While the garden slug may not be revered in the garden, they are
beloved out of that context in the lush garden city of Eugene, Oregon.
By Constance Van Flandern
No matter how you feel about slugs there's no denying that they leave a trail of sparkling glitz behind. This year's sparkling trail begins in the Ken Kesey Plaza on August 15 with the annual coronation of Eugene's most beloved counterculture icon—The Slug Queen -- happening sometime soon thereafter (stay tuned). You'll know you are in the right place when you hear the accordion music of Accordions Anonymous and see the feathers and finery of the Queens, contestants and crowd. The music and dancing continue in a carnival like atmosphere long after the new queen is crowned. The Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod (SLUG) Queen Festival runs through Aug 22.
Mosey over to Adam's Grill and see if they'll whip you up some of their Slug Sliders. Yum. Follow the slug trail through town and stop at someof the finest eateries and watering holes in Oregon--each offering up a tasty slug-themed treat -- think gorgeous Kekau Chocolate Slugs, yummyflower and slug decorated Organic cupcakes from Divine Cupcake or Sweet Life, a Royal Banana Slug Queen Ice Cream Sundae with caramel "slime" at Barack Obama's Eugene hang out Prince Puckler's Ice Cream, or a cool "Slugtini" at Davis Bar and Grill).
And be sure to stop by the New Zone Gallery on West Broadway for the Slug Salon--an artist's exhibition of everything Slug Queen. The opening reception will be very family friendly with activities for kids of all ages.
[editor's note: let me repeat that, "very family friendly with plenty of activities for kids of all ages."]
See the full list of trail treats on www.slugqueeneugene.com
Where to stay?
Her Highness is very particular, of course. But what self respecting slug wouldn't adore a quaint bed and breakfast actually called "The Secret Garden"? It's delicious! Another Royal hotspot, "The Excelsior Inn" will treat you like royalty.
If you miss the Slug Queen festival, come for The Eugene Celebration Hit the heart of Eugene's largest annual festival September 12-14. Saturday the 13th will kick off the first full day of music, food and art with a large funky
parade through the center of town. Be sure to get there early as the streets are crowded and the Slug
Queen Float opens the parade!
--Constance Van Flandern is a mom in Eugene, Oregon. Photos by Roger Rix.