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Friday, July 03, 2009

OCF Sign Painting crew

Last weekend we enjoyed an insiders view of the Oregon Country Fair as part of the Sign Painting crew. The preparation that goes into this 3 day weekend event is phenomenal! We were just 3 volunteers out of hundreds, working behind the scenes to create this unique festival. We camped for 2 days and were fed some amazing meals while we helped out---there were probably over 300 people just at Saturday's dinner---and the preparation has been going on all spring, & even earlier! A lot of the property is underwater during the winter months, but once the water recedes the work begins to clean up, prune back & repair the fair area and the fields & forests encompassing the acreage. We stayed near the "Cow Palace" which is sign painting headquarters and worked with 3 other painters and one supervisor. Here are some of my favorite pics from last weekend---if you right click on a photo, you can open it larger in another tab or window if you'd like to see it closer.

This was a floral arrangement that caught my eye at the area we had our meals. Love that spiral!

As we were leaving the meal area after breakfast our first morning there, this lovely lady was perched all by herself on this post near the entrance. Eliza was standing nearby, waiting for us, totally unaware of the presence of this beautiful bird. As I walked up I asked Eliza who her friend was, & at that moment she noticed the bird with a startled jolt of surprise!

Working at the Cow Palace:

New booth "address" signs we painted in preparation for new painted numbers. A fairly simple job I volunteered to help with.

Once the backgrounds were dry 3 of us went to work on the list of booth numbers---now that was a challenge! I'm not a letterer (or numberer either!) so my first attempts were pretty lame. The last two I really liked though! Initially I was just lightly penciling in the placement of the numbers with a stabilo pencil then hoping I'd be able to use the paint & brush to make the number "pretty", like one using a calligraphy pen would do. Nope, no luck! After a few poor examples I then started drawing the whole number in with the stabilo pencil which turned out some way better finished pieces!! Amazing how a bit more planning = success! Eliza jumped in to paint a few numbers too.

We took a walk through the abandoned fair grounds where the skeletons of booths were overgrown & waiting to be cleared & cleaned up. After the fair is over the booth owners remove boards that might prevent rain & sunlight from reaching the ground to enable the area to continue to grow during the off season. It's interesting to see everything as a shell of sorts, although everything is still pretty recognizable and artsy!

This little fella was munching a mushroom near where we were painting:

Brad & Eliza re-painting one of the fair signs---

Some of the signs all ready to go, painted by crews earlier this year.

The meal area, and one of the "little" salad bowls!

Meanwhile, back at Cow Palace...

Finishing up a couple of my favorite numbers...

The sign crew for this particular weekend:

The Oregon Country Fair is July 10th, 11th, & 12th, just 13 miles west of Eugene.

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