Oregon Country Fair is a magical event for me, one that treats all visitors to their own unique experiences, stories and souvenirs. It’s safe to say, however, that the visual impact of the event as a whole is fascinating to every attendee. OCF brings a marvelous showing of colors, glitter, flowing fabrics, art pieces and general fanciness in every direction you turn. As an avid Fair-goer myself, one of my favorite things to do is to simply sit and take in the grounds — and the people.
I’m not alone. Scott and Sandy Blackman lived their lives on the Oregon coast and made it their mission to share the Fair’s visual magic with all. After more than 40 years of photographing OCF, Scott Blackman passed away in the summer of 2018. His wife, Sandy Blackman, has made it her mission to continue sharing their love story of photography that includes some of their most fond memories together.
The book, The Country Fair: Oregon’s Alternative Celebration ($24, Dancing Moon Press), was published in 2018 with the blessing and enthusiastic support of the Oregon Country Fair board. The couple had been attending the Fair since the early ’70s and documented the years from 1969-2017. Over the years, Scott Blackman captured enchanting images that truly are the essence of the Fair. With three sections: “The Early Years,” “The Modern Years” and “The Fair Family,” the volume paints a complete portrait of the magnetic visual ambiance of OCF.
The book brings nearly 100 pages of high-quality, full-color images that let you amble through time and the weirdness and wonderfulness that is the Fair. Sandy Blackman has carefully captioned the images, and this creates a dialogue that gives the reader context. The aesthetic created by the combination of the Blackmans’ words and photographs creates a visual trip that is almost as good as being at the Fair.
The Country Fair: Oregon’s Alternative Celebration can be found at: OregonCountryFairBook.com. The book also features images from longtime Fair photographers Paxton Hoag, Ann Goddard, Brad Yozzolino and Jeff Ouderkirk.