All Be Fairies

July 11, 2013

By Ari Lynn

Walking barefoot through the freshly cut fields and smelling the scent of the pennyroyal be crushed beneath my feet waft up in the warm summer air is when I know summer has truly arrived. I was born and raised in the Willamette Valley, and as long as I can remember the Oregon Country Fair (OCF) has been a fixture in my life. Over the years, my connection to it has changed, but it remains a steady talisman for me to return to annually and remind myself of a more sublime, light way of being.

It’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t ever been to the OCF just what it’s like. Imagine for a moment, a world you would have imagined as a child where people are free to be who they want to be, where magic is real, and people (if just for a brief time) live in a way that co-exists with the natural world rather than in a way that would attempt to dominate and control it. Imagine a world of fairies, elves, giant puppets, never-ending songs and stories, and people enchanted with the beauty and magic of being. You can head over to the OCF website (oregoncountryfair.org) to view photographs from previous years and to see the overwhelming performance and stage schedule for the 21 “official” stages, but that hardly begins to give you a real taste of the magic of the Fair.

This is not to say that the Fair doesn’t have its share of problems. Every year the on-site clinic, Whitebird, is besieged with people who forgot to drink enough water while they danced the day away in the sun, or people who consumed a bit too much of something else while they danced away in the sun.  In fact, I can remember one year as a kid that a number of children were exposed to some foodstuffs that were laced with an illicit substance. Like any community there are problems, but in general they are few, and they are resolved quickly and appropriately.

Growing up, the Fair and my Fair Family nurtured and supported me. During my teenage years, OCF was a safe place for experimenting and was the place for many “firsts” for me. As an adult, I have integrated the many lessons that I learned at OCF as I formulated my own core values, lifestyle choices, and pursued my artistic endeavors. I credit much of who I am now to those annual weekends playing in the meadows and along the wooded paths meandering along the banks of the Long Tom River.

So, in honor of legendary artist and Oregon Country Fair mainstay, Baby Gramps, sing along with me, “Let’s all be fairies! Tinkle, tinkle, ga-nash, ga-nash, ga-nash!”

Ari Lynn is founder of Dreame Scape Theater, a Portland, Oregon based performance art and event production organization. Along with Meg Russell and Chaellchaell Lynn, he can be seen this year performing “Adventures Out of Space” at The Mighty Tiny Puppet Theater at 11 and 6 on Friday, 2 and 6 on Saturday, and 12 and 2 on Sunday.

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