JUNCTION CITY, Ore. - Julie Greenwald used to make the bedding and window treatments for motor coaches.
Since the RV industry crumbled, she now relies on smaller orders to make ends meet - and big events like the Scandinavian Festival to drive visitors through her store on 6th Street.
"It gives us fantastic exposure, you know," Greenwald said. "Last year we had about a thousand people come through."
Down the street at this book store, there's a similar story. Sheila Tyler came from Albany for the festival and stopped by the shop. She had never been before, but she spent a few bucks on a book.
The first Scandinavian Festival in Junction City aimed to boost community spirits after Interstate 5 took traffic - and travelers and their money - away from Junction City.
In its 50th celebration, the community again finds itself in need of a boost. When the bottom fell out of the RV industry, Junction City stumbled.
But with construction of new state prisons and psychiatric facilities in the future, a viking can walk down the street and not only not look weird - but stand tall.
Organizers said this was the busiest Thursday on record. More than 80,000 people could fill the streets in the next few days for a celebration not quite meant for this season.
"This is a winter festival," explained board member Mark Crenshaw, "that we hold in August."
The festival runs Thursday through Sunday and opens daily at 10 a.m. Admission is free.
But bring some cash and a little patience for some food. The lines for the meat pies and aebelskeevers were pretty long on Thursday - but worth the wait.
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