Clackamas County Fair 2011

comments: 133


We wait all year. And then the best day of the summer arrives. The one where we go to the Clackamas County Fair.


I love the fair. I love everything about the fair. I love getting a chance to peek in on this lifestyle I have always, always wanted to be a part of. I love how incredibly friendly everyone is. I love how the kids have this great air of confidence and authority, resting their heads on the rumps of their resting cows, tugging on their stubborn goats (and they really are very stubborn), cudling their bunnies, wearing their fancy new Western shirts. I love how totally nonchalant they are when they win a ribbon. I love how they sit around in the barn in camp chairs playing cards and eating elephant ears and gossiping. I love how serious and proud they are.


I love how willing they are to share it all with us.


I grew up horseback riding every weekend at a suburban Chicago stable. Every Sunday, one of my very generous parents would drive me to the stable, almost an hour away from where we lived, and hang out as I learned what a curry comb was, how to post on the correct diagonal, how to pick hooves, how to canter and jump (and jump and jump and jump). Sometimes I would get to hang out in the barn after my lesson, and that was my very favorite time. I was a city girl with a country heart.


I don't think that's ever really changed.




Especially when I see liquid noses, giant pink ears, and baby-cow eyelashes. [Squeeeee!]





I have to admit that some of the birds scare me, though. Good thing I have a macro lens. Don't peck me.






Awwwwwwwwwwwww. Bunners.


They don't call it kettle corn for nothing.


The lead singer said to the crowd of us watching the band, "So, tell me — what's y'all's favorite food to eat at the fair?" Andy and I without hesitation [and in unison, I might add] yelled out "KETTLE CORN!" which we were, at that very moment, stuffing into our mouths. For some reason, we were the only people who answered. She scanned the crowd and asked again, "Anything else?" And a smiling kid a few picnic tables away yelled out "LAMB CHOP!" Which was pretty much met with total silence. The singer said, "Lamb chop. Okay!" And then she gave up on us all and cued the band.


We saw the kid a few minutes later, having a great time on the mechanical bull.






One of the best things about the fair, besides just getting to walk around holding hands with Andy at the fair, is the Pioneer Village.






There's a circle of pioneer ladies spinning and embroidering.





What I really wanted to do was make a candle.


But it was a little too crowded.


I might get a book and try to figure out how to make one on my own, though. I've never made one before. It looks incredibly relaxing. Andy said he used to make them at summer camp and it was really fun.


Inside the pioneer cabin the afternoon light is golden.



We went back through the goat and sheep barn on our way out. I really didn't want to leave.



We said goodbye to the Grand Champion dam (that's her).


We watched one more round of sheep judging.


And then it was back to the city. What a fantastic day at the fair.


Oh, how I miss our county fair. They stopped it two years ago. The smells, I miss the smells. The candy apples, cotton candy, the best hot dogs in the world, and the people. I really, really miss it. Thanks for taking me to yours. You're very lucky.

Ooooh that little white bun, gorgeous! :)

Phew! Many photos! Can I just say I'm loving all the cowboy shirts? Great detail and yokes on some of them.

I want all of those shirts and one of the cows with the pink ears - How cute is he?!?! Your fair looks marvelous and grand. Often one of my favorite children's book comes to mind, Charlotte's Web, and I leave feeling like Templeton at the fair :)

Sweet wholesomey apples, this was wonderful!

I love, love, love your fair photos. It always makes me feel like I went with you. Gotta find me a fair to go to around here now.

I love watching your photography skill progress and improve over the years. It makes me want to get a good camera and actually learn what I am doing. Thanks for sharing these. We're going to miss my favorite fair this year - four kids ages ages 2, 3, 4 and 6 PLUS a two-month-old baby just doesn't sound like much fun at the fair. TOO MUCH. I'll live vicariously through you this year.

Dang. This has really made my day. I remember when you shared this with us last year. Thank you for doing it again!

Denise Leavens says: August 19, 2011 at 01:25 PM

I can't say it enough - Thank you for the BIGGER photo format here! Now, if only there was some way to carry smells over the internet...

angie in asheville says: August 19, 2011 at 01:32 PM

Are your photos SOOC or processed? We have similar cameras and my color is nowhere near as vibrant.
Loved this post.

Did you take those photos using your new camera? Amazing clarity. Really like the animal shots.

Every single beautiful precious animal you photographed has eyes that melt into my heart, into my soul, and hit me in such a tender spot, I could cry.

I love the fair. I am so thankful you took us there with you!


Now I will have to keep dreaming of the miniature goat I want.

Bliss sigh.....

Okay. What first? The photos at the Pioneer Village - especially the man with hat bending over ! Incredible.

The cow with a pewter nose!!

The bunny - precious.

Amazing photos as always...
xo Jana

wow, those are some gorgeous photos! love the rooster one especially. thanks for sharing!

yummmmmm....ANDY BARS!!! hahahahah xo
love this post Alicia...would love to hug that grey cow!

Christine Strand says: August 19, 2011 at 02:20 PM

Fantastic pictures, Alicia! I feel like I was right up nose-to-nose with the animals and enjoying the rest of the fair with you guys. The Pioneer Village sounded awesome!

How wonderful! I attend the Los Angeles County Fair, and last year they discontinued the kids showing their animals, so sad. I loved seeing your photos, they made my day!

Obviously the purchase of this new camera has allowed you to show us more clearly how beautifully you see. How lovely of you to share your country heart with us. I must say, I'm very smitten with the winning goat (being already rather fond of them -- silly Capricorn) or perhaps it is just that you caught her looking so confident!

My absolute favorite is the Pioneer Village at the Clackamas County Fair! I used to work there helping my friend the Soap Lady! Did you buy Laurelstone Soap???!

Oh my gosh. Thank you so much for this post! I seriously just teared up, at work!

Every summer from ages 0-18 I went to this fair with my aunt and family. We always camped out in her yard the night before and made chocolate chip cookies to take to the police officers working the fair. My mom bought my soap supply for the coming year in Pioneer Village and my cousins and I counted how many piglets we could find.

I went to a fair in Montana (my home now) last week and was so underwhelmed. I was expecting something at least like Canby (this is Montana, after all) and when it didn't live up to my hopes, I spent the rest of the night telling my boyfriend how amazing the Clackamas Co. fair is and that we're going next year no. matter. what.

Thank you so much for all the beautiful photos. You just made my day!

Oh how I love a good fair! I have such wonderful memories of going to ours, and getting to see all the beautiful animals. I wanted to be in 4H so badly when I was a kid, especially right after visiting said fair.
I think I commented last year about 4H, and how my husband got to do all kinds of fun things in it, like raising goats, lambs, and pigs. He also built an aviary for parakeets for one project.
I really wanted that for my girls, but we never lived in an area where we could do it.

Your pictures are gorgeous as ever, especially the cows and the up close shot of that chicken!!!
Thanks for sharing :)

Wish we were there.

Your pics are stunning! I know I enjoyed it more seeing it through your artist's eye than if I had been there in person.

Ouc County Fair is coming and I'm on pin and needles. I may get up enough courage to enter some of my jams or jellies. I don't have a new quilt finished for this year. A million years ago, I was a 4-H member, showed my dairy cows and other livestock. I had my share of success. My children followed and they to had their animals and other projects. So, my grandchildren will be carrying on the tradition. Despite all the food, midway rides and other exhibits, in our county it's the camaderie and getting to see old friends that makes the fair for me. I wish everyone could share in this grand old tradition. P.S. Your pictures as always are beyound words!!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.