— Sarah Nicholson, EDN
5th Street Market’s Harvest Celebration provided the perfect welcome to a changing season: giant pumpkins carved with intricate faces, music by Eugene’s local rising stars, seasonal store specials, and trick-or-treating for the costume-clad little ones.
The festivities took place over the Halloween weekend and culminated on Halloween day with a family fun alternative to your neighborhood trick-or-treating. Over the weekend, artists Tim Pate and Tom Ziemann of Portland and Tom Lindsko of Eugene flexed their champion pumpkin carving muscles on several oversized specimens from The Giant Pumpkin Growers Association. Visitors came to watch as elaborate faces were etched into these pumpkins, some of which weighed between 400 and 999 pounds.
On Saturday afternoon, the Craig Chee Band, one of the finalists from the Eugene Weekly/Northwest Community Credit Union’s “Next Big Thing” local talent competition, entertained shoppers who came to take advantage of store specials and seasonal offerings (like the house-made pumpkin-spice latte syrup from Provisions!) Sunday afternoon’s musical offering was provided by another “Next Big Thing” finalist, Boomchick, as more visitors came to enjoy the festivities.
Families with candy-seeking children had an opportunity to take part in the events culminating on Halloween Day. Music from Tyler Fortier, “Next Big Thing” co-winner, graced the courtyard as oversized ladybugs and bumblebees and miniature firemen and football players darted from store to store for generous handfuls of candy to be dumped into their sacks. For parents in trick-or-treating unfriendly neighborhoods, it was great to have a safe haven for tiny ones to enjoy a favorite Halloween pastime. For other parents, it was the perfect place to enjoy good food and music while taking the kids out on their candy quest. And for families venturing from outside of town, where trick-or-treating is made impossible by long distances, it was a good combination of a trick-or-treating opportunity with a night-on-the-town feel.
Our night was dictated by our tiny little ladybug, who toddled around the market following the older kids from one candy site to the next. We skipped the face painting this year, but she quickly found her way to the music tent, stopping just a few feet in front of the musicians to stare up at them with wide eyes. With her front row position, she was the lucky recipient of a sweet serenade by Fortier, who crouched down to play a couple of chords in her direction. A little dancing passed the time between first-ever bites of Halloween candy and long excursions into Elephant’s Trunk to play with the toys. Later on in the evening, “Next Big Thing” co-winners Betty and the Boy took the stage to entertain visitors enjoying good wine and good food out in the courtyard.
Melanie Diamond of 5th Street Market felt the event was a great success. “Celebrating the harvest is a tradition at 5th Street Market,” Diamond says. “And as far as I can tell, we’ve been celebrating this period of time with many derivations of events for the last 25 years. It has become a destination event that we continue to build on.”
Sponsored by the Eugene Weekly and KMGE-FM Magic 94.5, this year’s event benefited FOOD for Lane County, Eugene’s nonprofit dedicated to providing nutritious food to low-income families through a variety of community programs.