EUGENE, Ore. — For more than 30 years the Eugene Celebration has filled downtown streets during the three-day long festivities, but this year the celebration won’t happen. Organizers said they’ve been compromising the event for years, and they couldn’t move forward with it this summer
During August, the streets of downtown Eugene are usually to be filled with vendors and thousands of people celebrating Eugene.
“Last year’s event was very successful, the best one that we’ve produced” said Kit Kesey, President Kesey Enterprises, the group who organizes the event. “We look back on it and realize that we needed growth and we’re going to get growth in attendance.”
Kesey Enterprises put on the Eugene Celebration for the past five years. They say they expected event attendance to increase by about 20 percent for this year, in comparison to last year. But as more and more businesses open up shop in the downtown core, the celebration couldn’t find the space that would balance business and their weekend-long party.
“Placing a food booth in front of a door front doesn’t work. So now where do you move it? It used to be the fact that you’d have a number of empty storefronts. It was easy to put vendors in front of them and pull power out of them, get water from them, and now they’re all full,” said Kesey.
After announcing the whole celebration is canceled, organizers are now deciding if the parade should still go on because community members are asking for that piece of the party to continue.
“It’s a big draw. It’s not a revenue producer at all so it doesn’t help fund the event at all, but the parade is by far the most diverse and the most community-oriented and most eclectic piece that we do. I love the parade,” said Kesey.
Even though the entire show won’t go on this year, organizers said they’re working to figure out what changes to make so the celebration can return in 2015.