When the Corvallis Fall Festival debuted on September 22, 1973, it was the city’s only festival. It began when local businesswoman Rose Ostby approached the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce with her idea of a new community event. The Chamber’s Executive Director, Karl Cayford, assigned her the opportunity to create an arts festival with the understanding that none of the artisans could bring commercially made items. All items had to be crafted and sold directly by the artisans, a policy that remains in effect today.
A festival organizing committee was formed from the membership of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce and Corvallis Jaycees. The first weekend of the inaugural festival, September 22 and 23, 1973 was chosen to coincide with the start of fall term at Oregon State University to welcome back to the students and faculty. Central Park was chosen as the event site because of its proximity to both the OSU campus and Downtown Corvallis.
With continued support from the local community and talented artists from across the region, the Corvallis Fall Festival evolved from that small community festival in 1973.
The Fall Festival’s quality and reputation is known throughout the Pacific Northwest and the broader west coast. All items are still hand crafted and sold directly by artisans. In 2019, the Fall Festival hosted 186 arts and crafts booths, 15 Benton County non-profit food booths, continuous entertainment, an Art Discovery Zone for children, the Young Artists’ Marketplace, a Saturday night street dance, and the Fall Festival Run.
The Corvallis Fall Festival provides sales opportunities for artists, generates revenue for local charities through food booth sales and brings thousands of visitors to Corvallis’ downtown core each fall.
For 47 years, the Corvallis Fall Festival has flourished – enriching the heart of our community, supporting artists, and providing other non-profit organizations with an opportunity to generate revenue. In normal years, the Fall Festival relies on each year’s application and booth fees to fund the following year’s festival. Due to the threat of COVID-19 and the mandated shut-down of public gatherings, the 2020 Fall Festival was canceled, removing those necessary sources of income.
The Corvallis Fall Festival is reaching out to the community for financial support via a GoFundMe campaign following the loss of an entire year of revenue due to the cancelation of the 2020 festival caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Corvallis Fall Festival has been deemed ineligible for any federal or locally distributed COVID- relief funds, due to its status as a not-for-profit entity, and must now turn to the community for help.
Artist applications for the 2021 Corvallis Fall Festival are now open. Festival organizers and artists are excited to bring the event back this fall, but the Corvallis Fall Festival needs donations to make it happen.
Please show your continued support and appreciation of this community event by making a gift to the Corvallis Fall Festival GoFundMe now. Help ensure that we will gather to celebrate our creative humanity, the richness of the season and our unique community for years to come.