BMD launches fun ‘feud,’ waits for new risk status

OK, Cottage Grovers, let the feuding begin. Are you lining up with Lemati, or siding with Slabtown? 

As the Bohemian Mining Days festival plans to move ahead with the annual mid-July event, the central theme will be a fun, modern-day virtual re-enactment of the long-running feud between warring factions of Cottage Grove citizens during the late 1800s. 

After being canceled last year for the first time in 61 years, the festival is waiting for the COVID-19 dark clouds to pass. Otherwise, the pandemic could rain on this year’s parade again.

Hopefully, the BMD outlook will come into clearer focus during a March 24 news conference, which will include the swearing in of Kenneth Michael Roberts as the Bohemia City Marshal.

The fate of the festival, however, hangs in the balance. Under the current state mandates, with Lane County using “moderate risk” guidelines, Coiner Park can permit only a maximum of 150 people, including festival workers and vendors. If the level changes to “low risk” by May 2, when the state releases its next update, the park can host up to 300. 

Still, that might not be enough of an “opening” to allow the 2021 BMD to take place. The board was scheduled to meet Thursday evening to finalize plans at the March 24 news conference

“At the press conference we will also tell the community we are planning for an event July 16-17 up until May 4,” wrote board member Cindy Weeldreyer. “Should the State of Emergency not be lifted and the most we could have in Coiner Park would be 300 people on-site at any one time, it will be a logistical nightmare and we will not be able to have an event this year.”

Weeldreyer and BMD organizers would like to see the Slabtown vs. Lemati feud turn into a fun tradition.

“There is a pent-up demand, after a year of quarantine, for people to come together face-to-face and be together again,” said Don Williams, longtime BMD organizer and board member. “We hope building a BMD experience this year will satisfy that need.”



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