With 50 years of history, the Oregon Country Fair is cancelled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The three-day arts and music festival started in 1969, and is held annually in Veneta, Oregon. Each year, colorful, painted and costumed vendors, crafters, volunteers, and visitors converge to “nourish the spirit, explore living artfully and authentically on earth, and transform culture in magical, joyous and healthy ways,” says the OCF website.
The cancellation is in response to Governor Brown’s reopening guidelines, which prohibit large gatherings such as concerts, festivals, and sporting events – until an effective treatment for COVID-19 or a vaccine is deployed.
OCF Executive Director Wally Bomgaars released a statement announcing the cancellation, while also stating that the organization is exploring the possibilities of a virtual meetup. Bomgaars said more details will be released in the future.
The statement reads, “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!“
By Sam Schultz