Due to the fact we were staying 90 minutes away from the place we thought we were staying, we cancelled one other planned activity, but we decided to still do the half-day kayak trip.
This meant getting out the door at six a.m. and retracing our tracks from where we had been. But we did it.
We were picked up at a gas station and taken to our launch point. First, we picked out jackets and life jackets. Matt is excited.
We kayaked for a spell. It was the first time either of us had done so. Aside from our guide, our group consisted of a father and daughter who had experience kayaking in bays. The woman was from Portland.
The day was nice and the river was low, so it was a leisurely trip. Halfway in, we got out to do a short walk through the redwoods.
Our guide grew up on the Smith River, which is the only free-flowing river in California. He showed us the rock where he got married that summer, and the house he grew up in, which overlooked the river. The next day, he was starting back as an eighth grade English teacher.
He was a great guide and gave us lots of good information about the trees.
It was very cool how the redwoods loomed.
This platform was built to protect the tree’s root structure. It’s fairly shallow.
Since Redwoods don’t have a tap root, they can keep growing even when their center rots out. Hence the ability to drive through trees.
Or stand inside a still-growing tree.
After that, it was back in the water. I enjoyed kayaking and would like to do it again someday.
“Weird Al is going to be in town next week,” I said to Matt while perusing the entertainment section of the newspaper.
“I know, we’re going,” said Matt.
It wasn’t properly listed on the calendars, so it wasn’t on my radar, but I did dimly recall a text message chain in the colder months of the year making plans to go.
So my first Edgefield concert was Weird Al.
The line was long when we got there.
So long that I got to spend a lot of time contemplating what these structures were. Here’s what a website listing about the Poor Farm says:
By 1914, the Poor Farm was a success on paper. It housed 302 residents and managed a herd of Holstein dairy cows, 100 Duroc hogs (that ate the leftovers from the dining room), 420 Plymouth Rock hens, and 225 chickens. The crops, vegetables, fruit, hay, grain, eggs, and twenty-seven acres of potatoes were shared with the county jail (which provided some trustees to work in the fields), a hospital, and a juvenile home.
My first read was that it was maybe a jail, but upon re-reading I see the food was shared with those locations, not that they were located there. So I have no idea.
Update! I emailed the McMenamins Historian and Caitlin Popp wrote back saying:
Caitlin here from the McMenamins History Department! The structure that you were looking at on the Edgefield property was a minimum security jail. It was opened in the 1960s, was still open when McMenamins took over the property and didn’t close until 2006. Currently it is storage as well as artist studios.
So my initial thought was right! Also, how interesting that there was a jail operating for a time when McMenamins was running their hotel.
Back to the concert.
We secured our seats. When you get to the concert after work, you get to sit behind a tree. Also note that that man in the blue shirt is probably on the quest for the Passport. That’s a shirt from Centrailia they give you for getting that stamp. I’ve got the same one.
Waiting for the concert.
There wasn’t an opening act listed, but the 40-piece orchestra played three pieces, which was a nice treat.
Also early on, I was thrilled when Weird Al sang “One More Minute” which is from the 1985 album Dare to be Stupid and which, with it’s 50s styling, is my favorite Weird Al song.
The distance, the twilight and the tree got in the way of my usual slightly blurry, ultra-zoomed concert photos. This was my best shot. It was interesting that they had the orchestra, plus the drummer behind a wall, which I assume is for acoustic purposes. Someone has that job!
The crowd was the most multigenerational I’ve seen at a concert—everyone from grandparents to small children. He has been making music long enough to have reached multiple generations and I enjoyed seeing when different people had their peak Weird Al moment. Mine was in 1985, but there were a ton of people there who were all in on Amish Paradise from 1996.
Observation: people just wear whatever to a Weird Al concert. I saw two people in cosplay, and a few in Weird Al t-shirts, but most people looked like, they were wearing whatever they had put on that morning.
Another observation: Weird Al Yankovic can sing! I forget, because mostly he’s brilliant with lyrics and I’m paying attention to that, but this concert highlighted the man’s range.
I’ve been Oregon County Fair–curious for many years now, and the date finally made it on the calendar. It happened to be the 50th year of that hippie celebration outside of Eugene.
We left early for Eugene.
I had read it was best to take a shuttle from Eugene to the fair site and I timed our arrival to just before the first bus. That was a mistake. If you want to get to the fair at the opening time, arrive very early for the shuttles.
We chose the standing line, which was moving faster than the sitting line. The lines were very organized, and the shuttle buses came quickly.
I had envisioned the shuttle bus ride to be 10-15 minutes. It was about 45 minutes. When we arrived, we picked up our wristbands (another smooth process) and then there was a bit of confusion as to where to go to get in.
We walked to the back of a very long line that didn’t seem to be moving and as we got nearer to the end of the line a gate (maybe one outside a parking lot?) was suddenly thrown open and a roiling boil of not-happy people surged toward the end of the line.
We ran so we could be in front of them, and a mostly orderly–but still angry–queue formed behind us. Soon after, the long line started moving very fast and we made it into the Fair.
That was the only ugly moment of the day. Fair volunteers were super happy and welcoming and things moved smoothly, especially considering the number of people in a small space. However, it did feel for a moment like there was going to be a hippie riot. Which is probably a pretty low-key riot.
Matt poses next to the Fair Drama Danger sign.
A random happening: stilt walking teeth people.
The fair is a lot of booths and a goodly amount of stages. One of the things I loved was that most of the booths were semi-permanent structures with platforms where booth people and their friends could hang out above the fray. It was fun to see what’s been built up over the years.
Also: condom roses. And I think there were four different booths I saw selling fantasy horns.
Here’s a fun sculpture in an open meadow space.
We checked out the Charlie Brown Comedy Juggling Show. His shtick was that he wasn’t very good at doing comedy juggling shows. But he was. It was quite entertaining.
Here’s a glimpse of fairgoers. This group skewed older, but the costumes, and tie-dye were pretty standard across ages.
We went to the Spirit Tower to see Patch Adams, and caught the end of the Ace of Cups concert. Which was amazing, and I don’t have any pictures because they were being blocked by a tree. I’ve lived more than four decades and this is the first time I’ve seen a live band whose members consist of women. And apparently they “were at the epicenter of the ‘60s cultural and social revolution. ” This was a big win.
Patch Adams was also good. He discussed his approach to changing the American healthcare system. It was great to be able to see a living legend.
More fun fair details. Why have a standard fence, when you can instead have a fun fence?
Throughout the fair were maps in different styles. This one was perhaps my favorite fun, though less legible than others.
We didn’t have a strategy for going to shows, which would be something to revisit for our next visit. But we did sample the food and the food is amazing! It’s the best fair food I’ve ever eaten. Many of the vendors return year after year. Because this was the 50th year, there were vendor stories at some of the booths. The falaful booth we visited has been there for three generations. (And one of the oldest members waved a wand over our strawberry lemon aid to give it that final Fair touch.)
I always love a good land payments display.
This fair is one weekend a year and mostly volunteer run. I marvel at the organization and commitment of the people who make it happen.
Waiting for the shuttle back. Volunteers told us jokes and helped everyone sit in an efficient manner (always appreciated.)
Our seat on the bus. I opted for sitting on the way back. It was a long day.
“You don’t have to dress like a hippie to have your photo taken at the Oregon Country Fair.” So said the guy as we were standing in line for our photo booth photo.
That comment caused a raised eyebrow, but I loved that they had a free photo booth.
I arrived at the Rosetown Ramblers designated parade slot at nine a.m. and groups were already assembling in the parade staging area. Energy was high. Music was playing, people were dancing, talking, shouting.
That energy was sustained for a very long time, but by noon most people had wilted. That’s when I caught this picture of Jim and Eileen.
Energy returned once we started marching, and the parade was, as usual, an overwhelming experience of celebration and joy.
A different production of this play was mounted some years back and I’ve always been a little sad I didn’t see it. So I was excited to see that Portland Playhouse was going to give me another opportunity.
This was my first time at Portland Playhouse and I’m excited to return. What a great small theater!
This was where the musicians sat.
And it was a great performance, too. I was excited to see Ithica Tell, who I believe I last saw in a summer performance of Much Ado About Nothing. But the other woman who made up the cast were equally fantastic. The singing was tremendous, as were the hats.
I don’t usually walk down this street from this direction, so I’d not noticed this very fun mural on the side of a building that houses, among other things, a tattoo parlor. Hence the full sleeve on one of Paul’s arms.
The Rosetown Ramblers went skating at Oaks Park and I had a quite good time.
The skates I rented. Though skating is fun, my feet hurt while I’m doing it.
Look at the price! Yikes!
If I wanted to, I could join the club that makes Oaks Park their home.
But I could probably not join the speed skating club.
I was surprised at how crowded the rink was on a Sunday afternoon, but I guess indoor family fun things are a big deal in February. I managed the skating quite well, and had enough fun that I envisioned a future where I took all the skate classes and became a really great skater.
And then I talked myself down. The joy of being in my 40s is that I can remind myself to focus on the many things I already do that I love.