By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
With the Keizer Eclipse Festival less than a month away, the push is on for local volunteers to help with the efforts.
The Keizer Parks Foundation is hosting a campground at Keizer Rapids Park for visitors hoping to catch sight of the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21. The Keizer Festival Advisory Board discussed many of the plans at a meeting Monday, July 24.
Volunteers are needed throughout the weekend for a variety of tasks, but also beforehand. Volunteer Allen Barker is looking for assistance at the park in the evenings of Aug. 14 and 15 to help mark off campsites.
Those interested in volunteering during the festival for grounds maintenance, merchandise sales, parking assistance, equipment check out and registration can sign up at www.keizereclipse.com.
Reservations for camping are also ramping up. About 120 of the 169 available spaces have been reserved with more coming in each day.
Keizer City Councilor Marlene Parsons, who is heading up the organizing efforts, said about 10 new reservations came in the day of the meeting. Reservations are coming in from all over the United States. Visitors from Hawaii, Maryland, Chicago, Texas, California, Washington and Idaho have booked spaces. There is even a small group coming from Europe.
“They are backpacking across the United States and this is going to be a side trip for them before they continue on,” Parsons said.
Parsons said she also fielded a call wondering if the camping options were a scam given the availability and the relative bargain price compared to what other spaces are going for in the days leading up to the eclipse.
Some plans are being scaled back slightly while others for the event are becoming more fully-formed. Originally, there were plans for two food trucks in addition to meals being served by the Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre. Plans are now for a shaved ice and ice cream truck along with a food stand provided by El Patron.
Organizers are also looking for donations of bottled water to be sold in the park. Parsons said she already has about 60 cases, but would like 100. If businesses are interested in donating, logos on the bottles are permissible. Contact Parsons at email@example.com to plan drop-off.
Commemorative T-shirts will be available for $15.
Earlier discussions included possible volleyball tournaments and a frisbee golf tournament, but concerns about parking, crowds and general traffic associated with the eclipse have altered the plan. Visitors will likely be able to check out equipment for use in both locations, but no formal events will be scheduled. A family bike ride is slated Sunday, Aug. 20.
There will also be three free concerts the weekend of the eclipse. Syco Billy will perform Friday, Aug. 18; Ty Curtis is slated for Saturday, Aug. 19, and violinist David Klinkenberg will perform during the eclipse Monday, Aug. 21.
“I’ve heard some people saying they will stay away from the park that weekend, but we want all of our regular Keizer and Salem people to come for the concerts – especially on Friday and Saturday,” Parsons said.