Navigating Oregon Country Fair Traffic

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VENETA, Ore. — The Oregon Country Fair opens Friday, and police are warning people to be prepared.

Tens of thousands of people are expected during the three-day festival, which deputies say will affect traffic for those near and in town.

Cassie Ray, a barista at Hillbilly Brews in Veneta, has a front row seat to one of the more interesting shows in western Oregon.

“We get to see a lot of intriguing outfits,” Ray said.

With Oregon Country Fair creativity also comes more cash and plenty of extra orders.

“I don’t know about quite double, but I know about a lot more,” Ray said.

Those who do know estimate the crowds at about 45,000 over the weekend. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office has already taken measures to handle the excess traffic, especially out of Eugene.

“From Beltline on basically kind of stinks,” Ray said.

Starting Friday, the speed limit in both directions will be limited to 45 miles per hour on Highway 126. Signs outlawing parking and u-turn already line the road. The restrictions are expected to provide a little direction and more importantly, safety.

“I’ve seen people dart in front of cars. That was probably a big issue last year, especially because traffic backs up,” said Veneta resident Casey Tiolotson.

For those like Tiolotson who have experienced the fair before, they have a little advice.

“Carpool would be the best. The bus wouldn’t be too bad,” Tiolotson said.

And for as fast as Ray will have to work to keep up with massive crowds, she hopes people will take a moment to make sure they make it safely.

“Make sure you get yourself enough time to get here and go back to where you’re going to get to be. It’s going to be really busy,” Ray said.

The fair will provide free shuttles from Eugene on LTD. The first bus leaves at 10 a.m. at the downtown station or the Valley River Center southwest parking lot. They leave about every 15 minutes. A ticket is required to get into the fair.

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