By CINDY WEELDREYER
For The Sentinel
56th Bohemia Mining Days Festival: By Wing, By Wheel, By Engine of Steel
Bohemia Mining Days Festival board members announce plans for the 56th annual family-friendly festival celebrating Cottage Grove’s mining and Victorian heritage. The fun begins on Thursday, July 16, at 4 p.m. and ends on Sunday, July 19, at 5 p.m. The admission-free celebration transforms Coiner Park into “Bohemia City” for four days filled with food, contests and entertainment. There’s plenty to see and do and lots of free parking. Details and the schedule are available at www.bohemiaminingdays.org, on Facebook or by calling the BMD Office at (541) 942-5064.
The 2015 theme, “By Wing, By Wheel, By Engine of Steel,” honors the key role various modes of transportation made in the evolution of our community. Cottage Grove began as a tiny 1850’s era village along the banks of the Willamette’s Coast Fork, where Kalapuya natives and early Donation Land Claim families shared in the bounty and beauty of the Southern Willamette Valley. Transportation improvements transformed it into a bustling gold mining and lumber town in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.
Theme highlights include a Cottage Grove Historical Society exhibit on early transportation into the Bohemia Gold Mines, a railroad history exhibit, cultural heritage talks, and the Oregon Antique and Classic Aircraft Club Annual Fly-In on July 17 at the Cottage Grove Airport.
New features this year are the Cottage Grove Jogging Club’s Gold Rush 5K Twilight Run on Friday at 9 p.m. and a Kid’s Fun Run on Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. In the spirit of this year’s transportation theme we will have an exotic attraction: Camel Rides!
The popular BMD Feud: Slabtown vs. Lemati returns for a fourth year. Contest participants select which side of this Victorian-era historical feud they will join. People of all ages participate in friendly competition to see which town earns the most points and a year’s worth of bragging rights. Pick a side and join the fun. Details are on the festival website.
BMD contests are free and have cash prizes for first place winners. In addition to the traditional beard and costume contests, the Victorian-inspired Feud contests include: Boomtown Carpenters, Cherry Pit-Spittin’, Two Towns Tug-O’-War, Bohemia Deputies, Candlestick Run, Three-legged Race, Fuse-winder, Thread the Needle, and Twenty Miles by Wheelbarrow. Come enjoy The Feud’s newest game: Digging in The Dark on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m.
Saturday is “Dress-Up Day.” The Costume Contest at Noon awards cash prizes to the best dressed man, woman and child based on a fictitious story that compliments the costume. Every festival-goer in costume on Saturday who checks in at Bohemia City Hall earns 5 points for The Feud’s individual and team competition. Be part of an old-fashioned Americana picnic on Sunday by bringing your own food from home or purchase food from one of the festival’s vendors while enjoying music provided by area churches.
Returning favorites this year include two parades: Friday’s Kiddie Parade at 11 a.m. and Saturday’s Grand Miner's Parade at 10 a.m. The festival’s two themed fund-raising meals are: Thursday evening’s Miner’s Steak & Beans Dinner from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday morning’s Chuckwagon Breakfast from 7-10 a.m. These meals have limited seating and tickets can be purchased in advance on the festival website.
Visitors of all ages will enjoy living history demonstrations including a mountain man encampment, gold panning, and fur trapping. In addition to camel rides and pony rides, other Bohemia City attractions include Bungie-jumping, Grand Prix Car Races, and Water Walking Balls.
Portland-based Haworth Family Shows brings its carnival to Bohemia Park. Discounted Advanced All-Day Carnival Ride Bracelet coupons are $22 and available through Wednesday, July 16, at the Cottage Grove Bi-Mart and The Bookmine in the Historic Downtown District. During the festival the all-day ride bracelet is $27.
Bohemia City hosts a wide variety of booths offering food, beverages, community information, unique gifts and services. Stacy’s Covered Bridge Restaurant will again host a beer and wine garden for adults 21-and-older. BMD’s infamous Helena Saloon – becomes a root beer garden serving only those under-21 – and functions as a place for kids to relax and take in all the festival’s sights and sounds. There is also a Kids Zone organized by local churches.
BMD is proud to showcase some of our community’s best youth performers this year: Vocalist Maeve Dahlin, Ten-year-old Fiddlin’ Phenom Kira Carver, participants in the summer music camps at the Presbyterian Church and the Opal Center. In partnership with the Cottage Theatre, the BMD Family Melodrama always takes the festival’s annual theme in a totally fun direction.
The world premiere of By Wing, By Wheel, By Engine of Steel OR The Mayor has Loco-Motives is set in 1871, just as the long-awaited C.O.W. Line (California, Oregon and Washington Railroad) is nearing completion. This family-friendly event features youth actors from Cottage Theatre’s summer Melodrama Camp, plenty of booing and hissing at the villains, and an old-fashioned audience sing-along. Visit www.cottagetheatre.org for ticket information.
Bohemia City has three stages this year: the Main Stage and the Gazebo Stage showcasing performances by local and regional entertainers. We’ve added a Cultural Stage to highlight period music and historical talks. Cowboy Buck & Elizabeth celebrate their 14th consecutive year delighting children and adults with their puppets, songs and stories. Jay the Magician returns to BMD performing magic on stage and in the park on Saturday.
The 2015 Evening Entertainment line-up includes local talent on Thursday, classic rock on Friday, and country on Saturday. Headliner bands include: Perfect Flavor (Thu), Rocktopia, Left of Yellow and Alien Boy (Fri) and Annie Mae Rhodes Band, Cowboy Cadillac and The Ridge (Sat).
Offsite community events during BMD include Historic Dr. Snapp House Tours, Friday’s Quilt Show and Ice Cream Social at the Presbyterian Church, Saturday’s BBQ Chicken Dinner at the Lutheran Church, Cottage Theatre’s youth melodrama, museum exhibitions, and the legendary Miner’s Breakfast on the Mountain in the Bohemia Mining District served by the Prospectors and Golddiggers Club from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday morning. On Friday and Saturday, a train will operate between Bohemia City and the Historic Downtown District with stops near some of the off-site events and attractions.
BMD Board President Eric Johnson says, “This year we not only celebrate Cottage Grove and its Grovers, but the many ways we ventured here. By Wing, By Wheel, By Engine of Steel we traveled across the mountains to this fertile valley. So get in your motorized coaches and join our dedicated sponsors, board members, and volunteers in our 56th Anniversary Bohemia Mining Days Festival! Adventure awaits!”