Free Eclipse Festival, August 20

Ilene McClelland has been zipping up and down 11th Street quite frequently these past few months. Usually on a bicycle, she has also been spotted walking or running while organizing the inaugural Open Streets Corvallis festival, happening August 20 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., just two days before the eclipse totality. 

What is Open Streets Corvallis? It’s a free street festival that encourages active and alternative forms of transportation, and engages local neighborhoods and the surrounding community to form unique spaces where people can play. 

McClelland, an 11th Street resident, perfectly summarized what you can expect on Sunday: 

“Open Streets is an opportunity to strengthen our connections with each other and our environment. Sometimes we need to have a little fun to create those spaces where we can get to know our neighbors and our neighborhoods so we can solve a problem later or simply take time to celebrate. And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate one of our most shared public spaces — the street — than by walking, biking, and playing together.”

An advocacy project based out of Toronto, Onatario, the Open Streets Project aims to create “safe and happy cites that prioritize people’s wellbeing,” and “to improve the quality of life for people by bringing citizens together to enhance mobility and public space so that we can create more vibrant, healthy, and equitable communities.”

Open Streets initiatives temporarily eliminate motorized traffic by closing city streets so that people may use the streets instead for bike riding, strolling, interacting with each other, and even dancing in the streets. These festivals also aim to incorporate a community-wide art project -— the reason Corvallis received its first of many street murals.

Located at the intersection of Northwest 11th Street and Taylor Avenue is the big and brightly colored mural The Eclipse Rides Through Corvallis. Designed by resident Mandala Lady, Maureen Frank, and sponsored in part by the Corvallis Bicycle Collective, the street mural celebrates bicycling and the soon-to-be eclipse. At least thirty community volunteers gathered to paint the street mural, work being completed in just one day.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Open Streets event will close a mile stretch of 11th Street and a section of Taylor Avenue to automobile traffic, so that the community will be free to walk, bike, and play. At either end will be activity hubs at public parks Franklin Square and Garfield Park, offering food, a beer garden, live-music stages, and a dizzying array of activities. Activities include giant-sized games, yoga, an interactive percussion jam, pedestrian improvements, rain gardens, ecstatic dance, bicycle-powered carnival rides, a skateboard half-pipe, water dodgeball, and — wait for it —
a cleverly engineered bicycle-powered carousel.

Vendors include popular food trucks, Cheesy Stuffed Burgers and The Naked Crepe. Adult beverage choices for the day are 2 Towns Cider and Mazama Brewing Company. And among musical performers will be Cassandra Robertson and Belly Half Full.

For more information about the open streets festival go to https://openstreetscorvallis.org/

By Jennifer Moreland

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