What's New This Year...

BMD Board announces operational changes & entertainment line-up


For the first time in its 58-year history, Cottage Grove’s Bohemia Mining Festival will end on Saturday night and not Sunday afternoon. The BMD board members decided at their February 8 meeting to end a day early for several reasons. Rainier Amusements will begin tearing down its carnival on Sunday to make the transition to another community the following week. The loss of Sunday’s carnival revenue, combined with Sunday’s operational costs savings for security, entertainment and toilets, were major factors in the decision.

BMD is all about tradition; yet as we go forward circumstances force us to make changes like this one with an eye on our bottom line,” BMD President Cathy Simmons said. “Sunday has always been a more quiet day with lower attendance. In our annual vendor survey, because of lower sales, many of them have asked us to drop Sunday so they can tear down early and move on to their next event. Up until now we haven’t because we rely on Sunday’s carnival revenue to pay our operational expenses.”

Simmons added it will also be less stressful on board members and volunteers if they can tear down the park in one day instead of finishing up on Monday.

Most of our board members, spouses and festival volunteers take a week of vacation time to produce the festival and need to return to work on Monday. By the time it ends on Sunday afternoon we are beyond exhausted and then must work until 10 pm and most of Monday to complete our tear-down duties. We are looking forward to a much less stressful experience packing up “Bohemia City” this year.”

At last week’s meeting the board approved the entertainment line-up for BMD 2018. It’s a mix of long-time favorites and a few new bands that will take the Main Stage this year offering a mix of pop, rock, country and bluegrass music. For the complete list of performers visit the festival website: www.bohemiaminingdays.org.

Last month, the board adopted its 2018 budget of $55,450 and elected its officers for this year. They are: President Cathy Simmons, Vice President Joelie Saunders, Secretary Jessica Hannah, and Treasurer Ken Lile. The board also added two advisors: Webmaster Dylan Mann and Social Media Coordinator Sylvia Kitterman.

The organization recently relocated the festival office to the Cottage Grove Hotel next to Buster’s Main Street Cafe. Festival Coordinator Cindy Weeldreyer is delighted with the new location. She said she’s been involved with BMD since the 1980s and has witnessed its good years and not so good years.

For most of its 58 years, BMD has been preserved and produced by a small fiercely dedicated group of volunteers working as a committee to keep the tradition going,” Weeldreyer noted. “My predecssor, Sharon Jean, spent nearly a decade transforming BMD’s organizational structure from an informal committee into a board of directors with a physical location and financial stability. The current BMD board members and myself are committed to building on the solid foundation her legacy provided us.”

Unlike the WOE and Rodeo, which own their own property, Weeldreyer said it is necessary for BMD to have a physical location for both administrative and operational purposes. She believes having the new office in a more highly visible location will help them recruit much needed volunteers. Up until the mid-2000s, BMD’s administrative records were kept in committee members’ homes. Weeldreyer hopes past festival organizers who still have documents and memorabilia, will bring them to the new, larger office.

The mission of Bohemia Mining Days, Inc. is to produce an annual festival that highlights and preserves Cottage Grove’s unique and colorful history,” Weeldreyer added. “What a delight it is to have our history-focused organization now located in the historic hotel. Each time I walk in the door, I’m walking down the same hallway Buster Keaton did when the building was brand new. As a local historian, I consider that one of the perks of my job.”

Weeldreyer invites individuals interested in volunteering or sponsoring the festival to drop by the office on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons from 3-5 pm or call for an appointment.