The Eugene Celebration was a 3-day annual community celebration and civic event that was held at the end of summer featuring bands and performers from throughout the Pacific Northwest. A parade held on Saturday morning featured the newly crowned Slug Queen.
The Celebration was created in 1983 as a way to bring together members of the Eugene community for a weekend of music and festivities to celebrate the opening of the $22.5 million Hult Center for the Performing Arts.
The event was originally sponsored by the City of Eugene, and for a few years had corporate sponsorship of Centennial Bank. From 2008 through 2012 it was managed by Downtown Events Management, Inc. (DEMI), a Eugene-based non-profit corporation. Management was awarded to Kesey Enterprises, a for-profit company, for the 2013 celebration.
In 2014 Kesey Enterprises released a statement in June cancelling the August Celebration, citing new construction and growth in Eugene’s revitalized downtown that reduced the space needed for entertainment and food venues. Kesey Enterprises later agreed to partner with the City of Eugene to host a $5 concert at the Cuthbert Amphitheater during the weekend.
A free alternative “Festival of Eugene” at Skinner Butte Park was organized by Krysta Albert, who persisted despite a saga of funding and location uncertainties lasting as late as two weeks before the event.