BMD making a return to Coiner Park
With summer in full swing, organizers for Bohemia Mining Days (BMD) are ramping up excitement for Cottage Grove’s biggest festival of the year.
This year, the 63rd Bohemia Mining Days is returning to Coiner Park, which will be transformed into Bohemia City from July 14 to 16 with a variety of new and familiar attractions.
This year’s theme is “Timber = New Gold”, recognizing the timber industry’s impact on the replacement of gold mining as a local economic draw.
Organizers’ announcement of the festivities last week (June 1) included the swearing in of the festival’s first female deputy, Christina Hester.
“I’m honored, of course. I am thrilled that the festival has taken a step in this direction,” said Hester. “I know that the history of Bohemian Mining Days celebrates a lot of roles in our community that are typically occupied by men. And so, finding ways to incorporate female members of the community in non-traditional ways, I think is a really great way to bring the festival into a more modern era.”
Hester began volunteering for BMD this year.
“I saw that there was a need for a website coordinator volunteer and I currently in my professional capacity handle marketing and social media and website maintenance for a local small company,” said Hester. “So the scope of work is in my skill set.”
Hester also recently returned to Cottage Grove after some time away.
“This is a great organization and festival that I remember attending as a child and so it was just a good opportunity to get involved in the community,” she said.
Hester will patrol the festival in full deputy uniform, participate in the main parade and — perhaps most importantly — prevent any stagecoach robberies should unscrupulous gang members make an appearance.
And one festival event this year is bound to attract a crowd — the Mine Ore Cart Races.
With the success of last year’s inaugural races, this popular event is scheduled to make a return on Saturday, July 16 at high noon on 10th Street in front of the Bohemia Gold Mining Museum.
The races will pit home-made ore carts against each other as teams make mad dashes up and down the street.
The event was by far last year’s biggest attraction, with cheering, energetic crowds packing downtown sidewalks from end to end.
Last year’s top winners — D&D Automotive (first place), Covered Bridge Brewing Group (second place) and E Clampus Vitus (third place) — will have to defend their trophies.
Many will also be happy to learn that the carnival is returning after a two-year hiatus during the pandemic. As in previous years, the carnival will set up on the north end of Bohemia Park.
This year will see some new BMD features as well.
Bohemia Mining Day’s first-ever crowning of “Lil Miss, Miss, and Ms. Bohemia City” will be held in Coiner Park at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, July 15. Winners will be crowned from the age ranges of 3-10, 11-18 and 19-30, respectively, and will be assigned their own parade car to ride in, outfitted in a crown and sash, during the Grand Miner’s Parade on July 16.
Applicants to the contest aged 11-30 should register with a 250 word or less essay about themselves, mentioning any community service, volunteer work, awards, future goals, what part of Cottage Grove’s history they like best, and one historical fact about Cottage Grove.
Additionally, a “people mover train” will transport festival-goers between parking areas, downtown, and Bohemia City (though passengers should be aware: re-enactment train robberies may happen at any time).
The traditional Miner’s Breakfast on Bohemia Saddle makes a comeback this year on July 17 at 7 a.m. Additionally, a miner’s dinner will be held in Coiner Park on July 15 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and breakfast in the park will be held on Saturday, July 16, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Other returning features will include:
-Grand Miner’s Parade
-Helena Saloon (for those under 18 years old)
-Feud Games with cash prizes, conducted by Orr Reeve
-Re-enactments of old west shootouts
-Vendors, food, a variety of games and a steady line-up of musical entertainment
One likely challenge will be the simultaneous occurrence of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene during festival days.
“We’re expecting a larger influx of crowds than what we normally have,” said Festival Coordinator Scott Borgioli. “I’ve added more security this year and my decades of emergency management experience has enabled us to plan for a successful, organized and safe festival.”
Last year, the festival was held downtown due to COVID concerns, funding restrictions and a desire to increase economic flow into local businesses who had suffered during the pandemic. However, organizers are hoping to get back to Bohemia Mining Days’ “old-fashioned” roots with this year’s event.
“I think the bottom line is that there’s going to be a lot of fun this year. People want to get out there,” said Borgioli. “We’re just going to have fun and let loose and party like it’s 2019.”
Sponsorships from businesses and organizations such as presenting sponsors Woodard Family Foundation and Starfire Lumber have helped bring in funding to make this year’s event possible.
And like every year, a good deal of the event is powered through the graciousness of volunteer efforts. Organizers encourage those with an interest to contact the BMD office to learn more.
“If you have a little bit of time, this is a good opportunity to get involved in the community,” said Deputy Hester.
More information can be found on the event’s website at www.bohemiaminingdays.org.
Festival dates and hours:
Thursday, July 14, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday, July 15, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 16, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.