Eclipse planning: Communities work to ensure visitors have a good time

October, 2017 Posted in Nature, News

By Mary Owen

From Aumsville to Detroit, people in the Santiam Canyon are gearing up for the Great American Eclipse on Aug. 21.

“Two of our tourism teams are meeting frequently to get ready for the influx of visitors, creating printed and web content so visitors know where to camp, where to go for fun, and how to find different events and activities,” said Allison McKenzie, executive director of GROW-EDC, a major player in coordinating the efforts up and down the Canyon. “We are also creating marketing tools that River Fusion 22 event producers can use to encourage visitors to join in the fun.”

Slated for Friday through Monday, Aug. 18-21, McKenzie said River Fusion 22 will offer entertainment, food and a variety of fun events for “friends, family and visitors from Aumsville to Detroit.”

“We’re billing River Fusion 22 as a way to escape and celebrate the eclipse in beautiful North Santiam River Country,” she said.

McKenzie credited Travel Oregon for awarding GROW a $10,000 matching grant to help fund activities during the eclipse weekend.

“GROW and DLRABA each contributed $2,500 for the cash-matching portion of the grant, with the rest of the match coming from the hundreds of hours volunteers are putting in to creating this first-time event,” McKenzie said.

Activities include: Aumsville Corn Festival, Aug. 19; Howl at the Moon block party, Old Town Stayton, Aug. 18; River City Music & Art Jamboree, Aug. 20; Black Out in Detroit, beer garden and festivities, weekend; Pirate Adventure Camp at Finding Your Neverland, North Fork, weekend; and Sol Wink Out, Scio, weekend.

“Smaller events include a steak fry and baked potatoes and all the fixin’s at Anthony Hall on Aug. 19, plus breakfast at First United Methodist Church in Stayton on Saturday and Monday mornings,” McKenzie said. “And Aumsville Community Theatre with two performances of a murder mystery show at Santiam Golf Club on Sunday. So, lots of stuff!”

Although state campgrounds are sold out, sites are still available around the area, including at the Sublimity Harvest Festival grounds, Trexler Farm, Camp Taloali and smaller venues up and down the area.

“We have plenty of tent and RV sites still available,” said Janet Johanson, Camp Taloali spokesperson. “Our combination of riverside views, large meadows and forest makes Camp Taloali an enjoyable and relaxing venue for campers who are coming to view the total eclipse.”

Interpretive Naturalist Jennifer Godfrey with Detroit Lake State Park said the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department has been preparing for the eclipse for more than a year, including adding area campsites to accommodate some of Oregon’s expected one million visitors.

“We are bringing in eclipse experts to share education/outreach with the visitors,” she said. “We are preparing for the crowds of excited travelers!”

Godfrey called the eclipse an “opportunity of a lifetime – Oregon’s claim to fame!”

McKenzie said volunteers are still needed for River Fusion 22. A meeting will be held, Tuesday, June 20, 10 a.m. to noon at Camp Taloali for people who want to get involved in the planning process.

To RSVP or for more eclipse information, e-mail McKenzie at

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