EAGLE POINT — Ambassadors from the town’s sister city in Japan will be treated to an all-American street dance Saturday night, complete with hay bales, food trucks and live entertainment.
The annual street dance, with music performed by the Duke Street Band, a blues group who accompanied Jim Belushi for a “Rebuild the Mill” fundraising event this year, kicks off at 6 p.m. near the downtown plaza and Bob Moore Park.
Mayor Bob Russell said a group of more than a dozen middle school students and school board members from the agriculture village of Showamura, Japan, would be on hand to experience one of his favorite events.
Russell said the group had missed out on a trip to Crater Lake this week, due to recent fires, but he figured a street dance and some live entertainment would more than make up for the missed activity.
The annual dance began a half-dozen years ago with locals walking into the downtown, which will be blocked off by hay bales.
“It usually attracts 200-300 people and we’ve done it for the last five or so years. It’s just a really, really good time,” said Russell.
“Literally, you get tons of old people and little tiny kids and young people will start a line dancing. Everyone leaves with a big smile on their face. There will be cowboys there, regular folks. Everyone just walks into town to enjoy this. It’s a great time.”
Russell said the city’s sister city ambassadors, who have visited every year for more than 15 years, always attend the dance.
The visitors missed out on their Crater Lake visit, but were treated to a Hellgate Jetboat tour instead, he noted. The dance will show the visitors a slice of Eagle Point's small town culture, said the mayor.
“They always have a lot of fun when they visit. A few years ago, I was in the Fourth of July parade with the mayor of Showa. They don’t really do parades and he had more fun throwing candy at the kids,” Russell said.
“It’s a little different every year but always great fun. People can sit on the grass, on the hay bales or bring chairs. It’s just right in the middle of town.”
Russell alluded to a “surprise guest” possibly partaking in the festivities.
He quipped, “You just never know who might show up.”
The Main Street event area will be blocked off to traffic during the event.
— Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at email@example.com.