What to know about being a Skoolie Exhibitor at The Bus Fair.

Hi. It's Brock Butterfield. Floundering Founder of Bus Life Adventure. I hope you'll find the information below helpful in deciding if you want to show your skoolie at The Bus Fair. I wanted to give you a little background on how the idea for The Bus Fair came to be.

Our Skoolie Exhibitors are a huge part of our event and without them we wouldn't have the unique and magical event that we do. Because of that, we do our best to make the experience of being a Skoolie Exhibitor one of the most memorable events of a lifetime. This article was written to help give an idea of what to expect for anyone interested in being an exhibitor. But first, a little about the core parts behind the event and what the event supports.

Skoolie Exhibitors at The Bus Fair

Skoolie Exhibitors hanging out on top of Weston McCormick's Skoolie @wessinaround listening to live music.

Core Parts

  • An event for skoolie owners to show their builds and encourage others to take on a build
  • The option for skoolie owners to sell their art or hand made goods
  • Create an event where we can all experience that feeling of a tribe or community while on the road

What the event supports

The Bus Fair has two main goals of supporting two communities. The Skoolie / Bus Life / Nomadic community and the community of Oakridge where the event is held.

Skoolie Community

Each year our event grows and develops and we've learned that providing an educational aspect sets us apart from other similar events. Through our seminars led by some of the most well known in the industry we've been able to help new Skoolie owners get started on the right course. The Bus Fair is also a way for those who are curious about bus life to learn from those already in the community and to gain inspiration and encouragement from those showcasing their builds in all stages.

The Bus Fair is a great setting to meet others in the Skoolie community and make lifelong friendships. We see many leave our event in new groups headed towards the Pacific Coast Highway to explore together as new friends.

Community of Oakridge

When the saw mills closed in the late 80's, the town of Oakridge and its local economy has struggled to stay afloat. As members of the community who ended up in Oakridge by travelling in our Skoolie, we saw a way to help stimulate our local economy by means of putting on an event that would draw out of town visitors.

All of the out of town visitors whether day ticket buyers or campers help stimulate the small local economy by making purchases from small business owners while in town. In 2023 The Bus Fair was able to put over $12,000 back into the local economy by hiring and buying local for all things needed in running the event. The amount of money spent in Oakridge and Lane County by out of town visitors at The Bus Fair is around $41,000 according to a study on the Economic Impact of Travel prepared by a third party for Travel Oregon. 

The Bus Fair has proven its value to the community of Oakridge and because of that we have lots of support from community members, local businesses and the City of Oakridge. Hooray!

What to expect as a Skoolie Exhibitor

Over the past two events we have seen an average of 1,000+ people flock from 27 different states and 3 Canadian provinces to tour Skoolies on display, learn from our educational seminars and camping with other nomads in all different styles of homes on wheels. 

Here's a rough schedule of this years event and what it will look like for exhibitors.

Tuesday 6/18 - Thursday 6/20 - Window for arrival. Arrive by Thursday afternoon at the latest. We'll have a short meet and greet with gift bags for all exhibitors.

Friday 6/21 - Wake up in the beautiful Greenwaters Park and show your Skoolie to a small number of seminar attendees from 10am-6pm.

Saturday 6/22- Show your skoolie on the main day from 11am-6pm to the general public.

Sunday 6/23 - Sunday Funday. Kick back and hang with other exhibitors, campers, volunteers and The Bus Fair staff with options for activities at the event, around town or the surrounding Willamette National Forest (pssst... hot springs...)

Monday 6/24 - Check-out by noon with time to explore all that Oakridge has to offer for recreation. You can also stay for "Linger Longer" for an additional three days (until Thursday 6/27 morning) if you'd like. 

Some finer details:

  • You will only be asked to show your skoolie from 10AM - 6PM on Friday to those who have signed up for the seminar day. The number of allowed seminar attendees is limited and the idea is to give them opportunity to talk to each of you one on one and get some advice for those looking to convert a bus. 

  • On Saturday, the main event day, we only expect you to show your Skoolie from 11AM - 6PM even though the gates are open to the general public until 9PM. After 6PM the "skoolie show" shuts down and you get to come enjoy three hours of music, adult beverage consumption, food trucks and walking through all vendor booths.

  • We will have volunteers whose only purpose at the festival is to come check in on you to see if you need a break during the skoolie show so that you can catch your breath, grab some food and take advantage of the toilets that aren't in your home. Volunteers will sit/stand in your skoolie while you are gone and do their best to answer questions of people taking tours but mostly just to make sure someone doesn't attempt to test your composting toilet. (true story...)

  • Saturday Exhibitor Awards - We typically have a handful of awards including "Best In Show" and "People's Choice" with cash prizes for some of the top awards. Our judges include the Mayor of Oakridge, a local Oakridge citizen and a member of the Skoolie community.

  • We are putting together a Sunday Funday that will be just for Exhibitors, campers and volunteers. This will be a chill day to unwind after the event with some activities at the venue and around the City of Oakridge or surrounding National Forest.

Judges at The Bus Fair

Judges at The Bus Fair ready to announce winners for Best in Show and People's Choice.

Skoolies on display at The Bus Fair

Rows of Skoolie Exhibitors on display at The Bus Fair

What we give you in return for showing your Skoolie

One thing I learned from going to other tiny house festivals as an exhibitor or attendee was that most event organizers didn't realize the amount of work it takes to show your tiny home on wheels all day. Not the case with The Bus Fair. Here's a few key things to note that we'll be doing for you as a skoolie exhibitor. In exchange for taking the time to showcase your Skoolie for two days here's what we give back:

  • Camping passes and primo parking for those onboard
  • Access to all the educational seminars. Even if you've already converted a Skoolie, more knowledge is power!
  • Welcome gift bag stuffed with goodies from us and other sponsors
  • Access to the after hours party on Saturday night
  • Access to Sunday Funday
  • New friendships, free high fives and fist bumps

Gift bag for Skoolie Exhibitors

Skoolie Exhibitors receiving their gift bags at the meet and greet upon arrival.

Live music at The Bus FairAlder Street performs live on stage while attendees enjoy the shaded amphitheater lawn.

How we select Skoolie Exhibitors

Quite possibly the hardest part of the entire event is selecting up to 30 Skoolie Exhibitors. When we have opened up our Skoolie Exhibitor registration in the past we typically get around 50-60 applicants. While we would LOVE to take them all, the venue space is small and unique so we really are limited on the number of exhibitors. We've also learned from past attendees that even 30 Skoolies is almost too many to tour in a day.

We have a committee that reviews each application carefully to ensure we are bringing in as much diversity as possible. Short, mid-size and full size Skoolies. Skoolies in all stages of their build whether 25% or 100% complete. Singles, couples and families. We try our hardest to bring in all flavors of bus life.

We typically try to select the top 30 Skoolie Exhibitor applications by the end of February and send out a notification. Those that didn't make the cut are encouraged to grab a camping pass and still join us as an attendee with the possibility to be pulled from the Skoolie Exhibitor waitlist in the very likely event that a selected exhibitor drops out due to mechanical issues or life changes. We see on average 6 chosen exhibitors drop out each year.

If you are on the waitlist and get notified that we'd like you to fill a spot, we'll refund your camping pass(es) if you accept our invitation.

Camping passes sell out the quickest each year so if you really want to make it to our magical little event but didn't make the cut in the first round, grab a camping pass and secure your spot.

Pet Policy

The food and health board will not allow pets at the event on Friday/Saturday/Sunday unless they are a service animal or if owned but a Skoolie Exhibitor and in or tethered to the Skoolie Exhibitors "home". Emotional support animals do not qualify as a service animal.

If you'll have any pets tethered outside be sure to have plenty of water and shade for them. If you'll have pets inside your Skoolie keep in mind that your door will be opened and closed many times so if you have any escape artists it might be wise to keep them contained somewhere safe in your Skoolie.

Pets are allowed on leash in the campground, Exhibitor area, parks and in City limits. There are some really great trails outside the park with river access and shade. 

The really important part here is not to have pets around the food vendors and lawn of the amphitheater where people are eating food.

Register to be a Skoolie Exhibitor at The Bus Fair

We hope all of that information was helpful. If you'd like to register to be a Skoolie Exhibitor at this years event you can do so through the link below. Much love from The Bus Fair.

The Bus Fair team. Left to right, Catrina Davis, Heidi Miller, Brock Butterfield and Vanessa Tharp.

 

Register Here