Country Fair brought small-town fun

 

Last updated 8/22/2023 at 9:25am

Photo by Bill Bartlett

Apples were fed into an old-fashioned cider press during Saturday's festivities.

Friday night at the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration in Sisters was the scene of smooth jazz and over 300 silent auction items along with a wine and hot and cold appetizer spread that feted attendees. The night was filled with bargain hunters and curiosity seekers who sorted through a cornucopia of vintage and mercantile items in over 25 categories.

There was something for everyone - campers, toy and art collectors, fly fishers, home furnishers, gourmands, and fashionistas. For three hours a steady stream of Sisters folk wound their way through the church's community hall and vestibule, transformed into a showroom and galleria of new and like-new goods.

In the background Jazz Folks, a quartet of drums, trumpet, guitar, and keyboard, kept the mood airy.

Saturday was a wholesale shift from the prior evening's mellow theme. Transfiguration's lawns and parking lot took on the look of a classical country fair complete with all the trappings - jams, jellies, preserves, candies, baked goods, handmade gifts, live flora, and a food court.

The "doors" opened at 10 a.m. Lines were often a dozen deep for the Fair's signature dish of homemade Marionberry cobbler and ice cream. Across the parking lot savvy shoppers were scouring through The Good Book tent filled with hundreds of paperback and hardcover titles.

Dennis Richards scooped up two bags' worth.

"I have a year's worth of reading for under 50 bucks," Richards said.

"This is the best part of the Fair," said Roberta Hughes from Cloverdale as she escorted her two grandsons through the bins upon bins of books.

The boys, Gavin and Levi (8 and 6), thought the books could wait a bit longer. They wanted to get to what was clearly the day's biggest draw: snakes. As in, eight of them, including a nine-foot boa constrictor that wiggled and slithered and mesmerized onlookers.

Little ones waited patiently to mount Duncan, a wild mustang rescue who has been deployed by the Forest Service in recent times for logistical work on wildfires. Duncan was among a menagerie of animals on hand to entertain the many families with children who partook of the day's kid-friendly activities, including face painting and lawn games.

Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District was highly visible with a fleet of fire and rescue rigs open for public inspection. Kids of all ages scampered about the vehicles, taking the wheel and controls in make-believe firefighting.

In another corner apples were fed into an old-fashioned cider press from which sweet juice flowed. A mix of rock 'n roll and show tunes and other familiar music by DJ Rodger Gabrielson played in the background. The silent auction continued inside, with some bidding becoming intense among friends.

Showing the range of the day, a fly-tying demonstration was put on by Roger Fairfield and Chuck Christopher.

Before long pulled-pork sliders and chili with a variety of side dishes appeared. Hungry lines formed, moving rhythmically through the buffet. Throughout the afternoon as visitors departed new ones took their place. It was always full but never crowded, with guests easily flowing to and from the myriad tents of purveyors.

Photo by Jess Draper

Banana soaks in some sunshine, while Parmesan makes fast friends with the children thrilled for the opportunity to learn about and interact with ball pythons at a booth operated by World Wide Animal Ambassadors.

All of the income from the two-day affair is redistributed into the community in the form of unrestricted gifts to various and sundry charitable and public service providers. While the take from the weekend was not fully tabulated by press time, Fair officials were gleeful over the community support.

The preceding 25 fairs have generated $320,000 in collective funds put back into the community. The annual event is a church-wide effort requiring hundreds of volunteer hours.

The Church of the Transfiguration is a unique blend of worshippers. There is no Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, or Congregational church in Sisters. Instead they form one half of the congregation and worship at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays at the Episcopal parish.

At 10:15 a.m., Episcopalians, who formed the parish in 1993, hold traditional Episcopal services. It's all blended as "one congregation with two worship styles," led by an Episcopal rector. Transfiguration holds Sunday school and maintains a choir and two highly regarded organists playing on a Rodgers organ, considered the best such instrument of its kind in the area.

 

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