After closing last year due to COVID-19, the Oregon State Fair is back, so we took the family to go experience it.
Scores of people attended the fair Monday in Salem, enjoying rides, games, food, animals and all the wonderment that a fair provides. The weather was a perfect 72 degrees with slight cloud cover. Some people wore masks the entire time. Others did not wear a mask at all. Some did a hybrid of wearing a mask where they believed it necessary. It appeared everyone was having fun.
Oregon State Police Troopers patrolled the fair on foot and on bikes. I saw a trooper pick up a little girl’s stuffed animal she had dropped. The pair of troopers giving out stickers and bracelets at the entrance were very friendly and made the family feel safe.
It’s been some time since we’ve been to the fair so the new ticket system had us perplexed at first. The workers operating the rides would scan one main ticket and the balance would be deducted digitally. They could even tell you how many tickets you had remaining if you asked. A nice addition of technology that probably cut down on ticket-waste.
Fair-goers we spoke with said they were suffering from sticker-shock from the price of admission and cost of tickets for rides. A family of two adults and two kids (over six) paid $28. That same family could get 120 tickets for $50, with most rides costing 12 tickets each. A Family of four was able to ride four rides together, which is not bad considering the prices at Disneyland. Seniors (65 or better) could get in for $1.
Long lines were present, with the Zipper, Cyclone, Starship and Yo-Yo having the biggest.
For a mere 12 tickets my seven-year-old daughter could enjoy the military-themed bouncy house, which she said “was okay” (Judging from the giant smile on her face as she plunged down the bouncy slide, I think it was more than okay).
When I asked the Cyclone ride operator if he ever found anything on the ground –seeing as I almost lost my wallet and iPhone mid-ride– he said this:
“I found over five hundred bucks on the ground yesterday. People lose wallets, jewelry, you name it. I turn that stuff in to customer service, but cash floating around is mine.”
What fun it is to smash into family members and random strangers with the bumper cars! We did them as a family and it had us all laughing and talking afterward. I explained that turning the steering wheel was how you drove forwards or backwards and the kids said they wished they knew that beforehand.
Food was plentiful but pricey. I paid $10 for a hamburger that was not very good, but it did its job of staving off crankiness. I realized that the prices got better the further into the fair I went. If I had just held out a little longer I could have had a burger and fries for $10. The food places were all redeemed in my eyes when a street taco provided a taste sensation that took me back to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
A dog jumping off a platform into a pool drew a large crowd. I was right up on the action and got wet as a reward.
People played the games. Popping balloons and throwing rings on bottles was the thing to do in some parts of the fair.
A state fair would not be complete without animals, of which there were plenty. The pigs were squealing, cows mooing and horses neighing. The smell was as expected and the livestock looked healthy. The kids thoroughly enjoyed walking around the pens but were not willing to go into a petting area which was packed with people. Good call, we said.
When it was time to go our kids exclaimed it was the best day of their lives. That was the whole point of going to the fair. So the kids could experience it and have fun.