GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- Wednesday is the first day of the 2019 Josephine County Fair. Not only will there be rides, music, fair food, and a rodeo, there will also be what the Fairgrounds Director Tamra Martin is calling a "free expression area."
Martin said this concept is not new to the fairgrounds. Anytime there is an event, they like to have an area for people to express whatever they want to respectfully express. The location depends on the space that's available. This year, it's on the grass patch behind the rides.
"The point of having the free expression area is to create a safe space for people to express themselves where children and families aren't going to be around and they can actually remove themselves from the area," Martin said.
She doesn't expect the area to be a problem since it never has been.
"This is literally something that, as we move forward in today's environment, we wanted to make sure that we were prepared and everyone would have their opportunity for their free expression," Martin added.
The free expression area does come with rules. Someone going to use the area can't bring any graphic pictures. Flyers, handouts and signs have to stay home. Microphones and horns aren't allowed either.
"For lack of a better term, it's a soapbox. If you have something that you want to say, you're welcome to it," added Martin. "We're not going to prevent anyone from doing that."
If you plan on using the free expression area, you'll still need to pay to get into the fair. It's $10 but admission is free for veterans and active duty service members.