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Springfield — 4th of July with Riders In The Sky

Springfield is an ordinary looking community that functions primarily as a suburb for Eugene … you could say it is Eugene’s plain stepsister. We spent only a couple of hours exploring the downtown area …  an area blessed with an abundance of thrift stores and antique shops. By far the brightest item in town is the historic mustard yellow railroad depot.

The only thing that brought us back to Springfield was the serendipitous fortune of seeing a flyer announcing the city’s Fourth of July festivity … the Light of Liberty Celebration ... with the "Grammy-award winning comedic country western band Riders In The Sky." There wasn’t much information on the flyer … the location was Island Park, ticket price was three dollars and tickets were available at SUB. What the heck is SUB? We had to ask several people before discovering that SUB stood for Springfield Utility Board. All the proceeds from the event would benefit Project Share ... "an energy assistance program that helps low- and fixed-income Springfield residents with wintertime heating emergencies."

On the 4th we arrived at the park early and spread out our blanket right in front of the hay bales surrounding the stage. The emcee for the event was the local deejay … his shtick was so corny as to be mildly entertaining. The opening acts were surprisingly talented and consisted of several local bands and the city’s volunteer orchestra. Enough already … we were here for the Riders … and they didn’t disappoint. They sang with wonderful harmony, told amusing stories around their stage prop campfire, changed their elaborate costumes twice and got the audience dancing. The Riders played two sets … finishing at 10 pm … just in time for the pyrotechnics.

We were blown away by how breathtaking the fireworks were … as they exploded high above the Willamette River … synchronized to the recorded patriotic music. Whoever coordinated this event deserves a big pat on the back … it was one of the best we have seen. It was hard for us to believe that we were thoroughly entertained for just three bucks each ... what a deal!

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