There is a long tradition of county fairs at the Lane County site in Eugene, and yet, during that time, the county fair has gone through a series of changes. The county fair as it was in the 1950s is not the county fair as it is today. The space and parking demands of the current county fair model, however, restrict other opportunites at the fairgrounds site. Many feel it is time to reconsider what the county fair represents and how it should be presented.
The Lane County Fairgrounds has been the site of more than seventy county fairs. Currently, however, operations at the fairgrounds are largely dominated by the needs and size of this one event. Constraints mandated by the county fair impact decisions made throughout the year. This has been the case at the fairgrounds now for many years, and considering the current financial status of the site, it does not make sense logistically or economically any more.
In the last forty years the county fair has been transformed from a rural to urban agricultural event to a traveling carnival with a rural life sideshow. The main parking lot is filled with overpriced, diesel powered, mechanical rides and a vast junk food mall. It is time to reevaluate the purpose of and values represented by the county fair.
The repaired fairgrounds would not preclude having the Lane County Fair remain on the current site; however, the fair would not look the same. Carnival events would be changed to reflect energy conservation. Junk food booths would be exchanged for local food vendors, and the accent would return to real agricultural/farm exhibits, though large livestock (cows, pigs, etc) exhibitions and equestrian events might have to be moved to another site.