Daryl Whicheloe, the owner of the Southern Oregon Food and Beverage stand, has worked the Jackson County Fair for years, but said he’s noticed one key difference this year: everyone seems nicer.
“They’ve been way nicer,” he explained. “They miss being around people, so people are much nicer than they were.”
Kindness at the Jackson County fair isn’t an isolated event, either. When Whicheloe worked the Red Bluff Rodeo in April he didn’t encounter a single conflict when it is not out of the ordinary to sees two to three dozen.
The decrease isn’t caused by fewer people, in fact, the events Whicheloe has worked at recently have been more packed than ever.
“They've all been off-the-charts busy,” he said. “They’ve been, if not double, close to double capacity, because people are excited to get out and they're kind of over the whole COVID thing, so they want to get out and enjoy life and get back to normal.”
Lindsey Hay, the owner of Waxy Wino Candles, echoed Whicheloe’s observation.
“People are really friendly, I feel,” she said. “I think they're enjoying being out, instead of being cooped up at home.”
Hay, who normally sells her products at farmers' markets, is working for the first time this year after enjoying the indoor shops at previous fairs.
Two volunteers stationed at the Super Slide, Millissa Dickinson and her son Giavonni Rodriguez, also were rookie fair workers.
The mother and son were hoping to enjoy the rides, but decided to lend a hand so others could make the most of their trip to the fair.
When Rodriguez was disappointed in this year's ride selection, a manager explained they needed volunteers to staff the rides.
“So I asked 'well, what do you need? How many workers do you need? I can come and my son come volunteer here,' and here we are,” Dickinson said while laughing.
The fair will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. The Marshall Tucker Band and Colt Ford will be performing on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Admission tickets can be purchased at the Expo and at attheexpo.com. Parking is free and concerts are also free with fair admissions tickets.