Organizers of the Eugene Celebration say they’ve barely kept up with ticket sales this year and expect to see tens of thousands of people head downtown to enjoy the three-day party.
“We’ve had great participation from the community this year and I think it does have something to do with that Eugene pride,” said Cami White, Eugene Celebration Manager of Admissions.
“We’re having kind of a resurgence in downtown, with building and everything, so this is a good opportunity to celebrate that as well,” said Dave Wagenheim, Viva Vegetarian Grill Owner.
More than 200 staff and volunteers set up overnight.
“You know revving up for the big finish that we’ve kind of been preparing for since last celebration, so it’s really exciting,” White said.
This year, a competitive edge has taken over. A beard and mustache competition is expected to draw in dozens of facial hair enthusiasts. There’s also a scavenger hunt style race.
“It’s really fun that we have these new competitions, that we’re trying to get a lot of participants, for also trying to get a lot of people to come down and watch because all three are gonna be really fun,” White said.
Perhaps the hottest new event and spectator sport is the Hot Mama’s Wing Eating Competition on stage for everyone to catch the cringing.
“(You) can only eat one every 30 seconds. However, you can’t drink any liquid. What we’re gonna do is place a pint of milk in front of everyone, as kind of temptation or torture if you will,” said Michael Marzano, Mama’s Hot Wings Owner.
One event in particular has seen massive growth over the years–the pet parade.
“This one has just kind of blown up. I think at least a dozen pet-related businesses and organizations having booths there with outreach and giveaways,” White said.
It’s also the traditional meaning behind the event that keeps participants coming back to party each year.
“Show off what we do in our various areas of Eugene, but all in one spot,” said Dave Wagenheim, Viva Vegetarian Grill Owner.
The partying Friday will continue until midnight. Doors reopen Saturday morning at 11 a.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.