VENETA, Ore. — The Oregon Country Fairgrounds were a different sight Monday as staff members and vendors worked to clear out. Staff members said while the OCF takes six to eight weeks to set up, it takes less than half that to break down.
More than 45,000 people visited the fairgrounds this past weekend. While the last day of the fair may have been Sunday, on Monday, the site remained as busy as ever. The big party may have been over, but there was still plenty of work to be done.
Empty carts continually went in and then quickly back out filled with their owners’ goods and wares. And whatever was left behind was not forgotten.
“We hand sort everything from the barrels, except for the landfill ones. We really try to keep the waste stream clean,” said Amy Hand, OCF Recycling Coordinator.
Hand says the event’s zero-waste goal was taken very seriously.
“Next year starts today and how you leave it is how you’re going to find it…So it’s a lot of long hours and hard effort and love that goes into making sure we leave this place better than we found it,” Hand said.
While a slight sadness filled the air, staff members said there was no time to mourn for the past.
“It’s definitely a bittersweet feeling. There’s no doubt about it…It’s a frequent joke that we have around here that today is the first day of pre-fair 2014. But it’s actually not that much of a joke. It’s actually very real. We have to start as we’re taking things down now, we’re really laying them out in a way that they’re ready to pull back out and be ready for next year,” said Charlie Ruff, OCF General Manager.
Most everyone will be off and on their way by the end of the day, but certain crews like deconstruction and recycling will be there through the end of the week.