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Jun-05-2009 06:53printcomments

Organizers Say This Year's Oregon State Fair is BIGGER Than Ever

The 2009 Fair will be an 11-day birthday party as Oregon celebrates 150 years of statehood. With 185 acres of fairgrounds, an expected attendance of 385,000, and with over 9,000 things to do, see and taste, that’s a BIG party.

Oregon State Fair
Oregon State Fair photo by Tim King

(SALEM, Ore.) - June 4th, 2009– Once again, the 2009 Oregon State Fair will be too BIG to miss! On the heels of last year’s Fair – which boasted an attendance of 365,000 people – and with a number of fun new events to celebrate Oregon’s 150th birthday, organizers are expecting a BIGGER turn-out in 2009.

“We can think of no better place to celebrate Oregon than the State Fair, which embodies everything that makes our state so great,” says Connie Bradley, Acting Fair Director. “We invite everyone to come celebrate Oregon’s 150th birthday in grand style, and to rediscover the State Fair, which is among the best values Oregon has to offer from August 28-September 7.”

Oregon’s Big Birthday Bash

The 2009 Fair will be an 11-day birthday party as Oregon celebrates 150 years of statehood. With 185 acres of fairgrounds, an expected attendance of 385,000, and with over 9,000 things to do, see and taste, that’s a BIG party.

There will be special programming each day of the Fair to celebrate the sesquicentennial. Opening night kicks off with the internationally renowned Pink Martini and the debut of “Oregon! Oregon! 2009” – a rollicking Stan Freberg/Thomas Lauderdale musical with an all-star Oregonian cast.

Also on August 28th (5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) is “Celebration Oregon,” the only all-Oregon Wine Competition and Awards Ceremony, plus wine tasting with 50 wineries and ten Oregon chefs. The $45 admittance fee includes a free “Oregon! Oregon! 2009” ticket (limited to first 500).

Other sesquicentennial birthday events include a bike parade, antique car display and USO-style variety show. And towering over the festivities will be a new 55-foot tower, made from recycled steel, recreating the old State Fair Flame from 50 years ago, now lit with renewable energy sources.

What’s New at the 2009 Oregon State Fair?

* Two New Stages of Live Entertainment. The addition of the Spirit of Oregon stage, featuring Oregon artists and the Car Toys stage in the expanded Sports and Recreation area, bring the total to eight stages of free live programmed entertainment during the Fair.

* 11 Straight Nights of Top Performers. From country great Reba MacEntire to American Idol winner David Cook to pop star Katy Perry…plus The Doobie Brothers, The Gaither Vocal Band, Disney Under the Stars, and the Oregon Symphony…the 2009 concert line-up is not to be missed. Tickets for all concerts go on sale at 10:00 AM on Monday, June 26th, 2009. Tickets will be available for purchase at TicketsWest (1-800-992-8499 or and all participating Safeway TicketsWest outlets in Oregon, and at the Oregon State Fair office (2330 17th Street NE Salem, OR; 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on weekdays). All concert tickets include free admission to the Fair.

* Helicopter Rides. Taking off from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day of the Fair. For $20, sightseers and thrill-seekers can enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Fair and the Salem area.

* Blues, Brews & BBQ - August 28th-30th (Picnic Grove). During opening weekend, Fairgoers can enjoy live blues, professional competition BBQ and microbrews.

* NPRA Rodeo Finals and After-Party with Aaron Tippen - September 1st- 4th, 6:00 p.m. (Pavilion). Four nights of free professional rodeo will be topped off by a “Down in the Dirt” after-party concert featuring country star Aaron Tippen on Friday, September 4th. After-party concert tickets are $10.

* Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular – August 28th & 29th at 10:00 p.m., August 30th at 9:00 p.m. (Sports & Recreation Stage). This one-hour spectacle will thrill audiences with a multi-media laser and light show set to the music of Pink Floyd's greatest hits. Free with fair admission.

* Sea Lion Encounter – Get up close and personal with these amazing creatures every day of the Fair. Free with admission.

* Demolition Derby – August 28th, 8:00 p.m. (Pavilion). It’s time to smash ‘em up at the Oregon State Fair! Free with admission.

* Monster Truck/Tuff Truck Combo Show – August 29th, 2:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. (Pavilion). See these modified monsters with over sized engines, huge tires, and suspensions crush small vehicles. $5 at door (not including fair admission).

* 100 Years of Pendleton Fashion – All days of Fair (Jackman-Long Building). Take a walk through time and fashion with this display, which commemorates Pendleton Mills’ 100th anniversary.

Organizers say the Oregon State Fair remains one of the best values in town. Ticket prices (advance tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children age 6-12; kids 5 and under are free) remain lower than almost any kind of family entertainment, and once on the fairgrounds, many of the activities – especially those aimed at kids – are free.

In 2008, most fairgoers stayed 5.4 hours and attended an average of 1.7 days.

Some other 2008 Fair statistics:

Size of party: 3.6 people
43.2% male
56.8% female
20.2% first time visitors
36.7% attended in the last 5 years
69.4% attended 2007
91.4% plan on attending 2009

Top reasons for attending:
42.9% annual tradition
32.5% animal exhibits
27.9% home arts & hobbies
26.9% commercial exhibits/concessions
24.9% farm garden & floral
24.2% animal shows
22.9% food and beverage events

Overall enjoyment 4.04 on a 5.00 scale

80.6% of Fair patrons would recommend attending the Oregon State Fair to others

76.3% of Fair patrons rated their overall enjoyment of the fair as very good or excellent

2009 Key Information

August 28th - September 7th, 2009 (Labor Day)

Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem

Sundays-Thursdays: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.

Adults (ages 13 - 64): $8.00/advance, $10.00/gate
Seniors (ages 65 & over): $4.00/advance, $6.00/gate
Children (ages 6 - 12): $3.00/advance, $5.00/gate
Ages 5 and under: FREE
Parking: FREE

General admission tickets are available for advance purchase at the Fairgrounds (2330 17th Street NE, Salem, OR) and at all participating Safeway TicketsWest outlets.

For more information about the 2009 Oregon State Fair, visit

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.


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