Show your skoolie and sell some handmade goods!
*Registration Closed But Sign Up For The Waitlist At The Bottom Of The Page*
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.
When I first came up with the idea for The Bus Fair I decided that at its core I wanted to see the following three things:
- A way for skoolie owners to show their builds
- The option for skoolie owners to sell their art or hand made goods
- Create an event where we can all experience that feeling of tribe or community
As we all know, there is an enormous amount of work involved in turning a school bus into a tiny home on wheels. It takes waaaaaay longer than planned but there is no denying that feeling you get when a random stranger at the grocery store asks if they can see inside your bus and take a little tour. The wide eyed look of fascination as they see the amount of work you put into your build is worth every frustrated moment you encountered in the build process. At The Bus Fair I want to give you the floor to show your beautiful skoolie whether it's just getting started, halfway or "completely done".
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 I'll be doing for you as a skoolie exhibitor:
- You will only be asked to show your skoolie from 10AM - 5PM 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. 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.
- I 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...) They will also go grab food for you if you give them the funds to buy the food for you.
- Free coffee and baked goods at the event Saturday morning courtesy of Lion Mountain Bakery.
- We may have (pending instructor) an early Friday morning yoga class on the banks of the river that you're welcome to attend for an additional $15 which is paid to the instructor.
The second core item of the festival is the option to sell your own goods in addition to showing your school bus conversion. A way to cover your gas money and hopefully add a little more to your travel funds. While not all of you invited will have goods to sell, those of you that do are encouraged to do so. Many of us are artists in one way or the other so take the opportunity of the crowd that will be in line outside your skoolie waiting to take the tour. Show them you not only can convert a school bus into a tiny home but you also craft magical things.
The last core item of the festival is my favorite. I can't describe the feeling I had at my first tiny house festival when we all pulled together for a potluck the last night. We chose the skoolie that had the most space to host and everyone brought a dish. I had a moment where I just listened to the conversations going on in the big bus and realized that all of us were a nomadic tribe with a similar outlook on life regardless of where we came from.
2019 after the Skoolie Show had ended, we all got to relax and enjoy live music, food and an adult beverage from the top of Jax Austin's bus.
I can't wait for all of you experience the same magical feeling. There is a good chance you'll be leaving with a few new best friends. Who knows, maybe you'll get to see a wedding proposal with a rusty seat bolt as the engagement ring like we did. See ya there!
What to expect and what to be prepared for.
Thursday 6/22 - Arrive
Friday 6/23 - Wake up in the beautiful Greenwaters Park and show your Skoolie to a small number of seminar attendees.
Saturday 6/24- Show your skoolie on the main day from 11am-6pm
Sunday 6/25 - Shorter day showing your event from 11am-5pm.
Monday 6/26 - Check-out by noon with time to explore all that Oakridge has to offer for recreation.
You'll want to roll into Oakridge, OR on Thursday in order to get loaded into the Greenwaters Park. The parking area for skoolies is a grassy area that is mostly flat but I highly encourage you to bring some leveling blocks or pieces of wood in the event that you're a little unlevel. The area is also in full sun so for those of you needing to keep your solar topped off, you'll have no problem doing so. We're right next to the Middle Fork of the Willamette river so it cools down in the evenings if you're worried about being in the sun all day. Temperature in Oakridge during this time of year is moderate with an average high around 78 degrees.
Friday night will be the first night of camping with volunteers, vendors and those who paid for a limited camping and VIP pass. No agenda here really except to mingle, get to know folks and have a beverage.
Skoolie dogs, cats and other animals are welcome but just need to follow the leash laws of the City (yes, technically according to ordinances even your cat needs to be on a leash...). During the day of the event your furry friends will need to be in a place where they are comfortable and have plenty of shade and water. They will not be allowed to walk around the event with you as Oregon Food and Health code does not allow animals in the area where food is being served or consumed. If keeping your fur child outside on a leash attached to your skoolie is the best place, then just be mindful of your neighbors, the crowds of people and if any landmines that could possibly be placed in areas where crowds are walking. It's no fun having someone step in dog doo and then take a tour of your bus. Ask Kyle Volkman from Yeti Bus Builds about that one...
For those selling art, be sure to have one person that can handle sales and one person that can give a tour of your bus. I recommend setting up your artwork outside your bus near the door so that as people are waiting to take a tour they can browse your work.
In 2019 our total number of people at the event (vendors, sponsors, volunteers, ticket buyers, musicians, etc.) was 1,200+ and we expect anywhere from 1,200 - 2,000 people coming to the 2023 event. Of those I'd say to expect about 75% to come and tour your Skoolie. The gates will open at 11AM and close at 9PM. However, you're only asked to show your skoolie from 11AM - 6PM on Saturday and 11AM - 5PM on Sunday.
Prepare to answer the same questions over and over and over. I'd suggest making little signs that you can tape next to items or parts of your bus so that people can read and not have to ask. For example, if you have a composting toilet you may want to consider making a sign that says something along the lines of "This is our composting toilet and we can use it up to 80 times before having to empty the number two chamber." Keep a notepad and tape handy so that as you start getting the same question on something you didn't tag earlier, you can make a note next to that item.
A general stats board is suggested to have outside your bus doors as well. Things to consider including would be things such as how long it took you to convert, how much it cost, how many solar panels you have on top, any unique features of your build, etc.
Soulful Bus with a great example of how to display all your Skoolie info outside.
The time at the end of Saturday is when we all get to kick our feet up around a campfire, crack a beverage and talk about life on the road with other skoolie owners. I'll also be asking for help properly disposing of any left over adult beverages from the beer garden. We can't be sending the kegs back with anything in them so I'll need your help taking the necessary actions to empty the kegs.
Play music? Bring your ear candy instrument of choice and jam with others.
Laser show in the woods? Um, ya that happened the first year without planning it and we predict a repeat of last year. Get weird. No one will judge.
After the event
While you're here you should plan to explore the mystical Willamette National Forest that surrounds us. The City of Oakridge is only a square mile radius of 2.1 miles. Outside the City limits we're surrounded by miles and miles of the Willamette. You're deep in the heart of the cascades and the activities are endless. Oakridge is the "Mountain Bike Capital Of The Northwest" and we have some world renowned trails with the Willamette Mountain Mercantile bike shop offering mid to high end bikes for rent and Cog Wild mountain bike shuttle company to guide you to all the good trails.
We also have excellent hiking, fishing, fly fishing, swimming holes, kayaking, SUP, waterfalls, hot springs, mushroom hunting, camping, Waldo Lake (third clearest lake in the world), over 4k miles of old logging forest roads (free camping!), a quirky museum with our logging history, Deep Woods Distillery and an English Style Pub.
I discovered Oakridge in my first bus in 2015 and after realizing how affordable it was, how easy the access to the National Forest was, fiber internet available and the Pub, well, I just couldn't resist making Oakridge my home base. Hope you get to experience the same magic!