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Lane County Fair 2022: Everything a fair should be and more

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“One Night of Queen” performed at the Lane County Fair on Wednesday evening, July 20th. Herald photo

By GEORGE CUSTER/Editor/The Herald  —  It was warm, quite warm in fact. Had we not had tickets to attend the One Night of Queen concert at the Lane County Fair this last Wednesday, we probably would have skipped going.

It was my first time visiting the fair since returning home to Oregon fifteen years ago. County Fairs don’t change a whole lot over the years: livestock competitions, lots of displays of, well, just about everything that could be made into a competition that needed judging. Canned goods, baked goods, artwork, flowers, quilts, etc… The list is endless. It will take you the whole day to see everything that was offered. We didn’t get that far, though. Legs get tired, eyes start to glaze over, and soon we just wanted to find a nice shady spot to sit. Gotta love a good County Fair, and Lane County’s didn’t disappoint.

The food was plentiful and tasty

I had yogurt that morning in hopes of being hungry enough to try a little bit of everything the food alley had to offer. It worked. I dove right into the first vendor that looked appetizing, washed it down with a cold beer, and started my quest for more tasty things to try.

Guys go straight to the first thing that looks good. The gals taught us that you wander past all the food booths and THEN select your first meal to try. Don’t let your stomach tell your brain its plan; it’s always too short sighted. It lives in the now.

Despite the heat, the event seemed well attended. Lots of families with mothers trying to keep the kids corralled, while dads seemed oblivious to throngs of people that could easily engulf the little ones like a wave breaking over you and sweeping you out to sea. I spoke to one security person who said they were busiest linking wandering children back with their parents.

Lots of rides – if you dare

The rides are becoming more inventive. And, there were lots of them this year. Yeah, go ahead and eat a big chili dog and then ride on the Vertigo. Let’s see what that gets you. I think the ride operators have the most fun. Fair after fair, they’ve seen a lot of queasy, uneasy, stumbling people get off their rides and wander back into the crowds. They must get a kick out of it.

As the sun got lower on the western horizon, things started to cool off, somewhat. The thousands of flashing and colored lights began to come alive. People were becoming a little more lively as the heat subsided. It was almost time for the concert on the main stage.

Main stage music and flowers by Oakridge Garden Club

The Oakridge Garden Club provided this beautiful 1/2 wine barrel flower display at the entrance to the main stage at the Lane County Fair 2022. Herald photo

As we were getting our tickets verified to enter the venue, my wife noticed the display of flowers right at the entrance. The Oakridge Garden Club had provided the colorful display, a nice touch, we thought.

I’m always skeptical of bands imitating others. One Night of Queen, performed by Gary Mullen and the Works, did a great performance. Mr. Mullen’s portrayal of Freddie Mercury was, to say the least, energetic and exemplary. If you closed your eyes, you could swear you were listening to the real deal- Queen.

I think Mullen must have completed a half marathon with his running about on the stage, behind the stage, off to the wings, and elsewhere. By the way, he started out in a shirt but stripped it off after a couple of numbers due to the heat. Also, it’s something Freddie would do.

By the end of their performance, almost all in attendance were on their feet swaying, dancing, and clapping in rhythm with the music.

So, I went to the county fair: check that off the list. There’s still a couple of days left, so it’s worth bearing the heat. Just don’t eat the first thing you see; it’s your stomach trying to take control. Fight it.

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