The last weekend of April holds one of the best family outings Portland has — ever (yep, we’re going there). The Oregon Ag Fest is an awesome event that will have your kids wishing they were farmers. From learning how to lasso to petting super cute puppies, here are 11 plus reasons to mark the Fest on your calendar stat.

oaf41. Tractor rides and horse drawn carriages. Aw yeah. This fest plans to shuttle you around in style on tractor rides and horse drawn carriages. If your legs get tired from all that walking, get carted from building to building around the Fairgrounds. It’s included with admission.

2. Biggest. Petting Zoo. Ever. Named after one rad cow, Nosey’s Neighborhood is nothing like you’ve ever seen. There are so many animals – cows, sheep, goats, pigs and rabbits to name but a few –  kids will be screaming, “It’s so fluffy!”

3. Lasso lessons… Real life cowboys will give your wranglers a lesson on how to rope a runaway steer. You’ll be trying to catch a wooden saddle horse. Crazy fun.

4. Hazelnut sensory tubs broken out by age groups. Here’s where the Ag Fest folks really earn our respect. They’ve got three different tubs full of hazelnuts for the kiddos to sit in, fill and dump cups and just rummage. Each tub out by age so the little toddlers are away from preschoolers, who are also separate from older kids.

5. Cow milking (yeah they’re wooden) – Our kiddos are still talking about the “real” milk that came out of those wooden cows and utters. And nearby this station are kid-sized digger tractors and sandboxes. All of this fun is inside and covered if the weather’s wet.

6. Big trucks, combines and farm equipment are on display in the parking lot. Kids of all ages will be checking out the heavy machinery. While they can’t climb on the displays, they’ll be glad to know that further inside, there are tractors for climbing. Plus, in between buildings you may just find a fire engine or two.

7. Music, concerts and performances galore. Inside the main building kids choirs, dance troupes and local talent are showcasing their finest all day long. Tables and chairs and soft serve ice cream (and lotsa concession type food) await here. Full schedule with times and acts for this and all things OAF is available on their web site.

oaf18. 4H displays and interactive exhibits for inquisitive toddlers. Little Oregonians can play with dollhouses, farm scenes, seedlings to plant, potatoes to dig up, and all sorts of other interactive joy.

9. Puppies! We can imagine the joy on each kiddo’s faces. This station was a big hit last year, and it’s always hard to give them back when your turn was up. Be careful you don’t bring a few home!

10. Mini pedal tractor races inside and it’s insanely fun. This is a big hit with the bigger kids who can reach the pedals and zoom about. Parents can push around some littler kiddos, too but even just kicking back and watching the ride is pretty cool.

11. Pony Rides in the Pavilion. Happening in the Agriculture Pavilion amongst are pony rides. This is always a fab activity  that tots big and small can’t get enough of, and here there’s no fee to ride ‘em, cowboys. Big love for that.


Who’s Hungry?
Onsite you can get the usual festival/fair type food. Last year there was a Mexican cart in the parking lot, so we have no doubts there’ll be delicious meals to choose from. Bringing your own food from home is a-okay and if it’s a nice day, there’s plenty of grass outside for a picnic. Otherwise, if you’re looking for some shade, tables and chairs abound inside.


Things to Know Before You Go
There are vendors of all kinds from trinkets and toys to craftspeople selling their wares. Face painting and clowns making balloon animals are onhand, so don’t worry – there’s lots of other fun things to spend money on. Having cash in your pocket never hurts.

With the many volunteers and staffers around, any lost kiddos are readily helped and found. We cannot say enough good things about this farmers’ delight of a day. Go see for yourself and have even more gratitude for life in Oregon.

Time: Sat., April 26 from 8:30am – 5pm; Sun., April 27 from 10:00 – 5:00 pm.
Cost: Free for kidlets 12 and under. $9 for adults. Parking is free as well.

Oregon State Fair & Expo Center
2330 17th St NE
Salem, Or
Online: Oregon Ag Fest

—Liz Overson

Thank you for the photos Oregon Ag Fest web site and Facebook page and Liz Overson.