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Get to Know Your Virtual Oregon Country Fair

Helping to salve the sting of the Fair that Wasn’t There

I feel like I’m not breaking news here, but there will be no Fair in Veneta this Summer. We hope to throw a party on the Fairgrounds in 2021, but no Fair in 2020.

Happily though, that’s not the end of the story, because there will be an Oregon Country Fair in the Clouds. We won’t gather in Veneta, but we can gather online. 

Starting Friday, July 10th, you can enter the virtual Oregon Country Fair by going to oregoncountryfair.org. Then, just like every other year, the Fair will be open through the weekend.

Once Friday rolls around, when you click on the “This Year’s Event” you will be taken to the landing page of the Virtual Fair Experi-Meant.

If you see this page, you are in the right place. Consider this the Peach Gate to the Virtual Oregon Country Fair. From this page, you can get to all of the virtual events inside the Virtual Oregon Country Fair. We’ve prepared quite a few events to help ease the loss of the real world 2020 Fair.

Probably the centerpiece of the Virtual Peach Gate is the “Happening Now, Live” button. Whatever is happening somewhere in the virtual OCF, this is the link to find it. Music, Workshops, Spoken Word performances, if it’s happening the the Virtual Fair, you’ll find it here. With 13 stages, and something like 100 acts on the schedule, there is a lot happening. 

Or, as Kirk Shultz, part of the Virtual Oregon Country Fair steering committee, says, “…3 days of live streaming with many many acts, bits, videos, music, speaking, workshops, panels and more. (This is OCF TV!) Different shows each day.”

Or, you can enter the Peach Portal, where a rogue, secretive, ocf-based, multi-crew hacker collective known as m8rix, has succeeded in bringing the Oregon Country Fair to a semi-immersive 3D environment. Wander the m8rix on your phone or computer. Check out Crafter’s booths, listen to music at the virtual stages. Run into friends on the paths.

If you get lost, or need some help, m8rix’s Helping Hands Crew will be available at the Peach Gate in the Clouds.

“Artisan Marketplace” will take you to links for many of the artisans whose booths you would normally visit during the Fair. I’ve heard that numerous crafters are creating special items to commemorate the Pandemic Fair That Wasn’t There.

“Take a Walk around the Eight,”  is our Cartography Crew’s amazing effort to provide a Story Map Experience. An interactive version of the Peach Pit Map can lead you around the grounds while you click links on booths, areas, stages, Whitebird and more.

Part of Cartography’s interactive Peach Pit Map

“Teddy Bear Talks” is the OCF version of TED Talks. Expect insights, humor, and deep ponderations from the folks who take their turn at the mic.

“Commemorative Fair Items” is just like the Commemorative Booths at the Fair. Come get your Fair Schwag. This year, everyone will want to be sporting their very own NOCF Shirt!

“On Demand Videos.” These are wonderful items both new and past organized by stage/area that can be watched playlist style. Get your Vaudeville, Solar stages and more here!

“Ye Old Live Stream Schedule” is where you can find other items Streaming accross the weekend in addition to the Main Peach Stream

“KOCF will host the virtual Hoarse Chorale the weekend of July 10th.  There will be 3 bands on Friday and 3 on Sunday with only a virtual audience.  In addition there will be live remote bands performing and those will also be broadcast live.  

We will also replay the performances beginning at 9pm each evening on our program “Live From the Oregon Country Fair” on KOCF.” ~ Andy Goldfinger, KOCF.

“Films from the Archives” will link you to videos on demand or into the deeper files curated by many and lead by Paxton. (this along with others, is an item that we hope will grow in the coming months)

The Black Lives Matter “Resources and Education” link takes you to items provided by our Diversity Committee and others from our BIPOC community

Yes. The sad truth is: we don’t get to party in meat space this weekend. But, if you are feeling blue because the Fair isn’t There, at least you have The Virtual Fair. All weekend long. 

With a big, big hat tip of Kirk Schultz, from Construction Crew, and the Virtual Fair Steering Committee, for writing big chunks of this blog post. 

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Crafter’s Booths in the m8rix

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Bringing the Fair to m8rix

The GPU Crew

I want to convince you to join the m8rix GPU Crew. We need 2D and 3D artists to help recreate the Fair inside the m8rix. 

A little over a week ago, much of the Fair in the Clouds was still made up of the graphics of an old OCF communication map, overlaying the lidar map of the area. When you walked around the m8rix, all you saw were the lines of the map, at ground level. 

It was like being an ant, walking around on an old OCF Communication Map. 

Now, there’s a Fairground there. There is grass, and trees, and the Long Tom. There are booths and stages, and landmarks. It’s getting to the point where you can visualize which part of the Fair you are walking through. 

That’s all because of the GPU Crew. The GPU Crew is a bunch of 2D and 3D artists who pop into the m8rix, create some art, and then pop back out again. Visually, this is the part of the Fair in the Clouds that is most reflective of its real world counterpart. 

In the weeks between the opening of Main Camp and the Fair, Construction Crew and Site Crew work hard to prepare the Fairgrounds to host the Fair. If you walk the real world Eight in early June, you can see potential for the Fair in all of the overgrown booths and paths. You can also see that there is a lot of work needed before we open the gates to the public. 

The same goes for walking the m8rix. You can see the Fair in the m8rix, but you can also see the work ahead. 

Because Fair in the Clouds is virtual, all of the work is done on the computer. 

Recently, someone on GPU Crew created porta potties. So, the Fair in the Clouds can now have porta potties. Also, there are rumors of a whack a mole style porta potty online game, but, that’s a different crew. 

And now there are recycling stations. Because the GPU Crew is so cool.

If Zak tells you to go get a smoothie, m8rix has got you covered.

Need to figure out where you are in the Fair, or maybe teleport back to the Stonehenge Peach Gate in the Clouds? GPU Crew created bits of Stonehenge and placed them strategically around the m8rix. If you are wandering the m8rix and want to get back to another part of Fair in the Clouds, find a stonehenge and click on the link.

Like I said, GPU Crew is awesome, but they are only human. There’s still a lot of Fair to build, and a short time to do it. If you would like a chance to leave your mark on the Fair in the Clouds jump into the Crew FUNnel! A Fairy Wrangler will connect you with our GPU Crew. 

Who knows?  In just under a week, thousands of people can be viewing your artwork along the pathways of the m8rix. 

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Booths a Popping

The Country Fair isn’t the Fair without the crafters. Okay, and maybe the Fair wouldn’t be the Fair without Vaudville. Also, Peachy the dragon, and Main Stage, …but without the Crafters, none of it can happen. Oh. and the Ritz. The Ritz is pretty cool. 

Still, you can’t create the Fair without the crafters.

We can’t create the Fair in the Clouds without crafters either. Maybe you’re a crafter with a booth looking for a virtual landing spot. We in the m8rix want to help make that happen.

Right now, one of the top priorities of m8rix is helping crafters set up booths in Fair in the Clouds. Just like in the real world Fair, all over the m8rix, booths are popping up during the weeks before the gates open. 

I asked around the m8rix to find out how many booths are in the m8rix. After some discussion about the m8rix map, and the Peach Pit map, Hera, who placed most of the booths, answered: “Pretty much all of them.”

Somehow, we’ve managed to get pretty much all of the standard Country Fair booths into the m8rix.

Which means, if you have a booth in the real world Fair, or Saturday Market, we have space for you in the m8rix.

First thing: Join the m8rix discord server. You will need to join the m8rix discord server to gain access to the tools you will need to build your booth. 

Once you join the discord server, find the Helping Hands crew channel  and introduce yourself. The Helping Hands Crew is focused on helping Booth Folk set up shop. They’re keeping an eye out for you. You can also find them everyday at 11 am in Peach Gate.

After that, check out the Booth Decorating Guidelines and the Booth Decorating Tutorials.

From here on out in the booth creation process, you will be an avatar, creating a booth in virtual space. 

You will want to find the spot where your booth would normally appear in meat space. There are no numbers yet, and booths are placed approximately according to their real world coordinates. Someone else may have moved into the booth that most aligns with your physical booth space. There should be plenty of empty booths nearby. 

Once you settle on a booth, you can decorate it on the spot. Or just pin a single object to the booth to reserve it

According to Adam, part of m8rix’s Helping Hands Crew: 

“A basic booth will have photos of the booth or crafts imported into the virtual m8trix. Those are two dimensional objects that need to be oriented appropriately to fit into the booth scene and also be visible to observers. Importing is easy,  you just drag and drop from your computer to the website. Once in the virtual world, however, you must learn a few basics to move the objects around the space.

My first piece of advice is to position your avatar looking as squarely at the spot you would like to place your object as possible. When you import, the object will already be close to where you want it.”

What all of this means is: Setting up a booth in the Fair in the Clouds is easy.

So easy.

If you are a juried crafter in either the Oregon Country Fair, or Eugene’s Saturday Market, you should definitely get on into the m8rix and claim your spot.

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We Are All Avatars

In the Fair in the Clouds, everyone is an avatar. When you’re watching a show at the virtual Main Stage, you are an avatar. You are an avatar when you are strolling The m8rix (The Eight in the Clouds), hanging at the Community Village in the Clouds, or waiting for your friends at the Peach Gate in the Clouds. In the Fair in the Clouds, you are always an avatar.

If you want, you can be a robot, and accept your default avatar. 

However, if you happen to find yourself waiting for your friends at Peach Gate in the Clouds, you might have time to choose a different avatar. If you want to do that, this the Fair in the Clouds avatar blog for you.

If you simply want to try out a different stock avatar go up to the hamburger menu at the top left of your screen. Choose Set Name & Avatar from the pull down menu.

Something to do while you’re waiting for your friends at Peach Gate.

You will find yourself in a window looking at a robot avatar in the style of this guy:

If you don’t want to be a robot, you can click on the “Browse Avatars” button. In which case, you will find yourself in this window:

You can be Allessandra:     

You can be Todd:

Metal Guy:

Or Cubegradient 1:

Or, choose one of the other avatar options.

Whichever you choose,  click on the Accept button and you’re good to go. You will have your own slightly unique, default avatar, and you’ll be ready for the Fair in the Clouds. 

You will look something like this, when your friends see you in the m8rix.

If you want to sport a custom avatar, the best place we’ve been able to find is readyplayer.me.

If it works for you, this site is a great place to turn selfies into custom avatars. You can use your computer, or phone camera, or use an existing photo. I have had some difficulty getting access to my camera through the app, or even getting off of the initial page. On my computer, I refreshed the page, and was able to move on. My success on phone and tablet has been good, but not great.

Stick with it.

Click “Create Avatar,” choose your gender, take a photo, and you’ll have a young, perfect version of you, to decorate.

You have an array of customizable choices. Work your way through the choices. Change your hair color, eyes, and clothing, and you’re even more customized.

Click on “Copy” below the “Your Avatar is Ready” notice.

Then go back into the Fair in the Clouds. Click on the hamburger button at the top left of your screen. Click on “Set Name and Avatar”

When you click on “Set Name and Avatar” you will go to the “Name and Avatar” window.

Click on “Browse Avatars,” which will take you to the window with all of the avatar choices.

Click on the red  ‘Avatar GLB URL” link in the upper right corner.

Paste the link you copied when you finished making your Avatar in readyplayer.me.

And you will be sporting your bold, new look as you strut your stuff in the m8rix. Watch a few shows, grab a virtual falafel, or just hang with your friends. You will be looking sharp, clean, crisp, and possibly twenty years younger. 

Have Fun. You’ve earned it.

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“What Now?”

Fair in the Clouds had a soft opening this weekend. We opened the virtual gates to Fair Family, in an online equivalent to the yearly, real-world opening of Main Camp. As openings go, well, everything worked, but not everyone got in. Once you got inside Fair in the Clouds, we had entertainment, we had paths to wander, we had people to talk to. The trouble is: it turned out to be a little difficult getting in.  We had nearly 500 people sign into the Discord server, but only 200 people actually made it to the Fairgrounds in the Cloud.  

m8rix looked at this weekend as a pressure test on the system. The only way to test a large number of sign-ins was to invite a large number of people onto the platform. If you were one of the folx that didn’t quite make it all the way, we’ve added some new language to The Peach Portal page that might be helpful. If you are still having problems, be sure to head over to our Help! page and submit a help request. We are very responsive. 

Hopefully, you did make it all the way through the Peach Portal, and wandered the virtual Eight. Congratulations. At least one person who made that far, all the way to strolling the virtual Eight, left us one profound question. 

“What Now?”

That’s a good question. Sure, Fair Family can now explore a lidar-mapped recreation of the Fairgrounds, but a lot of it doesn’t even look like the Fair yet. A lot of It is a bunch of red, black and yellow. What is someone supposed to do with that?

To answer that, think about the opening of Main Camp every year at the Fairgrounds. Main Camp opens on the weekend after Memorial Day, every year, except this pandemic year. Every year, when Main Camp opens, we are not ready to host 50,000 hippies for a big three day love fest. 

Main Camp, getting busy.

The first weekend of Main Camp is filled with assessing how much work has to be done, and putting together this year’s crew of people who are going to help get the work done. 

There are downed trees,

A little less shade in Main Stage Meadow

busted booths,

Winter is often hard on the booths of the Fair.

Overgrown fields,

And not fully grown cowboys.

and who knows how many bureaucratic, interpersonal snafus that need mending.

Zak, teaches us how to un-snafu our interpersonal relations

We always manage to sort that all out, and then,  every year, on the second weekend of July, we party. 

Wally and the Board are committed to having some sort of virtual event during the weekend of the Fair. Right now, that’s what this is all about. On July 10, 11, 12th, we are planning on inviting thousands of people to join us in the Fair in the Clouds. We are offering people the m8rix as a substitute for the real world Fair. 

We have 13 stages that can broadcast live acts, or archived material from deep in the OCF vault. Do you have experience with booking and supporting live music? Let us know. We can use your help.

We have created templates so that crafters can host their virtual booths in the m8rix. Just like every other fair, you can stroll the Eight and check out your favorite crafter’s booth. Are you a crafter who wants to put up a booth in Fair in the Clouds? Jump into our Booth Folk FUNnel

Oh so important: are you an artist, who would like to join the virtual Fair’s construction crew? We need 3D and 2D artists to recreate the iconic spaces within the Eight. Would you like to leave your artistic mark on the virtual Fair in the Clouds? Jump on the m8rix Crew FUNnel. We will give you a piece of the Fair to bring to life. 

Maybe you see yourself as a Fairy Wrangler. m8rix is going need people to help sort volunteers into the spots that best suit their skills. Is that you? We’d love to have you. Let us know through the m8rix Crew FUNnel

Just like any other year at the Oregon Country Fair, now is the time to get things up and running. Come check out the Oregon Country Fair in the Clouds 3D Experience. Maybe you will be inspired to bring your talents online. 

See ya soon,

Getch

Go on in. You know you want to.
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Ext. Sec. campout is a success!

Can I get you anything? Here have an astronaut.

Ashes O’Capitalism to his adored wife, Victory LeFey.
The mosquitos weren’t terrible, but they were present. (Megatron and Dsurion watching the show)

While the External Security virtual campout had some hiccups, there was certainly a lot to be enjoyed. Seeings how this was our first live test, we’re feeling really good about what we learned and the direction we need to take to make it even more robust and accessible.

Some folx had trouble logging in, while others had a seamless experience. Some enjoyed the shows, some found them unsatisfactory from a sound perspective. Some took to creating lots and lots of 3D objects.

We know that there is a lot of wonderful work happening in different ways around the Fair. We’re really looking forward to interfacing with them and being part of the 51st Oregon Country Fair and the 1st Virtual Oregon Country Fair.

If you have thoughts or comments you’d like to share with us, please leave a comment below, or use our support form.

Much Love,