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Homer Days returns: Silverton festival charges ahead – like a couch

By Melissa Wagoner

Affectionately known as “Homer Days,” the Homer Davenport Community Festival – held the first Friday through Sunday in August (the sixth through eighth this year) – is absolutely unique.

An offshoot of the Silverton Arts Association’s, Family Festival of the Arts, held for the first timåe in 1980, the Homer Days festival is the only celebration in Oregon dedicated to a political cartoonist and journalist – Homer Davenport.

“Clues to this tradition can be gleaned from Davenport’s own autobiography – still in print – regarding his early years in this town,” local historian Gus Frederick said. “His stories about the individuals of the time, and how they all worked together to build and maintain the town remind me of our current community and its characters.”

The festival is typically comprised of numerous gatherings – including a parade, food and vendor booths, live music and the infamous Davenport Races – all of which had to be cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, except for one.

“Ironically, the annual International Cartoon Contest was unaffected last year, since it relies on submitted cartoons which are then duplicated and sent to the three judges,” Frederick confirmed. “In fact, the Cartoon Contest was the 2020 Homer Days. We actually received more entries in 2020 than the year before. The only change was that one had to view them online as opposed to the gallery setup we usually do in the Community Center.”

All the other festival events this year are held outdoors, largely in spacious Coolidge McClaine Park. 

“[F]rom a structural standpoint we are of course figuring in social distancing protocols,” Frederick said. “Probably scaled down from past festivals.”

But still a whole lot of fun, with the parade through downtown Silverton scheduled for Aug. 7 at 10 a.m., the Davenport Races – highly competitive teams racing actual davenports down a blocked off city street – held on Aug. 8 and a host of booths filling the park all three days.

“The venue… is large and easy to access, for young and old alike,” Frederick noted. Adding, “something for everyone.”

Homer Davenport
Community Festival

Aug. 6 – 8
Coolidge McClaine Park, Silverton
Homer program insert in Our Town

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