party

“Cheap Champagne and Midnight Kisses”

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BJ here with your special New Years eve edition of the 3 W’s

This year has been a pretty crazy one for me, which  started with me in bed sicker then I have ever been with the swine flu.

From becoming KFLY’s radio station rock mom of 2014 to shooting the Ducks football game a dream come true, it was a  year of unforgettables for me!

Mariota
Marcus Mariota photo shot during the Civil War game | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

I bought myself a bass and even learned a song on it, went to Motley Crue’s final tour met Kip Winger, the Bullet boys and Florida Georgia line and flew in a B17 bomber. I even wrote my own column for Eugene Daily News.

Fgl
FGL | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

I made many good friends, there were also some lost who will be missed and always remembered. Adena, Alex, Ron,Terry and Bitboy this column is dedicated to you!

Terry
RIP Terry Hutchens | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

So today I went out and found a dress, a pair of sparkly high heels and am ready for the night!

Party hat on and noisemaker in hand im headed for Happy Hour on River Rd. in Eugene to ring in the New Year with  ” Dragstrip Superstar.”   Derek Zane, Jeff Blaser, and Scott Johansen are sure to launch us into 2015 with a rock and roll party we wont soon forget!

Dragstrip Superstar
Dragstrip Superstar Show | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

This year like every other year I’m making a New Years resolution. This years resolution is …”wait for it”…. no its not a gym membership or a diet.  I’m gonna be more adventurous…do things I never thought I would and take as many band photos as I can!!!

So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s 1999

Cliff Cook | photo by Billie-Jo Miller
You Rock Cliff Cook | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

Being very claustrophobic it took everything I had to crawl through a little doorway into the back of that B17 bomber, hold my breath and cover my eyes and wait…. we were in the air in seconds and when I could finally open my eyes and breath again I felt as though I could take on the world up there.

Bomber
Out the Bomber Window | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

 

So with a heavy heart I will bid farewell to 2014 ,

and as if I was again climbing into the bomber and into the unpredictable and new

I’m gonna take a deep breath …open my eyes  and with great expectations  soar into 2015

heres to all of you, my readers and friends that made  2014  a year that  will be remembered.

Raise your glasses and bring on the “Cheap Champagne and Midnight Kisses!”

Champagne
Champagne and Ducks | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

Cheers baby!

If your looking for someplace to dance into 2015…Heres my  list of New Years celebrations.

The Mohawk Tavern: Bulls on Parade

The Embers: Coupe De Ville

Lucky’s: Blue Lotus, Jesse Mead. Cover $8

Mac’s: Karen Lovely, New Years eve bash. $15 advance $18 at the door

Quakers: Jen and the Generators

Riverstop Sports bar: Heavy Chevy 8:30pm

Sam Bonds Garage: Water Tower New Years eve party. 9pm $8

Time out Tavern: Bobby Six Crows Henderson and the Riggin Warriors 9pm

Gridiron: Surviving Lillian

Mcdonald Theater: Floydian Slips 9pm

Wow Hall: Birds of Paradise, Sugar Beets, Plantrae, Octonaut and lots more. Garden of Earthly Delight New years eve. $20

Bugsys, Junction city: Redneck Mothers

The Village Green, Cottage Grove: Blue Light Special 9pm

Westside station, Salem: NEO, $5 cover, $20 reserved seat and dinner, call for reservations

Three Rivers Casino: Amy Clawson and Coltrain

Mill Casino: Toyz

Also just a reminder…  Alien Boy at the Mohawk this weekend the 2nd and 3rd come join them for a rockin night!

Alien Boy show | photo by Billie-Jo Miller
Alien Boy show | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

Have a great New Years Eve and remember celebrate safely.

“Dont get behind the wheel if you have been drinking.”

 Use a taxi or designated driver.

 

Happy New Year

 

Go Ducks
Go Ducks | photo by Billie-Jo Miller

P.S. Rose Bowl New Years Day Jan.1, 2015  2pm ESPN      “GO DUCKS!!!!”

 

 

 

So Long Celebration, Hello Festival Of Eugene?

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You just can’t keep Eugene down.

Downtown is growing. Gone is much of the blight, the open pits, the vacant lots, and the remnants of the appallingly bad idea to turn it into a vehicle less mall.  Now beautiful new developments like LCC’s amazing new structure occupies what once used to be the main stage area for the Eugene Celebration.  It seems downtown growth has managed to displace the long running annual event.

Originally created in 1983 by the City of Eugene, it was handed over to external management in 1998. Kesey Enterprises, originally contracted by the now defunct Downtown Events Management, Inc., and now the owners of the Eugene Celebration brand, announced the cancellation of this years events with a promise to return in 2015.

This was such a disappointment to Krysta Albert, local wedding event planner (Imagine! Events) and entrepreneur, that she decided to propose an alternative: Festival Of Eugene.

FOEWithin a day of revealing her idea, “Festival Of Eugene” began to gain not only tremendous momentum, but an array of skilled local professionals intent on helping bring it to reality.

EDN asked Krysta to explain the vision for Festival Of Eugene:

“There’s a new fun, funky and free festival in town and it’s called the Festival of Eugene! This kid and family-friendly event is all about celebrating the cultural diversity and the varied talents of Eugene.

There will be live music on theatrical performances, dance performances, juggling, balloon dresses and more. This event is being produced by Imagine! Events in coalition with Baker Entertainment owned by Jaime Baker.

The biggest news is, It is a totally free event. This is a not-for profit, grass roots event. Aside from hard dollar costs for permits, etc., all the stages, equipment, staffing, performances, etc are being donated by those individuals and businesses wanting to have a festival to really celebrate Eugeneans, and to create a community event for the community and by the community! In effort to support businesses in the area of the event the beer and food sales be primarily provided by the restaurants and bars in the footprint of the festival. The Large Event permit is under review by the city.”

One of the growing complaints about the Eugene Celebration was the high cost of gaining access to the event.  Albert believes that being more inclusive will be a key to Festival Eugene’s success.

If all goes according to plan, Festival of Eugene will take place August 22, 23 and 24th.  Event coordinators are looking at one block of Pearl Street along 5th. Avenue to Willamette and one block north of 5th Avenue on Willamette and one block south of 5th Avenue on Willamette for the events location.

foe-gfm
Festival Of Eugene is running a GoFundMe fundraiser to pay for the permit and startup costs for the event. | http://www.gofundme.com/Festival-of-Eugene

Yesterday Kesey Enterprises announced that there will still be a Eugene Celebration Parade, and a concert at the Cuthbert Amphitheater on August 23. The concert is scheduled to feature Hell’s Bells, Zepparella and Foreverland. Organizers will also award the winners of the parade at the concert. Tickets will be $5.

According to Kesey Enterprises, the event was made possible through generous support from Lane Community College, the city of Eugene and a volunteer committee.

This combined with Festival of Eugene should make for quite a weekend.

 

The Campbell Club rocks on after run-ins with police

If you know anything about the Campbell Club, it probably has to do with either its hippies or its parties — and if you know anything about its parties, it’s that they tend to get broken up. In recent years, the co-op has had two notable run-ins with the police — one in 2008 and another this February. The first resulted in four arrests. The second, prompted by a noise violation, resulted in 23. While the co-op began hosting parties again fairly quickly after the first bust, it is still in the process of recovering from the second.

The Campbell Club is probably the University of Oregon’s foremost venue for live music, organizing open mics on Tuesdays and booking small bands to play parties that end up much larger than those bands’ average draws. But since the raid, the co-op has taken extreme care in organizing its events.

“We weren’t even sure if we wanted to keep having open mics,” said Max Kelner, current resident of the Campbell Club. “But we decided to because we just wanted to keep music accessible to people. I think that’s one of the driving forces behind this place — I mean, how many places can you see live music for five bucks, all ages?”

Not many, at least not this close to campus. That’s why, according to Kelner, bands were still banging on the Campbell Club’s proverbial door long after the raid. He describes one band that came by on their way to California a few weeks prior. “They asked if we could play a show here and we said we couldn’t get it together, but they still got together and played a show for the house,” he said.

Though the co-op’s reputation may be intact among musicians, it has suffered among those less familiar with its environs.

“It was interesting to see what people really thought of us,” said Cruz Castillo, a former Campbell Club resident. “KVAL did a story on us and we’d look at the comments. Some people really supported us, but other people … ”

Comments on the video run the spectrum from, “Our sad little country has turned into a police state,” to, “I’m glad all those people got arrested and I wish that more did.” Some say the KVAL video portrays the co-op in a negative light, splicing the anchors’ commentary with shots of empty bottles and Solo cups lying outside the building.

“I think we became more mythical,” Castillo said. “When people walk by this place they kind of stare at it. I think the raid helped create this mystery, because nobody really knows what happened.”

Resident Taylor Hulburt insists the celebrations will continue, though likely less often. The co-op has even hosted small parties after the raid — low-key affairs featuring acoustic acts. Residents didn’t even make a flyer for the first one. “It was nice that we were confident enough to throw another party and not be too shaken up by the police,” Castillo said.

But will there be more parties like the one police busted in February?

“I hope not,” Castillo said.

March 18 – Morning Headlines

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Morning Headlines

[Headline-Sponsor]

Guess what business garners the most complaints in Oregon?
Guess what business garners the most complaints in Oregon?
  • 7:18 this morning – reports of a fire at 1870 ONYX ST – EUGENE,OR.: WORKING APARTMENT FIRE, 3-STORY W/FIRE IN BASEMENT AND FIRST FLOOR. 2 LINE IN OPERATION. No further details currently, check the EDN Headline News page for updates.
  • Vandal opens six Springfield fire hydrants
    Springfield Police are looking for witnesses. The hydrants hit were all in the same area, around 16th Street, between B and I Streets. more…
  • 8 arrested, more cited following noise complaint near UO
    Police arrested eight people and cited over a dozen more at a disorderly party near the University of Oregon campus Saturday night, Eugene Police said
  • Oregon Loses Final Game of Series at USC
    The Oregon Ducks baseball team couldn’t manage a sweep of the Trojans in their first conference series of the year, as Cole Irvin was roughed for five runs over the course of 4 2/3 innings. On a positive note for the Ducks was Mitchell Tolman launching
  • Ducks Selected As A 12 Seed In The NCAA Tournament
    Coming off a 26-8 season where they recently won the Pac-12 tournament championship, the Oregon Ducks were selected as a 12 seed in the NCAA tournament. Oregon was selected to the midwest region and will play #14 Oklahoma State Thursday in San Jose, Ca

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

[Weather-Sponsor]

[gn_note color=#eee][Accuweather][/gn_note]

You’ll see plenty of sunshine again today, but Tuesday will be a different story.

An upper level trough of low pressure (Shaded “U” shape) is moving eastward away from the Pacific Northwest taking storms away. A frontal system pushed through bringing more clouds and precipitation to the Pacific Northwest and colder temperatures. A complex frontal system will return the stream of moisture pouring into Oregon by midweek bringing the “Spring Rain.” Spring officially begins with the “Vernal Equinox ” at 4:02 AM Wednesday March 20th.

[gn_spoiler title=”ADVISORIES” open=”0″ style=”1″]A FROST ADVISORY IS IN EFFECT FROM 1 AM UNTIL 8 AM TODAY FOR THE SOUTH CENTRAL OREGON COAST.[/gn_spoiler]

High: 56
Low: 36
Forecast: Mostly cloudy with patchy fog this AM, a mix of clouds and sun this afternoon, partly cloudy this evening, mostly cloudy tonight, mostly cloudy with rain Tuesday (0.15 in. of rain possible) and Tuesday night (0.35 in. of rain possible) and breezy at night (wind: S 10-15 mph increasing to S 15-25 mph late), mostly cloudy with AM rain, showers Wednesday afternoon, then showers likely (70%) Wednesday night highs 56-53 lows 36-47 cooling to 35 Wednesday night. Mostly cloudy with a (40%) chance of showers Thursday, partly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers Thursday night, just partly cloudy Friday, mostly cloudy with a (30%) chance of rain Friday night, a mix of clouds and sun with a slight (20%) chance of rain Saturday, mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of rain at night, then a mix of clouds and sun with a slight (20%) chance of showers Sunday highs 50-60 lows 33-40. (seasonal averages high 57 low 37)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Benefit For Autism

When the weather forecast is bad and the news is bad, there is always music. In this case it’s an album of exceptional local Eugene talent whose proceeds benefit the Kindtree Autism Rocks charity. Support Autism, the arts, and a bright spot in your day.

[bandcamp album=2124098872 bgcol=FFFFFF linkcol=4285BB size=venti]

September 20 – Morning Headlines

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Morning Headlines

[Headline-Sponsor]

Day of Caring - kval image
Nearly 30 non profit agencies from throughout the Eugene area opened their doors to volunteers from businesses and community groups as part of United Way of Lane County’s annual Day of Caring. (image kval.com)
  • Lowell post office thieves’ latest target
    A post office in the community of Lowell is the fourth mail center in Lane County to be targeted by burglars in recent weeks. A post office employee said mail may have been stolen in the Lowell burglary, which was discovered Tuesday morning …
  • “Big Hoodoo” would remove hazardous fuels on 2,100 acres
    A McKenzie River Ranger District project to improve forest conditions and reduce hazardous fuels in the Hoodoo-Big Lake area calls for salvaging dead lodgepole pine and commercially thinning on approximately 2,100 acres in the Santiam Pas…
  • A course of its own
    The University of Oregon might add a semi-private golf course designed by premier architect Tom Fazio to its assemblage of high-end sports facilities, which now include a new basketball arena, baseball stadium and football operations center. A group of…
  • ‘We’re all better off if we share our prosperity and help each other out’
    Nearly 30 non profit agencies from throughout the Eugene area opened their doors to volunteers from businesses and community groups as part of United Way of Lane County’s annual Day of Caring
  • Q&A: Freshman back Byron Marshall on sibling rivalries and his conditioning
    With talent like Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas in the backfield, it can be hard to find playing time outside of garbage minutes. But freshman running back Byron Marshall’s speed and versatility has forced coaches to turn to him as the… 
  • Suttles leads Millers to shutout
    Taylor Suttles scored two goals and assisted on two others to lead Springfield to a 5-0 victory over Marshfield in Midwestern League girls soccer on Wednesday. The Millers (2-2-1, 1-0 MWL), who scored all of its goals in the second half, a..
  • Oregon Volleyball — No. 8 Ducks roll past No. 26 Beavers 3-0
    Oregon Ducks volleyball started Pac-12 play off with a 3 – 0 victory over the Oregon State Beavers in what was the 97th Civil War matchup between the two. The Ducks attacked the Beavers with balanced scoring across the board, with four players re…

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

[Weather-Sponsor]

[gn_note color=#eee][Accuweather][/gn_note]

Today will be a really nice day and much the same for Friday. The Autumnal Equinox is 7:49 AM Saturday marking the beginning of Autumn.The weekend will be different with a slight chance of showers Saturday night and Sunday.

High: 75
Low: 48
Forecast: mostly sunny

A  high pressure ridge (Shaded “Arch” shape with blue arrows in the Gulf of Alaska and Western Canada) is far enough North to allow a low pressure area off the California coast to slowly slide under the ridge and move toward the Oregon coast increasing the onshore flow which will give us some more clouds and slowly cooling temperatures. We will start to cool down a bit, but temperatures will remain near normal. There will be a change in the weather pattern as we get into the end of the weekend and next week which will give us a chance of showers as a cold front moves in on Monday.

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Cloudy this AM, mostly sunny this afternoon, partly cloudy tonight, cloudy in the AM, mostly sunny Friday, partly cloudy in the evening, cloudy late Friday night and Saturday AM, partly cloudy Saturday afternoon and evening, then mostly cloudy with a slight (20%) chance of showers late Saturday night highs 75-70 warming to 73 Saturday lows near 48. Mostly cloudy Sunday AM with a slight (20%) chance of showers, a mix of clouds and sun in the afternoon, becoming partly cloudy by Sunday night and partly cloudy and a bit warmer Monday through Wednesday highs 75-79 lows near 49. (seasonal averages high 76 low 46)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Saturday Night On The Town

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It kicked off last night, this 4 day party at the end of October. Whether it’s a series of galas with friends, a full field blitz of the shows haunting the club scene, or a more dignified blend of party and culture, Tuesday promises to break the record for the most number of people calling in sick on a single day.

Being a Duck game Saturday, there’s nothing like a little tailgating, even if it’s just a driveby.  Walking through the parking lot, enjoying the party atmosphere and accepting almost every invitation to taste, imbibe, or just stop and chat – it’s like happy hour without walls.

Speaking of happy hour, after a quick nap to sleep off the afternoon festivities, a full plate of entertainment awaits:  Concrete Cowboys, Medium Troy, Sonny Rhodes, and of course the Creepshow at Goodfellas.

First its a short stop by Cozmic Pizza to see Sonny Rhodes.  Blues is generally a small dose goes a long way genre, but self-proclaimed “Disciple of the Blues” Sonny Rhodes is a don’t miss.  $20 at the door is a little steep for the venue, but not for the show.  This award winning son-of-a-sharecropper has made over 200 recordings, played with the likes of Freddie King and Albert Collins, and for all the sci-nerds out there (me) – recorded the theme song “The Ballad of Serenity” for the Joss Whedon series Firefly; yes THAT Sonny Rhodes.  If this all sounds foreign to you then this probably isn’t your scene tonight.

Next up are the Concrete Cowboys out at the Whiskey River Ranch.  Actually its a toss-up between this and the Creepshow, but more on that shortly.  Now Country music (aka New Rock with a twang) is another style that requires a small dose at infrequent intervals, but this band is smokin’ good.  Check out Great Excuse for a taste – its a pretty stock CR song, but you’ll hear the voice, the band and some serious “tight”.  The bill themselves as a “hard” country rock band, Whiskey River bills it as their Halloween Hoedown – I’ll go with door number 2.  $8 at the door.

Normally this wouldn’t be much of a decision, I’d hit Whiskey River, but Goodfellas is featuring it’s own Halloween Creepshow.

It’s not the official name btw, they call it the Hardcore Haunted Halloween with Lyckwyd and Big Hammer Theory.  If you haven’t seen these bands before, you owe it to yourself to break out the earplugs and leather and catch this show.  Think of it as a local version of a Slipknot and MudVayne show – sounds redundant but it’s not.  While both band are heavy on the theatrics, you’ll notice that Lyckwyd in particular crafts songs that will stick with you.  Not like that bit of zombie on your shoe, more like “man, somebody here is seriously pissed off I hope he’s not in the parking lot when I leave early” kind of way.  Both bands have a big draw and this crowd likes to have a good time.  More fun than you will normally find in Eugene on a given night.

Hey, a special late night zombie party is a good reason to bail early.

BTW – Like Off the Waffle? Send pictures of you in your Halloween costume out in the mayhem and we’ll give you a $25 gift certificate – if yours is voted the best by our highly opinionated panel of judges (our editors) that is.  Email to [email protected] and we’ll post the best, burn the rest and announce a winner in next Friday’s Night On The Town – you’ll have your certificate in time for your Saturday morning “feed your head” breakfast.

— Eddie

[ad#Will Call – Sponsor: Procrastinators 11/4]

Halloween Parties

Lyckwyd & Big Hammer Theory: MetalGoodfellas – 9:00
WaNiBra: Rock/AlternativeGranary – 10:00
Dammit Jim: Rock CoversVillage Green – 9:00
Happy Camp: Rock Quackers – 9:00
$8 Anticipate Pie, Aeon Now, Miss Tess: VarietyAxe & Fiddle – 8:30
$8 Halloween Hoedown with Concrete Cowboys: CountryWhiskey River Ranch – 9:00
$8 (In costume or $10 without) Medium Troy, Synergy, Snow Angel: Dub, ReggaeWOW Hall – 9:00
$10 Fetish Ball:  Downtown Lounge – 9:00

Original Music

Leah Jones, John Baumann: Indie FolkAstoria Bar – 9:00
New World Order, Bloodlust, Sucker Punch9: MetalOak St. Speakeasy
Benefit: Explode-a-tron, Ana Kefr, Filth Machine: Metal Black Forest – 10:00
$5 Golden Motors, Underlings: RockSam Bond’s – 9:00
$5 Mud Puppy, Betty & the Boy, Earl Patrick: Indie, AmericanaLuckey’s – 9:00

Cover & Tribute Bands

“Sup!” with Sassy Mouff, Michael Human: Top 40, electroCowfish – 9:30
7 Lucky Surfers: Surf Wandering Goat – 9:00
Valley Boys: Rock, variety Happy Hours – 8:00

Blues, Jazz & Country

Upstate Trio: Grunge JazzMaize Lounge – 10:00
Kenny Reed: Jazz Downtown Athletic Club – 8:00
Mars Grass: Blues, rockMulligan’s Pub – 9:30
$5 Bob Wehrman Group: JazzJazz Station – 8:00
$10 Door Number Three & Michael Tracey: BluesMac’s – 7:00
$20 Sonny Rhodes: BluesCozmic Pizza– 8:30

Dance, DJ, Hip Hop, Other

J-Will (DJ): Dance MixDoc’s Pad – 8:00
DJ Crown: Hip Hop, DanceTaylor’s – 10:00

The Whiteaker Block Party

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Tracy Sydor, EDN

Patriotic Whiteaker Block Party attendee

The Whiteaker Block Party held in August of each year is just one of Eugene’s outlandish and entertaining summertime festivities. This was the fifth year of jubilant merrymaking in this not so quaint area located on Third and Blair right in the heart of the “Whit hood”.

The mighty Whiteaker force was something to be behold with as they kicked off the festivities on Saturday, August 6. The wonderful close-knit neighborhood provides the Eugene area with a warm blanket of friends and a very real sense of family and community. This years shindig was said to have drawn more than 7,000 party goers;  An increase over previous years.

The Block Party itself showcased local businesses that came to peddle their wares such as The Divine Cupcake, Papa’s Soul food and New Day bakery, Ninkasi Brewing Company, CornerStone and the Center for Appropriate Transport, to name a few.  This support added to the ambiance of the festivities and to the diversity of available food and entertainment; nothing like topping off the day with a treat from Divine Cupcake –  a little extra sugar to get me through the evening.

Marv Ellis and the Platform live at the Ninkasi Main stage

A high point to the event was the fashion show with models strutting their stuff on the catwalk, showing off the works of local designers like Laura Lee Laroux of The Redoux Parlour, Mitra Chester from Deluxe and Kitsch and Delphina of Slash ’N’ Burn.  There was a high degree of audience participation and enthusiasm for this favorite Whit event.

The music for the block party was of course awesome with impeccable performances including Bazil Rathbone, C. Three, Heavenly Oceans, Rare Monk, Man Overboard, Necktie Killer, Basin and Range, Tyler Fortier, Volifonix, Adventure Galley, Uncle Nancy, all offering up their sickest beats.

I have to say Marv Ellis and the Platform was one of my favorites of the evening and kept the crowd jumping and I even scored a 3 track cd from the group as he was wrapping up the set.

Local Aerosol Artist creating a work of art during a live show

Street performances and a myriad of amusing distractions and activities were available to help carry even the latest of night owls through till the early morning. Best of all it’s free to the public. Witnessing firsthand how the neighborhood welcomed outsiders with outstretched arms and lots of warm smiles to go around really set the tone for the evening. Bottom line is you name it and it was most likely there in some form or another and completely entertaining.

If you missed the Whit Block Party this year, plan on next year – many consider this to be the real “soul of Eugene” party – very bohemian, authentic, and very Eugene.

Girl’s Day Out!

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GIRLS DAY OUT
– Julia Crowley

Party Shuttle

As described on their Facebook fan page, “Sam’s Party shuttle is the Premier Destination Fun Bus”. It’s true, and I know first-hand because I joined in on one of these premier destination parties: Girl’s Day Out.

The excursion on the ultimate party shuttle for Girl’s Day Out was a special trip for ladies to visit 3 fabulous South Willamette Wineries: Pfeiffer Winery, LaVelle Vineyards, and Domaine Meriwether. For $45 per person, lunch and wine would be provided at Pfeiffer, there was a free Olive Oil Tasting Bar presented by Olive Grand at LaVelle Vineyards along with samples of LaVelle wines, and Domaine Meriwether specially prepared a dessert to go along with their highly acclaimed sparkling wines.

Sam's Place Tavern in West Eugene

Sam’s Party Shuttle resides at Sam’s Place Tavern, a sports bar located in West Eugene. The group was to meet inside the bar between 11:30am and noon, and the shuttle was scheduled to leave Sam’s at noon. My friend and I had never been to Sam’s Place Tavern before, but we both agreed that it would be one of the best places in town to watch Duck games, they even had booth seating that boasted their own TV sets. Once all of the ladies arrived, we headed outside to load onto the shuttle. Denise, who was our tour guide, gave each one of us a beautiful rose as we loaded onto the bus.

cozy & inviting - Pfeiffer tasting room

The shuttle had large picture windows, and seated 22 people comfortably, and once we started out towards Pfeiffer Winery, Denise was ready to begin a wine trivia game. The lucky winner from each leg of the trip would win a purple feathered tiara lined with rhinestones…to be worn the rest of the day! The wine trivia game was an excellent way to break the ice between strangers and get us all laughing as a group.

LaVelle Winery

Pfeiffer Winery is located in Junction City, and the intimate, boutique tasting room is similar to a candle-lit Tuscan cave. Tastefully decorated with inviting, comfortable furniture and a cozy fireplace, I was ready to taste some wine and indulge in the lunch Danuta Pfeiffer had waiting for us. With our ciabatta sandwiches and pasta salad, we were able to choose from selected Pfeiffer wines, and I chose their Viognier. Crisp and refreshing, the well balanced Pfeiffer Viognier exudes a lime zest on the lasting finish that makes it stand out from other Viognier’s. Great with a variety of foods, its crispness allows it to be consumed all on its own. After lunch, we walked outside to see their newly landscaped outdoor seating amid a gorgeous water garden with ponds and water features all set within the vineyard.

Olive Grand Olive Tasting Bar

Our next destination was LaVelle Vineyards in Elmira. The property at LaVelle Vineyards is beautiful with lush grassy lawns and architecturally pleasing landscaping. But in the spring, it’s especially beautiful because their Cherry Blossom trees are in full bloom. When we entered the tasting room, Olive Grand had a table set up with fresh berries and bite sized pieces of baguette. They were sampling several of their popular olive oils and balsamic vinegars, but the one combination that has stuck with me and is a new favorite, is the Blood Orange Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegar. Olive Grand’s retail shop is located in downtown Eugene at 1041 Willamette St., and if you haven’t experienced their extensive selection of gourmet goodness yet, I highly suggest you take some time to go. You won’t be disappointed. The wine servers at LaVelle were ready with several samples for us.

Cherry Blossom in full bloom

Their Pinot Gris is unoaked and fermented in stainless steel. It’s crisp and dry with citrus and melon flavors, and perfect for the upcoming summer months. Their Pinot Noir is aged in oak for 9 months, and it’s earthy with hints of vanilla and strawberries. One of my favorite LaVelle wines is the Cabernet Sauvignon, it is fruit forward and has bold flavors of ripe blackberries and plums, and I’ve celebrated many holidays with a bottle of their Cab. I was also lucky enough to get a sneak sip of the newly released Matthew’s Reserve Pinot Noir, and I knew right away it was my new favorite from LaVelle. The fruit forward flavors of cherries and the hints of vanilla come together perfectly to create a silky smooth lasting finish, it’s a stellar Pinot Noir. My friend and I decided to share a bottle of the Matthew’s Reserve, and we grabbed a table outside near the Cherry Blossom tree and thoroughly enjoyed every sip.

Set up and ready for Bubbly 101

On to our next destination with more wine trivia and a whole load of laughter, we headed towards Veneta, to Domaine Meriwether. Domaine Meriwether is known for their world renowned line of sparkling wines, and when we arrived, the tables were covered with linens, each with a fresh tulip centerpiece. We took our seats, and Buzz Kawders, owner of Domaine Meriwether, gave us a surprise “Bubbly 101” class. We learned about method champenoise and the entire process of making sparkling wines, all while sampling some of Buzz’s finest. We were also treated to a delicious chef prepared cheesecake with Buzz’s NV Cuvee Glace drizzled on top. I noticed that no one had a single crumb on their plate when we were finished. It was truly a delectable dessert, and absolutely delicious with Domaine Meriwether sparkling wines.

As we departed Domaine Meriwether and headed back to Sam’s Place Tavern, everyone was raving about what a spectacular day it was. I knew I was going to be writing about ‘Girl’s Day Out’, so I asked some of the ladies to write down what they thought about their day out at the wineries on Sam’s Party Shuttle. Word for word, here is what they gave me, titled “The Wine Wars”:

Wine Wars!

“The day started at Sam’s Place…Everybody had a sober face.

Got on the bus at noon…When we couldn’t answer right, we knew it was doom.

O’ the pressure to answer the question just right….Led us to believe we would never achieve our great knight.

All of a sudden, the bar was set high… Then princess Nystrom began the great fight.

The fight was intense, Rebecca chimed in… Then ultimately stole the primary win.

There were those of us that came up with jack… And then there were those that tried to fight back.

Then Pfeiffer served up sandwiches and Gris… We left behind chocolate in our hurry to flee.

On our way to LaVelle Dutchess Christine… Dazzled us all with her performance pristine.

The Cab was divine and oh, so fine… But the Matthew’s Reserve was incredibly sublime.

Buzz of Domaine Meriwether - serving up some Bubbly 101 education

Olive Grand was there with berries to share… And what a surprise it made a great pair!

Mindy gave in to the alcohol within… And pulled off the last tiara win!

Meriwether was bubbling and sparkling to boot… Buzz was entertaining and such a great hoot.

Chef Garrett created an elicit surprise… And served a dessert that romanced our palates and eyes.

We got on the bus…Sam’s Place bound…Picking our last drink with our new friends found.”

Sign up for one of these premier destination and totally fun tours. Sam’s Party Shuttle offers winery tours, brewery tours, Christmas Light tours, Pub Crawls and is always available for private parties. Become a fan on their Facebook page for contact information and upcoming events and tours: http://www.facebook.com/SamsPartyShuttle

Julia – Writing about Eugene’s Wine Scene

Thursday: Night on the Town

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Are Thursday’s the new Friday?  Here are our picks for out on the town:

Feelin Cheesy: Dave Lomond – Hole in the Wall BBQ, 6pm – no cover. Elvis lives, and he can still sing.

Walk on the Wild Side: Long Tall & Ugly – Sam Bonds, 9pm – $5. Get your Velvet Underground vibe fix. When they’re sound is on, you’ll be feeling your Sweet Jane…

Bohemians: Hot Panda – Luckey’s, 9pm – 12am (with Boats), $3 at the door. Modern, in your face, catchy, edgy…you know.

Stand or Fall: Open Mics – Various. Get up and put it out there, beats karaoke.

If you think we missed a good one, add a comment and a link, we’ll check it out. Think we picked a bad one? Let us know which one and why. We’re open.