News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

Wool Fair returns to full in-person events

Reporter for The Canyon Weekly

The Linn County Lamb & Wool Fair is returning to full in-person events this year in Scio, with exhibits and activities throughout town.

Scheduled for May 20-22, the fair will see the return of such crowd favorites as the sheep dog trials, family games, a parade through town, cruise-in and shows for quilts, lambs, tractors, pets, flowers and more.

Fair Board President Karen Borchard said holding the fair in-person once more will give a boost not only to the community but to the many vendors and non-profits who depend on the fair for revenue.

“We’re back, and I really do hope we have a good turnout for everyone because this is a really good fundraising opportunity,” she said.

The fair was forced to cancel in-person events in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though different shows and events were still held virtually. But the lack of a physical fair was still difficult for organizers because they had to pay for the upkeep of facilities regardless.

Last year the fair was able to meet in-person, but events were still limited due to the pandemic. Virtual attendance was brought back, allowing some shows and events to be hybrid so someone unable to enter a physical tractor, lamb, quilt or other item could still compete remotely.

This year’s fair is a return to full in-person events, which Borchard said is a “wonderful” opportunity for personal connections that have been difficult during the pandemic.

“It gives that community togetherness again that we’ve been missing,” she said.

Borchard said those who attend this year will find a variety of events, from the Fleece and Fiber Arts Show, to the classic car cruise-in, to coronation of the fair’s royal court. She said this provides an array of family-friendly activities fairgoers can choose from.

“The whole family can come down and break apart or stay together,” she said. “…We have 29 different activities happening over the three days, so there’s a little bit of something for everyone.”

Other activities include sheep dog trials all three days, a parade through town May 21, and lamb show judging May 22. A full list of activities can be found at www.lambfair.com.

But returning from the pandemic was not as simple as putting familiar events back on the schedule. Borchard said so much has changed in the last two years that fair organizers were pretty much starting from scratch, and they could not have done it without a dedicated group of volunteers.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, and I appreciate every single one of them who have been here,” she said. “We wouldn’t have this fair without our volunteers, and we definitely need more.”

This year also saw events spreading out beyond Downtown Scio to locations like Centennial Elementary School and ZCBJ Hall, though others will remain at familiar venues like Big Red Pavilion and Bates Memorial Stage. Borchard said this will allow more space for vendors and events to set up, and encourage fairgoers to see more of the community.

Borchard said she hopes many people are able to attend and find something enjoyable.

“We have created a venue where we have a wide range of vendors and activities that are designed to appeal to all ages and interests,” she said.

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