Exploring the Oregon State Fair: Rides and Games

Escape to the Fair!

The State Fair is for every Oregonian but especially for the young. On the rides, kids experience and show a pure joy and thrill that comes from being completely in the moment. Still, those of us who are older can experience that feeling too. Just look at the adults on a roller coaster ride wearing grins from ear to ear. There is something utterly liberating about leaving mortgages, politics, and other life challenges behind, if only for an evening. So the next time the State Fair rolls around, remember that a little escapism on the carnival rides can be good for your mental health.

Fairgoers ride the FairLift ride over the fair

Riders get a bird's eye view of the State Fair during their 15 minute FairLift ride about 30 feet above the ground. (Oregon State Fair Foundation)

A girl smiles while riding a fair ride

This little girl is delighted to be in the driver's seat on this ride in the Kiddie Ride section of the 1980 State Fair.  (Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center)

The Enterprise ride at the State Fair

Centrifugal force keeps riders glued to their seats on the Enterprise ride in the carnival section of the State Fair. (Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center)

People play a horse racing game

Giant stuffed bears that are awarded to game winners tempt passersby to stop and play a horse racing game at the State Fair.  (Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center)

People walk through the fairway at the State Fair

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This bird's eye view shows the circa 1965 State Fair Tunnel of Love and fairway. (Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center)

A boy plays the ring toss game

A boy uses a special technique to try to beat the odds in the ring toss game at a circa 1960s State Fair.  (Oregon State Archives, State Fair Photos)