In normal years, the Fall Festival relies on each year’s application and booth fees to fund the following year’s festival. Due to the threat of COVID-19 and the mandated shut-down of public gatherings, the 2020 Fall Festival was canceled, removing those necessary sources of income. The Fall Festival is ineligible for federal financial relief programs and has not received a dime of relief funding since the shut-down a year ago; therefore, the Corvallis Fall Festival must now turn to you - our beloved community - for help.
Artist applications for the 2021 Corvallis Fall Festival are now open. Festival organizers and artists are excited to bring the event back, but the Corvallis Fall Festival needs your donations to make it happen. Your donation today could go a long way toward saving the Corvallis Fall Festival for the artists who rely on it as a vital source of income, the worthy non-profits that rely on food court vending revenue, and the generations of families who create beautiful memories in the idyllic heart of Corvallis every fall.
When the Corvallis Fall Festival debuted on September 22, 1973, it was the city’s only festival. It began when local businesswoman Rose Ostby approached the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce with her idea of a new community event. The Chamber’s Executive Director, Karl Cayford, assigned her the opportunity to create an arts festival with the understanding that none of the artisans could bring commercially made items. All items had to be crafted and sold directly by the artisans, a policy that remains in effect today.
A festival organizing committee was formed from the membership of the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce and Corvallis Jaycees. The first weekend of the inaugural festival, September 22 and 23, 1973 was chosen to coincide with the start of fall term at Oregon State University to welcome back to the students and faculty. Central Park was chosen as the event site because of its proximity to both the OSU campus and Downtown Corvallis.
The inaugural festival featured 73 artisans from the state of Oregon. Entertainment was provided by the Northwest Banjo Band, the Corvallis Senior Citizens Recycling Band, the Ataraxis jazz group, the Lebanon Strawberry Chorus and Gladys Chambers of Philomath. Several food vendors, including a popular booth that served buffalo burgers, also participated.
From the very beginning, the Corvallis Fall Festival featured children’s activities, including the first festival’s puppet show, “The Mystery of the Moon Coonies.” Despite inclement weather that forced the cancellation of the parade and the Saturday night street dance in front of City Hall, the first Corvallis Fall Festival was deemed a success and became a community tradition that is now nearing its 50th anniversary.
With continued support from the local community and talented artists from across the region, the Corvallis Fall Festival evolved from that small community festival in 1973. The Fall Festival’s quality and reputation is known throughout the Pacific Northwest and the broader west coast. All items are still hand crafted and sold directly by artisans. In 2019, the Fall Festival hosted 186 arts and crafts booths, 15 Benton County non-profit food booths, continuous entertainment, an Art Discovery Zone for children, the Young Artists’ Marketplace, a Saturday night street dance and the Fall Festival Run.
THE CORVALLIS FALL FESTIVAL NEEDS YOUR SUPPORT NOW
Please show your continued support and appreciation of this community event by making a gift to the Corvallis Fall Festival now. The return of the Corvallis Fall Festival will be a balm to our recently fractured and isolated community. Help ensure that we will gather to celebrate our creative humanity, the richness of the season and our unique community for years to come.
Like and Follow the Corvallis Fall Festival on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter to stay up to date on Fall Festival happenings, more opportunities to engage and support, and to celebrate our talented regional artists.
Visit the Corvallis Fall Festival Website
The Corvallis Fall Festival is a 501(c)4 not-for-profit. Contributions or gifts to the Corvallis Fall Festival are not tax deductible. Contributors will not receive any good or services in exchange for their gifts. Gifts received during this fundraising effort will be used to cover the festival’s ongoing costs and expenses to help this cherished community event survive for decades to come.
- Jane White
- Nina Erlich-Williams
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