I have been a stilt walker since the summer of 1999 when I first performed at the Oregon Country Fair with a mummery troupe called Risk of Change. Being a paying patron of the O.C.F. since 1990, when a dear friend of mine asked me to be a guest artist with this highly creative group of ambient entertainers how could I not welcome the change? To have been on the outside looking in for many years, and then be able to be on the inside looking out...I never suspected that such a change would metamorphose me into the man I am today!
Part of my requirement of performing was to choose what characters/themes I was going to participate in, one being a "Airatarian", a creature that lives in the sky and when upon the soil of our Earth....gravity would stretch them very tall. Well I found out that in order to accomplish such a feat, I would have to be walking on stilts, and the creator of said concept was a man named George Long. George taught me how to fabricate a pair of "Chinese Poles" which is a circus term for pegged stilts, they are the best to actually learn on and especially for uneven ground.
Well, I made the stilts and my next feat would be to learn how to walk on them....so off to see Roger Waters before I left for the O.C.F. and I brought my stilts along for the show. The parking lot of the Gorge was packed with R.V.s and vans as well as many a concert goer, we had time to kill after setting up camp and this became my stepping ground. I fell many a times, people were kind in assisting me back up, and after a sunburn and MANY hours I found myself stilt walking.
Then 1 week after the show it was off to the Oregon Country Fair to prepare for a experience that would change me forever. I arrived 4 days earlier to set up camp, and on that Monday night my friend Matthew convinced me into strapping on our stilts and take a night time stroll through the Fair grounds armed with only our little flash lights. We walked about 150 feet out on the pathway and then back with NO problems, the next day it rained, and then on Wed. we decided to attempt fate again....mission accomplished with even further distance. Then our stilts would not be strapped to our feet until Saturday, or as the Fair states it "Saturns day", and we walked about 1 1/2 miles in a very faced moving parade, then later as "Airatarians" to which we created our stilts for.
Now with my 8th year quickly approaching I cannot be anymore grateful for that life changing experience.