We refuse to believe that KeizerFEST (born as the Keizer Iris Festival) has run its course. But we do think that its current home at Keizer Lions Club and Cherry Avenue is the best place for an event of this size.

When the festival moved from Keizer Station to the Keizer Lions Club a few years ago it solved a problem. Keizer Station was building out leaving no space for all the elements of the festival. With no better alternative and a landlord that was amendable, the event was shoehorned into the yard at the Lions Club. Utilizing that property plus closing down part of Cherry Avenue, the festival had found what some people consider its forever home.

When the main tent was erected at previous sites—especially on River Road, the community got excited: they were reminded that it was festival time. The main tent placed at the Keizer Lions Club is not readily visible from important River Road traffic.

Some have said that Keizer Rapids Park is the ideal location for KeizerFEST. It is a nice idea but it is too far off the beaten path and as amenities are added at the park, the space for a festival would grow ever smaller.

We think the only viable, long-term solution to the future of KeizerFEST is to negotiate an arrangement with Volcanoes Stadium. 

The festival is important for the Keizer community—residents and businesses alike. The event was known as the Keizer Iris Festival for the first 30 plus years of its existence. The name was changed to KeizerFEST in 2018. Keizer has billed itself as the iris capital of the world for years, and it still is, thanks to Schreiner’s Iris Gardens north of the city. 

The festival has always been a celebration of Keizer itself. That’s one good reason to site the festival where the most people can see it, and hopefully, visit. As a city we can celebrate alone by ourselves or we can invite the surrounding areas to see what Keizer has to offer—its businesses, its parks and amenities. 

By placing KeizerFEST at a site with high visibility—such as the stadium—you make it easy for residents and passers-by alike to see it. Out of sight, out of mind; in sight, top of mind. 

We have been loyal supporters of the Keizer Iris Festival and KeizerFEST and nothing will change that. We think Keizer has many things to be proud of and celebrate. Keizer is now home to two large parades—KeizerFEST and Holiday Lights in December. The May festival, once the only event on the calendar, is now competing with dozens of other events and activities. That’s why the festival needs to grab any advantage it can to be the preferred event for people to attend on the third weekend in May.

As volunteers in the community we are ready to roll up sleeves and do what we can to assure Keizer’s premier community event continues far into the future.

— LAZ