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Eugene’s Hult Center marks 40 years

Eugene’s Hult Center for the Performing Arts celebrates 40 years of operation this weekend. This week, the center released a short documentary marking the anniversary. In the film, local storyteller and journalist Fred Crafts explains, “The grand opening occurred on September 24th, 1982. About 3,000 people attended. All the city bigwigs were there including author Ken Kesey of Pleasant Hill, and actor David Ogden Stiers of Eugene was the master of ceremonies. Eugene singer-songwriter Mason Williams, in a tux, rode his canoe from Springfield to Willamette Street, and then he went to the parking garage and asked the attendant to park it.”

The Hult Center was the first arts venue in the U.S. to be built without state or federal funding. It remains a City of Eugene property.

The Hult Center’s plaza hosts a free celebration from 11am to 2pm Saturday. Entertainment includes Zimbabwean singer Ratie D., dance music from DJ Anjali and the Incredible Kid, and rock and soul from Redray Frazier. There will also be activities and ticket giveaways.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.