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Eugene, Oregon

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Eugene in Oregon.

 

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Eugene is the second largest city in the U.S. state of Oregon and the seat of Lane County. It is located at the south end of the Willamette Valley, at the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette rivers, about 50 miles (86 km) east of the Oregon Coast.

Eugene has a significant population of people in pursuit of alternative ideas, and a large original hippie population.

Beginning in the 1960s, the countercultural ideas and viewpoints espoused by Ken Kesey became established as the seminal elements of the vibrant social tapestry that continue to define Eugene. The Merry Prankster, as Kesey was known, has arguably left the most indelible imprint of any cultural icon in his hometown. He is best known as the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and as the male protagonist in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

In 2005, the city council unanimously approved a new slogan for the city, "World's Greatest City for the Arts & Outdoors." While Eugene has a vibrant arts community for a city its size, and is well situated near many outdoor opportunities, this slogan was frequently criticized by locals as embarrassing and ludicrous. In early 2010, the slogan was changed to "A Great City for the Arts & Outdoors."

Annual cultural events

The annual Eugene Celebration is a three-day block party that takes place in the downtown area. The SLUG (Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod) Queen coronation happens the month prior to the celebration at the coronation contest and ceremony. The SLUG Queen is the reigning monarch of the celebration festivities and the unofficial ambassador of Eugene. The annual coronation process takes place in August and is a little like a formal pageant but with a campy spin. The new SLUG Queen presides over the parade at the Eugene Celebration in September.

Art & the Vineyard festival held around the Fourth of July at Alton Baker Park attracts 25,000 annually, and is the principal fundraiser for the Maude Kerns Art Center

The Lane County Fair and Asian Celebration are two annual events taking place at the Lane County Fairgrounds.

Eugene's Saturday Market, founded in 1970 and open every Saturday from April through November, was the first "Saturday Market" in the United States. All vendors must create or grow all of their own products.

The Oregon Bach Festival is a major international festival. It is hosted by the University of Oregon.

The Oregon Festival of American Music, or OFAM is held annually in the early summer.

Eugene's Mount Pisgah Arboretum, which resides at the base of Mount Pisgah, holds an annual Mushroom Festival and Plant Sale and an annual Wildflower Show.

The KLCC Microbrew Festival is held annually at the Lane County Fairgrounds. It provides participants with an introduction to a large range of microbrewery and craft beers which play an important role in Pacific Northwest culture and the economy.[56][57]

Museums

Eugene museums include the University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Oregon Air and Space Museum, Conger Street Clock Museum, Lane County Historical Museum, Maude Kerns Art Center, Shelton McMurphey House, and the Science Factory Children's Museum & Planetarium.

Libraries

The largest library in Oregon is the University of Oregon's Knight Library, with collections totaling more than 3 million volumes and over 100,000 audio and video items. The Eugene Public Library moved into a new, larger building downtown in 2002. The four-story library is an increase from 38,000 square feet (3,500 m2) to 130,000 square feet (12,000 m2). There are also two branches of the Eugene Public Library, the Sheldon Branch Library in the neighborhood of Cal Young/Sheldon, and the Bethel Branch Library, in the neighborhood of Bethel. Eugene also has the Lane County Law Library.

Performing arts

Eugene is home to numerous cultural organizations, including the Eugene Symphony, the Eugene Ballet, the Eugene Opera, the Eugene Concert Choir, the Northwest Christian University Community Choir, the Oregon Mozart Players, the Oregon Bach Festival, the Oregon Children's Choir, the Oregon Festival Choirs, the Eugene Youth Symphony, Ballet Fantastique and Oregon Festival of American Music. Principal performing arts venues include the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts ("The Shedd"), Beall Concert Hall and the Erb Memorial Union ballroom on the University of Oregon campus, the McDonald Theatre, and W.O.W. Hall.

A number of live theater groups are based in Eugene, including Free Shakespeare in the Park, Lord Leebrick Theatre, The Very Little Theatre, Actors Cabaret, LCC Theatre, and University Theatre. Each has its own performance venue.

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