Exploring the Oregon State Fair: Weird and Wonderful

Weird or Wonderful... Why Choose?

One person's entertainment is often just plain weird to another person. And let's face it, the State Fair is known for having strange stuff. But rather than reject the wacky and weird, maybe we should celebrate it as evidence of the capacity of the human mind to think outside of the ordinary. After all, one of the main reasons to go to the State Fair is to see unusual things. So, this section offers some of that along with some wonderful things too. Weird or wonderful? You decide!

A dog with glasses poses with paws on a car steering wheel

Lucky the Dog, "the world's most obedient and human canine," appears to drive a car in this promotional photo. This clever dog and his human, Roy Newman, offered to perform at the 1948 State Fair. (Oregon State Archives, State Fair Records) View entire promotional flyer.

A mule dives into a pool

A mule dives into a pool at the 1963 State Fair. The "diving mules," trained by Jonny Rivers, gave four performances. (Oregon State Archives, State Fair Records) For those viewers who can't imagine a diving mule, this 2009 YouTube video from Texas shows Smokey the Diving Mule in action.

A telegram offers to show a two headed bull at the State Fair

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This 1949 telegram insists on the best location at the State Fair to show the only two headed bull alive in the world. (Oregon State Archives, State Fair Records)

Senator John Kennedy campaigns for the presidency in 1960 with a crowd at the State Fair

A crowd strains to catch a glimpse of 1960 presidential candidate, John F. Kennedy, at the State Fair. The future president gave a speech that ended with:  “I come to this valley in this fair today asking you to join me in the great national effort to rebuild the strength of America here and around the world. I think this country is ready to move again.” (Courtesy Stephen Heine) Listen to Kennedy's speech via YouTube.

Several sets of twins pose

Twins of all ages pose for a photo during the State Fair's 1964 special day for twins. (Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center)

Twin sisters pose at the State Fair

Twins Karen Covey and Sharon Covey-Koskela ham in up at the State Fair Twins Day circa 1960. Sharon's granddaughter, Kelsey Quinn, works at the Oregon State Archives and helped produce the gallery version of this exhibit. (Courtesy Kelsey Quinn)