Get ready to bend the knee: The new SLUG queen is among us, and her name is Jenette Kime, aka SluGoddess Slime Shine.
Elected as Eugene’s unofficial ambassador, Kime has a plan that she hopes will bring Eugeneans closer together. Kime wants to revitalize the annual EUG Parade to bring it back to the glory it enjoyed in the days of the Eugene Celebration.
Kime also plans to literally resuscitate the slug that died in an accident on Beltline Road. As the Chinese-dragon-esque slug, which has appeared in endless Eugene Celebration parades, was being taken to storage, the slug’s head fell off the vehicle and the gastropod was mercifully “put down.”
Kime became interested in running after she was a celebrity judge for last year’s SLUG (Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod) queen competition. The contest typically happens in mid-August, and by November, Kime had decided to run.
In December, she had already started bribing old queens — a practice allowed and encouraged for contestants. When the Christmas tree was lit up in downtown Eugene, Kime was there to give mittens and hand warmers with her logo to the old queens. (SLUG queens can be old, and very old, but never former.)
If she was going to run, Kime says, she would go all out. And she did.
Kime’s SluGoddess Slime Shine costume is all about upcycling. Her extravagant green and pink dress is made from discarded materials found in local Goodwill and St. Vincent de Paul thrift stores. Her scepter, also very extravagant, is made of recycled materials, out of a baluster — a staircase pole — with bottle caps hanging off.
In fact, because of Kime’s over-the-top look, she was stopped by construction workers while walking to the Party Bar and also while being interviewed by Eugene Weekly inside the restaurant.
For the talent part of the SLUG queen contest and coronation, Kime decided to put on a mini parade, her way of saying that she wants to bring more community awareness and engagement to the EUG Parade.
“I had all these little entries, I sang a song to ‘I Love a Parade’ and then, as I was singing horribly, I distracted the audience to this mini parade,” she says.
Kime wanted to show that people didn’t have to exert a lot of effort to put together an event that is fun for everyone. They just need to be creative.
Kime has experience with local events. When she moved to Eugene from California in 1998, she volunteered with the Eugene Celebration, a three-day yearly community party that used to take place in downtown Eugene. The current EUG Parade stems from the now-defunct Eugene Celebration Parade.
Kime says the Eugene Celebration stopped being financially feasible and, just like the slug costume, it died. In 2014, Kesey Enterprises, which usually organized the Eugene Celebration, said that the construction in downtown Eugene reduced the space for entertainment stages.
A Eugene Celebration successor, the Festival of Eugene quickly ended after the organizer, Krysta Albert, called someone a racist slur on Facebook.
After the Festival of Eugene failure and a few years of public outcry for the Eugene Celebration to return, or at very least the quirky and popular parade, the city partnered with Sunday Streets in 2016 to create the EUG Parade.
The new SLUG queen will be at the EUG Parade, but she wants to go beyond her royal duties. She has a marketing plan to bring in more community awareness, connecting the community with local businesses and groups, partnerships with other organizations, while being silly and weird, as Eugene should be.
“It’s a great way to get your name out about your organization and what you do and have fun and be silly while you’re doing it.” Kime says. It doesn’t need to be serious. “Sometimes it can be a little political or cheeky, but that’s what makes it unique and makes it Eugene.”
She also wants to carry the SLUG queen name to other community events. One of the ways to do that, she says, is by resurrecting the now-dead parade slug. But rather than rebuild the heavy and cumbersome previous slug, Kime wants to fundraise and have local artists participate in making a newer, lighter-weight, more user-friendly slug. She also hopes to add lights so it can be available for evening events. The slug would be a mascot, similar to the University of Oregon’s Duck, only sluggier.
If SluGoddess Slime Shine succeeds, Eugene might be a city without a City Hall, but it at least won’t be a city without a slug.
The EUG Parade is Sept. 22. The parade is 11 am to noon and kicks off the Sunday Streets Downtown that runs from noon until 4 pm that same day. EUG Parade registration ends Sept. 13. To sign up or volunteer contact firstname.lastname@example.org 541-579-1596 or find @theeugparade on Facebook and Instagram.