“Amber must get a costume on! To the costume tent, Amber. To the costume tent with you!” said the woman I was just introduced to the Saturday night of the Oregon Country Fair. Being a newbie to working and camping at the fair, I was all over my day outfits but lacked in nighttime apparel. Saturday night I tried to get away with wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt. The people at the campsite in which I was technically crashing were having nothing of it.
I tapped into my inner summer theater camp child, as I participated in Star every summer growing up, and delighted in the giant red tent filled with costumes galore. Sequins, hats, boas, shoes, masks, you name it! Even a mirror to look into and declare: this is my outfit!
Ignore the blur, though it is quite apropos of the evening.
This post has been the first post in which I really sat down multiple times and attempted…and attempted. How does one capture the Oregon Country Fair in words and a few images? And in all honesty this is an impossible task. The OCF is to be experienced first hand and by everyone. I don’t care if you are hippy or Gucci, or a Guccihippy (as my ex titled me back when we first met). Everyone needs to make it to the OCF at least once in his or her life. I must point out that experiencing the OCF as the “public” (the people who purchase passes to come during the day) is a vastly different experience than working and camping at the fair.
Six fairs ago I worked the Bicoastal Café booth with an incredible woman I will call my soul sister. I met my soul sister the day after I moved to Eugene and we became…well, soul sisters. She was my mentor through my year working as a doula (childbirth couch), she married my ex and I when we eloped down by the kickball field at which we met, and she continues to inspire me as she is a woman that will go down in history books.
There happened to be an opening at the booth again this year due to a guy breaking his foot weeks before and my soul sister thought I might want to jump on said opening. Are you kidding me? It’s practically impossible to get in on working the OCF as once people establish a position they come back to work it ever year, even if they move to some far away land.
This year, though my soul sister was working the fair she now has a littles (baby), I was pretty much on my own. It. Was. So. Good. For. Me. I figured out the ins and outs of working and camping at the fair, made what I’m sure will be lifelong friends, met strangers that want to help with my birthday party fundraiser (details to come), had some soul searching alone time, and just ate the whole weekend up like the tasty gift it was. And I burned a ton of calories trekking all my stuff to and from my car. I got woman muscles and shit now.
And so the following will be my best attempt at telling a fair experience using some pics and snidbits of stories from my OCF 2012. But please keep in mind that the magic of OCF will never be able to be experienced via anyone’s blog, in any paper, from any story told over a beer, or anyone’s excessive Facebook posts.
The people are my favorite part of OCF. From the great parents and their ridiculously cute kiddos…
Is she not the cutest? And her daddy isn’t too bad either. (For the record: I always ask if I can take pictures, especially when children are involved. And I ask if I can post them.)
My soul sister handed me her littles. Don’t worry, readers, I actually have littles loving skills.
…to the fun and creative costume sporters…
Loved these two.
…to the stranger I met while enjoying my morning artichoke who has a beer making business and is going to make a Wonder Woman Red and an Extra Amber for my birthday party (true story), to the booth co-workers I had never met before but because of them I had the most fun I have ever had working. (Well, close to it. I did get paid once upon a time to basically party…as long as at some point in the evening I removed an article or two of clothing.)
I randomly stumbled upon a booth in which you could decorate an intention cloth, for free, that is going to be strung together with the rest and brought to Burning Man to be burned.
And the outfits at OCF! Oh the outfits! People celebrate their bodies and their creativity at OCF in a way I wish they felt comfortable enough to do all year. Mine paled in comparison to many. The first year I worked it I wore a Saran Wrap dress, lime green wrap to be exact. I had a friend wrap me up as I spun around and then I put butterfly stickers over my nipples and my whoha. This year I went with an Oregon Ducks theme for Friday…
The itty bitty top I “wore” when I was a stripper, after home games of course, the rest of the outfit I have just collected. My entertainment reporter friend saw me walking around on my onesies and felt the need to cover me.
…a rainbow theme for Saturday…
None of this came from my box o’ stripper clothes, just from a good ol’ used clothing store. The 19-year-old male booth co-worker I asked to “tat” up my arm with the stickers decided to take some creative license.
…and a Wonder Woman theme for Sunday. I had people take pictures of and with me Friday and Saturday, and maybe of my ass hanging out of my far-too-short star skirt on Sunday unbeknownst to me. (Which, believe it or not, challenged my level of comfort. I am not a fan of my ass. It looks like a pancake that’s not quite cooking right. But I did make a point to wear red panties to match my ensemble.)
If you have ever been to OCF during the day, you know how much constant stimulus abounds and how enjoyable it all is. If you have ever worked OCF and camped there, you know that it really comes alive at night. Each night at OCF was a truly movie-like magical experience for me, but all very different. For the sake of your attention span, I will focus on the epic night that was my Saturday night. (Note: I may be leaving out some details as to not incriminate myself.)
After getting into my costume, my newfound fair pack and I followed a cauldron of candlelight into a meadow at which we stumbled upon a full amphitheater concert under the stairs. (True story.)
The cauldron holder had a bunny tail on.
After enjoying the music, the stars, and the crowd; the cauldron lead us to a silent rave. You read that correctly. We came upon a DJ laying down mad skills as ravers raved in the dirt and the dark. It was actually silent as everyone had his or her own set of baby blue headphones on. I quickly walked up to the DJ to get my inventive set. It was such an odd but cool feeling to be dancing and feeling the music next to strangers and my fair pack as an “individual” yet we were all listening to the same beats, at least I think we were.
Our fair pack made friends with another fair pack and sat at the one concrete slab at the fair and passed around Ninkasi beer, aka local liquid gold. I made a friend outside the Porta-Potties who joined my pack and then him and I climbed a tree house for the rest of the wee hours of the morning. Lunch shift slinging chicken wraps the next day was just a bit of a struggle, which is why I tapped into my Wonder Woman powers.
And these people, these hard working and oh so fun people that ROCK the Bicoastal Cafe booth, I will see you next year. With all new outfits of course, and hopefully some more lady muscles. I will want these lady muscles because in my old age, I enjoy being a hard worker.