The Oregon State Fair

comments: 157


I love the fair. I love it. I love everything about it. I am so happy there.


Why are cows so nice? They seem so nice. I think they're beautiful. They look like corgis to me. I'd like to feed her daisies and make her a crocheted halter.


Yes, and you girls too. I'd make halters for you girls, too. Of course I would, you pretty girls.


Hello, ponytails. You're awfully sweet as well. At the Clackamas County fair a few weeks ago I kept calling goats "lambs." Like, I'd walk up to a 4-H kid standing there with her goat and say, "I like your lamb." And then the kid would be like, "Uh . . . it's a . . . goat." And Andy would be positively screeching. Especially the second time, not five minutes later, when I did this exact same thing. "Is that your lamb?" "Uh — it's a goat." "Ohmigosh!!! I am so sorry!!!" Andy guffawing, etc. I do know the diff between lambs and goats except that apparently I don't. I'm pretty sure this is a goat. Yeah, I'm sure this is a goat.


There is a very cool horse arena at the fairgrounds. It was built in 1919 and it is really old fashioned. It reminded me of Culver, where I used to go to horse camp in the summer. I want to go to horse camp again. Or actually I would settle for being the 4-H girl I always wanted but never got to be. You 4-H and Pony Club girls are so lucky. But you know that, of course.


Here's Bill and Marsha, my new friends. They think we should take up square dancing. Bill says he's kinda new at it. He's only been dancing since 1976. I said, "Huh, that all?" Yes, says he, but everyone's real nice to newcomers and it's a lot of fun.

How sweet are they.


'Course, I was just sitting there thinking about what kind of dress I'll make for myself when I start my square-dancing lessons. Something like this, with several-dozen different fabrics in the patches?


The dress I was wearing only had a slight A-line, though it did have this little loop-de-loop pocket trim.


It was more of a jam-making dress, in my opinion. Much like the ones my grandma used to wear, though she called them "housedresses." They were always homemade by her, of tiny-print calico in usually red, navy blue, or black, with snaps all the way down the front, and trimmed in bias tape. Trimmed everywhere, trimmed hem, sleeves, neck. Two big pockets. Trimmed pockets. I SO totally get the whole housedress thing now. The perfect summer garment. The patch pockets are key. You've got to have the big pockets for all your stuff. I could've fit one of these jars in my pocket, it was that big.


I did not grow up going to county or state fairs. I've heard that the ones in Oregon are thriving, compared to other states'. Maybe it depends on the state. I wonder what other states have great fairs. I bet Iowa and Wisconsin do. If I had to guess.


I love the idea of celebrating all the parts and pieces of our home-lives and communities. Our squashes, our jams, our angel-food cakes. Our goats, our dances, our horses all braided, shiny smooth. What can I enter next year? I want to bring something. Just to be part of it all.


A pie?


Not a cake. I could never compete. If you look closely, you'll see that this is a tower of sewing supplies on a "quilted" tier. Those polka-dots? Fondant buttons. It was adorable.


I gave myself a blue ribbon for actually going on the chair-lift that takes you from one end of the fair to the other without falling off or screaming hysterically the entire time. Let me just say that it is much higher when you're sitting in it than it appears that it will be from the ground. I was gripping the side pole so hard I got a cramp in my elbow, and my other hand (holding the railing) was absolutely drenched in sweat. I was a wreck. As such, I did not trust myself to hold the camera without dropping it like a bar of soap, so Andy took these photos. I was too busy concentrating on what we were going directly over, and calculating whether, when the chair fell off the cable (as it no-doubt was just about to), it would be better to fall on top of  the slanty canopy of a food cart, the metal roof of a food cart, or a tent. I kept looking at the faces of the people riding toward us and they looked . . . so relaxed. Weren't they calculating and gripping? No.



If I alone must keep suspended the entire chair-lift ride through sheer force-of-will, then that is what I must do. I will do it. That's how much I love the fair.


Don't cha love the fair I am trying to decide if I am going to enter some stitching of some sort this year....Here in NC we have a HUGE 2 week long fair where you see something different every day. I just saw the write up in Artful Blogging yesterday very nice congratulations.

Oh, how Wonderful! My grandparents took me to a country fair (we don't have "state" fairs in Canada) when I was little and I throughly entranced with all the farm creatures. My grampa had always told me stories about the dairy farm that he grew up on, which had Jersey cows. He would wax poetic about how rich the cream was, how delicious the butter was...

Great pix, A!

I love going to fairs, but I haven't been to one in years. Your photos made me feel like I was there!

Fairs are alive and well in Wisconsin :o)
Your pictures are wonderful and pretty and interesting.
Such a nice tour!

If you would like to see a Thresheree....stop by my blog, I think you will like it :o)

My favortie one of your favortite colors ;o)

How are you going to tell your new friend Marsha that you should never wear glasses where the frames come above your eye-brows....

Thanks so much for taking us to your fair. Love it all! In NH each county has a fair. Our is next month. We always look forward to going, but after seeing your beautiful photos I cannot wait!

As someone originally from WI, I can tell you that the fair is alive and well there. Our county fair is still going strong and has that small-town, country feel to it. The state fair is fabulous and is one of the highlights of the summer...

You're much too cute to NEVER put pictures of yourself on this blog! I wanna see that dress, Dude!

Your photos are lovely! Maybe someone will make me a cake like that sewing one for my birthday one day...

Your photos are beautiful. I love how you always capture so much light and yet the images are not washed out. Thank you so much for sharing and giving inspiration to those of us who are desperately unartistic!

wow..your photos are delicious! i felt like i just returned from the fair after viewing them. thanks :)

Oh I love a good fair! What fun. The Oregon one looks worthy of planning a vacation around! Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Jacksier says: September 03, 2007 at 08:21 AM

Thanks for the wonderful day trip. I am spending a quiet Labor Day weekend at home catching up on life, my blog, odds and ends of my book, my neglected garden. But, I was feeling like I really ought to get out and do something. Yes, I know I haven't really gotten OUT, but you made me feel as if I had.

Thanks again

I love your pictures of the fair.

What fun! Wish I'd been there! Just to give you hope, I used to be afraid of EVERYTHING before I turned 40. Then, a transforming passage occurred and, now, I'm hardly ever fearful. I even went on a couple sorta' big rides at Disney AND a water slide at Calamari. Anywho, looks like you had a wonderful day. Illinois and Wisconsin have fabulous State Fairs. They serve some ridiculous food among all of the wonders. I understand that the Cream Puffs they make there are as big as your head and ALL fresh, trillion% fat content dairy products! From the photos it looks like your weather is as glorious as it is here- the perfect "last breath of summer" blue sky!

oh so cute. looks so much like the NC State Fair I went to as I was growing up, but haven't been to in ages since I don't live there anymore. Now i really wish I could go!

"Our state fair is a great State fair....." Oh how I love the fairs. We have a nice county fair. My daughters are in 4-H, so fair week we spend ALOT of time there. They do photography, sewing, cooking, and creative arts. This year, my oldest brought home 3 2nd place rosettes. Beautiful and so proud! I always say Im going to enter my soap, but never do. Ohio has a great state fair, but Oregon's looks beautiful! Im glad you had a nice time.

P.S. I love cows noses. They feel like velvet. :-P

Thank you so much for this post! I have been thinking about the state fair nonstop for about a week now, and I can't wait to go! Your photos and words capture it perfectly. It doesn't look like the Oregon state fair is much different from ours in Oklahoma. Happy autumn!

Love your pictures! I'm a down-home Iowa girl, and our state fair is a much anticipated event for me every year! It just keeps getting better and better!

You were wondering what to enter next year...why not your photos?

I had the SAME chair lift experience at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk! All the chairs coming toward us were filled with relaxed people, some with TODDLERS, swinging their feet and looking over the side. I was just praying to get to the end.
Your Fair trip sounded like so much fun. You'd be the ultimate domestic goddess if you entered a pie or something. Something so vintage and wonderful about that.

These are excellent photographs! Makes me remember going when I was a child. Sad that I have skipped out on the fair the last few years but your pictures remind me of how great it is and I am going next year for sure! :)

My brother-in-law never sleeps on air planes as he has to concentrate to keep it flying.

I love the square dance couple, Bill and Marsha. What a great slice of America you captured in each and every one of these State Fair pictures. Hometown fun, sky rides, animals, baked goods....I can smell and hear the fair in my mind.

Alicia you are so funny! Thank God we don't have to wait for a magazine to print your writing, we can see it, read it and enjoy it weekly, if not daily! I love your writing. I too am afraid of heights and my oldest son's favorite animal is the cow. ha! He keeps up with what the neighbors cows are doing and how many babies they've had. He loves cows. I love your blog posts, the visual and the literal. And how exciting to see your sister Julie's home featured in Romantic Homes magazine this month! What talent must course through your family's veins. Keep it up. Angela

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.