We love festivals, but they are expensive! People frequently ask us how we afford to go to so many summer festivals, and the answer is very simple: we volunteer! Today I want to share our experience with the Oregon Country Fair, where festival volunteering is at it’s best!
What is the Oregon Country Fair?
What is OCF (Oregon Country Fair) you ask? Good question. There are a few big festivals in Oregon over the course of the summer, but the Oregon Country Fair is the longest running, and probably the most versatile. There’s something for everyone at OCF, with circus performers, acoustic music, EDM artists, flow arts, workshops, and more! This versatility makes the Oregon Country Fair far more appealing to Tom and I than the other Oregon music festivals that many people flock to.
Why OCF is festival volunteering at its BEST:
Oregon Country Fair tickets are pricey if you want to visit for the whole weekend, but as a volunteer your admission is free. Also, the public is not allowed to camp on the fair site, so Oregon Country Fair camping is for staff and volunteers ONLY. This is a huge perk that I have not encountered with any other festival, because after the public leaves around 7pm there are still about 15,000 volunteers that keep the party going all night long (and I do mean ALL night long), it’s a blast.
Volunteering with the Oregon Country Fair also means that you receive vouchers that work like cash at the many food vendors located all over the festival. This is another unique perk that OCF offers its volunteer team. Many festivals will provide a commissary for volunteers with free (but mediocre) food. At OCF you can take your vouchers to any of the gourmet food stands at the fair, and eat the delicious food of your choosing. Tom and I love this perk because food tends to be our biggest expense at festivals. Though we always bring our own camp kitchen set up to festivals, we rarely spend any money on food at OCF! (Read about what our camp kitchen includes, as well as our must-have festival gear)!
OCF's stunning location:
OCF also takes place in an unbelievably beautiful setting. Located in Veneta, Oregon, the Oregon Country Fair takes place in an idyllic forest on the Long Tom river. The setting gives the entire festival a whimsical, peaceful feel, and inspires a lot of fairy art and costuming.
The stunning natural setting also inspires conservation, and OCF aspires to be the largest waste-free festival in the country. All of the cups, food trays, and napkins at OCF are compostable, and they have a silverware system where you receive metal silverware with your meal, and then drop the silverware in one of the dish bins located all over the fair. They also have a huge recycling team that collects and sorts recyclables all weekend long. (Northern Nights Music Festival is another festival we LOVE that is in a breathtaking location!)
Tom has volunteered with the Oregon Country Fair for over 25 years, and I have been volunteering for 4 years. It is a staple of our summer, and we cannot recommend it highly enough if you are looking for a unique, playful, and fun festival experience!
Want to read about our absolute FAVORITE place? Check out our posts about Black Rock City, Nevada (also known as Burning Man):