated more than $1.5 million dollars to philanthropic organizations. In normal years when the fair takes place, grants have gone to social service agencies and nonprofit organizations through both the Jill Heiman Vision Fund and the Board of Directors’ Donations Fund.

NCU and 2020 Fair Cancellation

posted on Jun 19, 2020

As we noted in the May 7, State of the Fair announcement, the Fair operates under NCU (Nonconforming Use) rights which could have been lost if we did not hold an event this year. It also stated that we have been working very closely with Lane County to preserve our property rights in these unique times. Today we have good news!

On June 16th, the Lane County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to amend the County Code regarding Nonconforming Use limitations. This means we (and all other Lane County events in this NCU category) have been allowed this one-year hiatus. This also means that we won’t lose the NCU status due to cancelling our July gathering. A special thanks to the awesome team that put in the effort to make this happen.

Unfortunately, the 2020 Fair is still officially cancelled. There will not be a gathering of any kind on the Fair site. Please be aware that the site will be closed and secured from July 3rd through July 13th. This is important for the health and safety of our community, staff, our immediate neighbors and local community.

Please watch for more information and visit oregoncountryfair.org  in the coming weeks to find out about exciting options to engage with the Fair Community this year.


Statement of Solidarity and Support for Racial Justice

posted on Jun 09, 2020

The Oregon Country Fair expresses our profound outrage at the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others before them whose lives have been taken by racial violence.  We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the ongoing protests occurring throughout our country against the systemic racism that leads to these horrific deaths.

As an organization and community, the Oregon Country Fair is committed to the quest for social justice and the right for all people to live creative lives of dignity, respect, and meaning. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic and yet more killings of Black Americans have exposed the systemic racist underpinnings of our country and revealed how short we have fallen in creating a nation with “liberty and justice for all.”

We need to call out and condemn racism, oppression, and injustice when we see them in the world – but that starts at home.  We pledge to look within and prioritize the difficult and uncomfortable work of challenging and overcoming the deeply entrenched personal and organizational assumptions and biases that have hindered our progress toward becoming a more welcoming, inclusive, and equitable organization and community for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Fair Update

posted on May 07, 2020

State of the Fair

We’re sorry to say that our traditional gathering on the Fair site in July will not be taking place. It’s important that you do not plan on it happening.

The health and safety of the public and local communities are paramount to the Oregon Country Fair. The organization will follow all state and federal recommendations regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, including Governor Brown’s statement today on event and gathering limits. As we stay committed to this, we are also working to protect our ability to hold the Fair in the future. The Fair operates under legacy “nonconforming use” rights that could potentially be lost if we do not exercise these rights by holding an event this summer. We are working with and through all the appropriate government bodies to find a solution that preserves our property rights without risking further spread of COVID-19 in the community. We will continue to keep everyone updated on the matter.

In the meantime, we are looking at all the ways we can come together as a community virtually, and are excited about the many ideas and possibilities that so many are bringing forward. Stay tuned for more on this soon!

Wally Bomgaars
OCF Executive Director

Update from our Executive Director

posted on Apr 21, 2020

Greetings Fair Family,

Over the past several weeks, life has changed for all of us. From social distancing to working from home to wearing PPE like homemade masks, we all are adjusting to a different way of life built on hope, creativity, and community while bound by one question: “When is this going to end?” We don’t really know.

The Oregon Country Fair is embracing the unknown for the 2020 Fair. I can promise you that the Fair Management and Board of Directors are carefully reviewing all options and considering all factors that weigh into decisions that have to be made. Decisions that we know will have a profound impact on all of us, including communities local to the Fair.

As many already realize, the gathering in July will probably not be happening, at least in any way that resembles what we are familiar with. There is an opportunity for us all to work on what the Fair could look like outside of gathering together physically. While we are not yet ready to officially and fully cancel the July gathering, we can advise that you hold off from making any plans or commitments for it.

Please know that we are working diligently with Lane County, the City of Veneta, and others, to do whatever is necessary to preserve the future of the Fair, not only for the Fair Family, but for the organizations the Fair supports, and the local businesses that rely on Fair-goers and the Fair itself for patronage.

We understand and appreciate the time, love, creativity, and dedication all of you have for the Fair and for each other. For many, it is a touchstone for what is good, what can be, and what is best. These times require an imaginative and meaningful Fair Family transition to new opportunities to connect with each other. I encourage you to reach out to each other. Help us all remember that Oregon Country Fair is not just three days every July, but a year-round way to live in the world with each one of us anchoring a valuable place in it.

Over the next few weeks, I ask for your patience, understanding, and good thoughts as we move closer to making decisions about the Oregon Country Fair for 2020. We will let everyone know more about the status of the 2020 Oregon Country Fair as it becomes available.

Thank you.

Wally Bomgaars