Sunday, September 19, 2021

Opinion: Oregon State Fair

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Oregon State Fair

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 Fair

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.

Zipper Oregon State Fair

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.

Oregon State Fair games

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.

The Oregon State Fair runs through Sept. 6.

Justin Werner
I'm publisher of Lincoln City Homepage. Also the web guy, photographer, cameraman, video editor, sportswriter, tech support, beat reporter, cat trainer and e-bike enthusiast. I have a passion for telling people's stories and keeping my fellow citizens informed.

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  1. 2 adults, 12 year and and a 6 year old cost $30 for the tickets. Food was a bit pricey $17 for a plate of Yakisoba with just a small portion of chicken. $7 for a Mexican style corn on the cob. I don’t mind spending a little extra but let’s keep it real if you are going to charge more at least make it taste good or give decent portions. The food didn’t have much flavor, the yakisoba tasted like a microwave dinner. Parking was $5. There were less sales boots than usual, no reptile. Not worth it in my opinion if you do decide bring your own food or eat out outside the fair at a tasty restaurant.

  2. Grate the kids need good fun times at these times now days with all the trouble virus and schools opening with lots of problems going on. Kids just need to remember to keep there guard up against the bad guy virus running around them now for who knows how long. I think the kids don’t need auntie gov. brown baby sitting them kinder garden age could likely do a better job than what she has been doing.

  3. Children must be the real key to enjoying the fair. The last time Mom, Dad,
    and myself went, it was anti-climatic. The midway was weak, The best ride was the tram, one thing I’ll never forget was when we went to ride the ferris wheel,
    and the operators were only having one occupied seat at a time, now, honestly,
    that really annoyed me, the fair is a participation event, not a one at a time thing, what I mean is the operator was only letting one occupied seat at a time,
    and that was it, go ride the ferris wheel by yourself, and there it is…
    I am glad to see it went on this year, and have no comment about the mask


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