2021 OCF Options for Discussion at the Town Hall
(Nov 6, 2020 draft)


On October 5, 2020 the Board passed several motions related to the 2021 OCF.  These are:

1) Direct the Treasurers work with staff and Budget Committee to submit a proposed budget for a December Board vote. The proposed budget will consist of Board and staff budgets for operating 2021 with no three-day event and no Culture Jam camp. The combined Board and staff budgets are not to exceed $680,000, of which up to $400,000 can be payroll costs. These budgets are to include 2021 Merch Sales and a 2021 Virtual Event. Adopt the target of having a minimum of $350,000 of bank deposits in December 2021 and use that target when evaluating what projects to approve. The target amount does not include any deposits that may be on hand due to presales related to a 2022 event.

2) To expand the use of display ad and underwriting announcements to the 2021 Virtual Fair. There are to be no naming rights associated with the underwriting.

3) To direct the Executive Director to bring a recommendation to the December 2020 Board meeting regarding the regulations and health issues related to holding a regular three-day event in 2021.

The Executive Director and Treasurer developed a tactical plan to flesh out options for Board consideration.  The tactical plan called on the Operations Manager to: 

  • Assemble a 2021 Event Working Group, 
  • Define relevant stakeholders and gather input,
  • Create four to six options for in person events,
  • Prepare outlines that include defined goals, deadlines for decisions (e.g., three-day event), estimated timelines, pros and cons, estimated volunteer staffing needs, identified stakeholders for input, and health, planning, and permit considerations, and
  • The options may be ranked by preference.

Staff and the Backup Managers (BUMs) served as the Event Working Group and prepared the following on-site and off-site options for review:

  • By relevant stakeholders (e.g., coordinators of key crews)
  • At a November 8, 2020 Zoom Town Hall
  • And then at the Board Meeting on December 7, 2020.

The goals for all options are:

  • Safe event(s) for staff, volunteers and the public
  • Scalable depending on the circumstances we are facing at the time
  • Revenue positive (or at least revenue neutral)
  • Fun!

The options provided are not an exhaustive list and additional ideas are welcome and encouraged. 

Option A: On-Site Event or Events

Doing an event on site seems like a natural choice.  Fair Family and the public generally associate the event with the site. We own the land and can do what we want within the bounds of the law. We have the space, equipment and infrastructure already on site to support an event. The site is not only a resource, but a draw.

However, absent an effective and widely available vaccine, it is highly unlikely we will be able to do an event in 2020 on the scale of recent Fairs. Therefore, any event on site would have to be different. The alternative event options summarized below will be further developed if the idea moves on. The pros and cons listed for each are not intended to be an exhaustive discussion.

OPTION A-1: Scaled-down version of what we have done in the past

This would be similar in layout and operation but with one-quarter the number of participants. PROs: We know how to set this up; it would satisfy the NCU and therefore would require less permitting. CONS: Only a small portion of  Fair Family would be allowed to participate, and selecting who gets to would inevitably lead to people feeling wrongly excluded;  presents significant difficulties associated with maintaining safety protocols, given physical limitations of portions of the 8 and large numbers of people camping on site; would feel like a Covid-19-impacted event.

OPTION A-2: Three-day weekend of daytime events: vendors in the lots, entertainers in the 8

Vendors (crafts and food) in the parking lots intermixed with art installations and perhaps some strolling entertainers. Use the 8 for an immersive entertainment experience that visitors walk through. (See attachment A for more details). PROS: Would allow a larger percentage of Fair Family to participate by using large open spaces for booths, rotating/redeploying staffing and not allowing overnight camping; would feel fresh and innovative while still complying with social distancing requirements; might spark Family’s creativity. CONS: Would require permitting of some type depending on scale; would require significant planning to adjust to new environment; would require some infrastructure development; Fair Family would be disappointed to not be able to camp on site for the weekend; would not require certain crew functions, so those crew members might have to take on different roles for this year only.

OPTION A-3: Series of one-day events spread over time or presented consecutively or in combination

A series of one-day-only events either spread out over the summer and early fall or held back to back (which helps reduce costs). Options would include concerts, movie drive-ins, vaudeville shows, and craft fairs. PROS: Relatively easy to do; could easily be kept small enough to minimize permitting issues; feels different from the normal Fair. CONS: Only a small percentage of Fair Family would be able to participate; would require some infrastructure development, which would have to come and go after each event; might require permitting of some event options; Fair Family would be disappointed to not be able to camp on site for the weekend.

OPTION A-4: Series of small events held on the winery property

Take advantage of the winery’s allowed uses by holding a series of small events on that site. The events would have to be relatively small and spread out over time. This could range from a series of small concerts to a fundraising event with donors. Events on the winery property could occur in addition to or in lieu of events on the rest of the fair site. PROS: Minimal permitting required; protects winery’s historic uses; allows us to utilize the site’s existing infrastructure. CONS: only a small number of Fair Family able to participate; each event requires its own planning and staffing; we might need to engage in “agricultural activities” (such as making wine or beer) to meet land use requirements.

Permitting Requirements and Constraints

            Non-conforming Use Permit: Very restrictive; won’t support event held in lots; no permit cost.

Statutory Permit: County allows gatherings of up to 3000 individuals for up to 5 days with some camping.  A license must be applied for ($250) for events between 1000 and 3000 and takes about 90 days to get. No public hearing. Allowed only once every 90 days.

Mass Gathering Permit: Allows a gathering of over 3000 individuals with some camping. Difficult process; requires public hearing, likely takes 90+ days after submittal for approval; costs $250. Goes to County Commissioners for approval and their decision can be appealed in circuit court. Significant operational requirements/costs. Requires traffic plan.

Temporary Permit: Allows an event with over 3000 for less than 24 hours. Public hearing. Takes a minimum of 4 months. No structures. Compatibility component with neighbors. Can be appealed all the way to LUBA. 

Special Use Permit for the traditional property: Allows various programing at 4 different locations on the Fair site; memorials and weddings can happen at Alice’s and Main Stage; recreational activities allowed at Dragon Plaza and Xavanadu; camping permitted in Scoff and other lots. However, there is a population caps of 500 or less (varies by location), and the county has additional requirements if more than 250 people will be attending.

Special Use Permit on the winery property: Allows 12 single day events per year, of which four (4) may be “major commercial” events that can attract up to 3,000 attendees. These events must occur between May 1st through October 31st. All events must be over no later than 10:00pm. Use of this permit also requires that the use be tied to the agrotourism of being a winery and so this cannot be used unless OCF starts a winery. 

Any camping will require us to apply for a temporary camping permit; cost is roughly $1000 and takes about 90 days for approval. We will be required to submit a site plan, hand wash stations, Honey Buckets, and appropriate path lighting.

Cost Factors: Water/sanitation; medical response; permits; equipment rental; fuel; art installation costs; entertainer fees; infrastructure; volunteer expenses; ticketing fees; advertising costs; PPE; sheriff?

Potential Revenue Sources: Ticket sales; booth fees; merchandise sales; grants; donations.

Stakeholders: Staff, volunteers, crafters, food vendors, entertainers, art installers, White Bird, City of Veneta, Lane Fire Authority, Lane County government, LTD, neighboring campgrounds, among others.


Doing an event off site could be easier but may not net us as much revenue.  It is possible we could partner with other organizations or entities to make it work. It could be a much welcome celebration for the Eugene community and widen our audience for the future.

OPTION B-1:  Downtown Eugene Street Fair (late Spring)

Weekend long OCF Downtown Eugene Street Fair. This could be in a park or in the rights of way, or both. It could coincide with the opening of Saturday Market or the traditional Spring Fling and feature art, food (OCF food booths and brick and mortar restaurants), music and crafts and perhaps the slug queen!

PROS:  Similar to the much-loved Eugene Celebration, outdoor event reduces COVID risk, potential to partner with many downtown businesses, potential for grants, scalable.  CONS: would require lots of funding partners.

Permits/Potential Requirements: Use of the right of way and parks; police for security.

Potential Revenue/Funding Sources: Merch sales, tickets to timed events in park, special Friends of the Festival type tickets (with some perk).  Possible grants to support post COVID economic recovery

Costs: Permit fees unless waived, band(s), etc.

Deadlines:  Permitting, call for art, commitment from volunteers, advertising, etc.

OPTION B-2: Indoor concerts at partner venues (Fall) (pending phase 3)

This option would focus on a few indoor concerts if COVID permits.  Could include the McDonald Theater; the WOW Hall and Cosmic Pizza.

Costs: Venues (and whatever related costs), Band(s)

Potential Revenue:  Unclear without further exploration; merch sales

Deadlines:  Contract with venues, contract with bands, advertising, commitment from volunteers, etc.

OPTION B-3:  Cuthbert “Country Fair in the City” (Summer)

Summer concert at the Cuthbert with some OCF food and craft booths (if possible).  PROS:  Less work to organize because key infrastructure is already in place, could easily sell out.  CONS:  unclear how much money this would net us without more exploration.

Costs: Venue (and whatever related costs), Band(s)

Potential Revenue:  Unclear without further exploration; merch sales

Deadlines:  Contract with venue, contract with bands, advertising, commitment from volunteers, etc.

Download PDF of 2021 Event Scenarios-Working Draft