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Oregon Country Fair goes virtual

Organizers developed a 3D world in which fairgoers can interact with vendors virtually.

Posted: Jul 6, 2020 5:52 PM
Updated: Jul 6, 2020 8:29 PM

VENETA, Ore. -- The Oregon Country Fair will hold its first-ever virtual fair this weekend.

The fair's "m8rix team" developed a 3D video game inspired world in which fairgoers have avatars that can interact with others. 

"You can actually talk to each other," Oregon Country Fair Executive Director Wally Bomgaars said. "As you get closer, you'll be louder."

Attendees will be able to virtually look at booths and buy from vendors as if they are right in front of you. The virtual Peach Pit map was created by the fair's Cartography Crew.

"We purchased a little extra bandwidth to make sure everybody could join," Bomgaars said. "Not a lot of cost was involved. We don't have budget for the year because we don't have an income for the year. It all goes back to the donations and such."

The fair will also livestream music performances and other forms of entertainment. Bomgaars said they may consider adding virtual elements to future fairs, depending how this trial run goes.

"It'll give a chance for our vendors to be able to connect with people and sell their wares for more than just the three days," Bomgaars said. "It'll give us a chance to be connected more."

Buisnesses in the Veneta area are used to seeing increased crowds over the fair weekend. Broadway Grill owner Carolyn Curtis said she is disappointed that won't be the case this year. Curtis said she hopes the virtual fair attracts first-time fairgoers which would help out local businesses once a physical fair returns. 

"Now they get the chance to go through the fair, see the fun and see that it's not just all craziness," Curstis said. 

The virtual event will run July 10 to 12. For more information, check out the Oregon Country Fair's website here. 

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