Aileen Kaye looks at art at Pairings! (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

Those who love fair season had a chance to share that enthusiasm together at “Pairings! A Celebration of Oregon.” Held Aug 16 at the beautiful Green Acres Landscape Plaza at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, guests sipped, snacked and danced the night away.

The annual event is a benefit for the Oregon State Fair Foundation. Cheerful volunteers Kelly Walther, Linda Spansel and Jane Bradley offered you a plate and either a commemorative wineglass or tumbler. Dave Bourne from 1430 KYKN was out to share the State Fair news.

Foundation Chair Rich Kansky and Pairings! event chair Bonique Hollinrake showed off the hanging baskets that held 75 pounds of petunias, bacopa and sweet potato vines. Their team at Green Acres Landscape worked hard to make the plaza beautiful for the event.

Pairings! featured over 30 wineries and breweries with savory samples from premier chefs from Wild Pear, Bliss Nut Butters, iWingz, Ritters Housemade Foods, Roberts Crossing, Xicha Brewing, and many others. Sara Duncan worked the Sassy Onion booth, while Dina Greiner and her son Alex Greiner let guests sample some of the 70 flavors of popcorn from their business, Popcorn Fetti.

If you needed a break you could wander into the art gallery and see every type of creation. Aileen Kaye pointed out a piece named Most Intelligent by Pamela Fischer. Capital Calligraphers showed off their skills. Penny White, Sally Keeney and Katy Bayless would write your name in multiple colors.

Penny White and Sally Keeney from Capital Calligraphers write guest names. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

As soon as the sun went down guests moved under the tent to dance to Five Guys Named Moe. I learned that the band was named after the 1943 hit song by Louis Jordan. They are now an 11-piece show band.

The Oregon State Fair runs from Aug. 23 - Sept. 2. The best news is that the foundation will be raising funds to restore two of Oregon’s most historic fair buildings. Those include the 100-year-old horse stadium and the poultry building, which was built in 1921. Find out more at

Guests dance at Pairings! (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)

About the Oregon Fair Foundation: The Oregon State Fair Foundation works with businesses, industries, government agencies and individuals to promote, develop and expand the activities and programs of the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center. The Foundation was established in 1999 and is a registered nonprofit organization.

Mary Louise VanNatta is a Salem public relations professional writing a regular column for Salem Reporter. Tell her about your upcoming event at[email protected] or follow her on Facebook. 

Sara Duncan serves appetizers from Sassy Onion at the event. (Mary Louise VanNatta/Salem Reporter)