Event producer Krysta Albert says she’s gearing up for another year of celebrating all things Eugene, despite a lack of sufficient volunteers and wildfire smoke descending on the Festival of Eugene last year.
The Festival of Eugene, created in response to the surprise cancellation of the Eugene Celebration in 2014, will take place Aug. 20-21 this year in Skinner Butte Park.
Last year, the event coincided with wildfire smoke permeating the Willamette Valley, causing a distinctly smokey smell and lack of visibility. Despite this, the festival had around 10,000 vistors. This time, Albert says, she hopes for better weather.
“There’s a significant amount of changes this year,” Albert says, noting that the event will make room for 150 vehicles for its popular car show, instead of 100 slots.
The big change, Albert says, is that the Festival of Eugene will offer monetary compensation to its musicians. Funds from the car show will help pay for music, as well as raffled gift certificates and products donated by vendors.
“There is a focus this year on the bands getting paid,” she emphasizes.
Other changes include preferred vendor parking, preferred artist parking and handicapped or elderly parking. Last year, some festival attendees had a difficult time finding parking and had to walk significant distances from their parking spot.
Albert is planning two music stages and two beer gardens, along with the return of the poetry stage and an art show. She’s also envisioning a hackysack tournament and a 20-foot swimming pool in which people can walk around inside plastic balls floating on the surface of the water.
A parade is also in the works, starting at The Campbell Center and ending at Skinner Butte.
Albert says volunteer time or monetary donations are sorely needed — she’s received feedback from the community that the Festival of Eugene is important, but assistance is lacking. Last year, she says, she took a loss of a few thousand dollars and paid for it out of her own pocket. She says if half the people in Eugene donated $1, the festival would be fully funded.
Photo by David Putzier.