The Fun Farm is a little bit north of Bend, Oregon, east side of the highway. It’s hard to spot, because the town won’t allow signs on the highway. Just look for the bowling-ball tree and the field of goats.
We showed up about 30 minutes before closing, but as we learned at Petersen Rock Gardens, “Bend time” is a relative thing. Apparently someone heard us drive up, as the door was unlocked and we were ushered in before we had a chance to drive away.
Originally called The Funny Farm, it was founded by partners Gene and Mike, and houses an antique and costume shop in addition to a yard full of outsider art. When you first enter the shop, you are greeted by a large dollhouse, and the sound of The Wizard of Oz. Soon you realize that the movie is playing on a tiny television inside the dollhouse.
Once vibrant, the Farm has fallen into a genteel decay since the death of Gene’s partner, Mike, in 2005. While we were there, work was being done to get the place ready for free wedding day. It’s usually in July, but they’re running a bit behind, so you’ll be able to get married or renew your vows at the Love Pond in August this year.
I think we missed a lot when we were there. I’ve seen several pictures online of things we didn’t see. I felt as if I were intruding on something private, rather than visiting a tourist spot. Part of that feeling came from being there so close to closing–I always feel funky about that–but a larger part came from the quiet, the disarray, the decay. Nonetheless, I’d like to visit again next year. Next time I’ll go in the early afternoon, and I’ll follow the map to make sure I don’t miss anything. What I did see, you can check out in my flickr set.