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With praises for her fair city, SLUG Queen says farewell.

Byline: Queen Holly GoSlugly (Debbie Williamson Smith)

A dear friend once asked me why I coveted the crown of SLUG Queen. "Because I love Eugene," I exclaimed without a moment of hesitation. This year, while wearing the crown, I've had the privilege of seeing Eugene through slime-colored glasses - and our city has never been more glorious.

This year has passed by in a whirlwind of sequins, green organza and false eyelashes, and although not all of our fair citizens long for the title, I wish for all to know what I have learned. Eugene is about the people.

And you are amazing.

You are philanthropists. I have witnessed you passionately raising money and giving your time to the causes that are dear to your hearts. You have allowed me to support autism awareness, cancer research, social services and my cause of choice, arts education. To the 57 locally owned businesses that gave their goods and services to help my charity (and almost every other nonprofit in town) and to our community of volunteers, thank you.

You are artists. You dance in our streets, fill the air with music, and live life with passion. To the artists of our city, who sculpt, paint, dance, and perform for the pure pleasure of art, and to the art supporters, collectors, ticket buyers, galleries and organizations that provide funds, access and appreciation, thank you.

You are educators. You share your wisdom with those who seek it, often with creativity and the joy that comes from life-long learning. To the teachers, librarians, business owners, who never hesitated to make me wiser, thank you.

You are neighbors. You welcome visitors and new residents openly and honestly. You speak with pride of your favorite local haunts, sites not to be missed, and why this is a great place to be. To those who bowed or shouted "long live the queen" as I passed by, to those who sought me out to introduce me to out-of town guests, and to those who open their homes and hearts to all who walk our streets, thank you.

You are Eugene. And I love you.

I'm grateful for what has been a wonderful year.

The Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod will crown Queen Holly GoSlugly's successor, Eugene's 30th SLUG queen, on Aug. 10. Queen Holly GoSlugly will then resume her identity as commoner Debbie Williamson Smith.
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Title Annotation:Local Opinion
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Aug 4, 2012
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