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Nobel Peace Park Festival returns to Eugene

Plaques at the Nobel Peace Park line a curving walkway and abut a stone wall.
Roger Durant
Nobel Peace Laureate Project
Plaques at the Nobel Peace Park, a park within a park at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, honor the American's who have received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Past recipients include former U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Barack Obama, and Frank Kellogg and Martin Luther King Jr..

Eugene has a unique connection to the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize: a two-acre park inside Alton Baker Park dedicated to honoring the award’s American winners.

Before the announcement on Oct. 6 of this year’s recipient, there will be an opportunity to celebrate the spirit of the award and meet local humanitarians as Eugene’s Nobel Peace Park Community Festival returns to Alton Baker Park, after a pandemic-induced hiatus.

Peter Eberhardt, a board member of the Nobel Peace Laureate Project, which pushed for the park to be established, said Saturday’s festival will be a day of multicultural events, music, dancing, and food. Eugene mayor Lucy Vinis will also be in attendance.

It's family oriented, it's free. It's outdoors. It'll just be a lovely time to get together. We'd like for people to take away a sense of community, a sense of joy, a sense of togetherness and a sense of peace,” Eberhardt told KLCC.

The event will also honor the legacy of the project’s former President, John Attig of Eugene, who passed away last year at the age of 86. Also receiving posthumous recognition will be Portland’s Claes Nobel, the grand-nephew of Alfred Nobel, who founded the Nobel Prizes. Claes Nobel passed away in 2021 at the age of 90. Hi son, Marcus Nobel, had planned to participate in the festival but due to a family emergency will not attend as scheduled.

According to Eberhardt, Eugene is the only park in the United States that publicly acknowledges the 24 Americans who have won the Nobel Prize for peace, in contrast to numerous memorials across the country that acknowledge military heroes and commemorate battles.

“There are no other peace parks in the country like this one. We're a stand for peace, for resolving conflicts by dialogue and conversation, and coming to agreement versus going to war,” Eberhardt said.

The Nobel Peace Prize Festival takes place Saturday, Sept. 30 from 11 to 3.

Note: this story has been updated to reflect that Marcus Nobel will not attend the event, due to a family matter.

Jill Burke became KLCC's arts reporter in February, 2023.