Rhododendron Festival Brings Crowds to Florence

May 18, 2012

By Chris Curtis

EUGENE, Ore. — Preparation is underway for Allen Bates and his crew.

Bates Smokehouse and Saloon is one of many vendors setting up for the 105th Rhododendron Festival in Florence.

The Rhododendron Festival brings out thousands of people each year of course as long as the weather holds true.

“If we are having rainy or super windy weather, we would have about 15,000 people. The average is around 17,000 people, but if it is nice we can end up with around 20,000 people,” said Executive Director Cal Applebee.

This year’s theme is “Nothing Short of Wild”

It holds a special meaning for those living in Florence.

“Our Grand Marshall is Seal Lion Caves. They are a very important partner, but it is also their 80th anniversary in Florence. We thought it was important to partner up with them and celebrate.

The Rhododendron Festival features parades, rides, booths and food.

The event lasts until Sunday.

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