With the second Friday of August come and gone, the 2020 SLUG queen has officially been announced — and she just so happens to be a very familiar figure.
“We realized that this has not been the best year for me being able to participate in events,” says Jenette Kime, AKA Raining Goddess SluGoddess SlimeShine, who was named to a second year-long term last week. “We thought, ‘What would the new queen’s “rain” look like?’ They would be in the same boat and it wouldn’t really be fair to bring them on when they can’t do any events.”
If you haven’t figured it out already, the SLUG queen competition is not your typical beauty pageant. Since 1983, wanna-be queens have competed every year to see who will become Eugene’s unofficial ambassador or SLUG (Society for the Legitimization of the Ubiquitous Gastropod) queen.
Rather than basing the competition on such unimportant traits as beauty and grace, the SLUG competition crowns those with witty personalities, SLUGtastic costumes and entertaining talents. Bribery is an acceptable and welcomed component of the competition, as one of the SLUG mottos is to “bribe early and bribe often.” Slugs are gender neutral, which means queens may identify as any gender. In fact, nine of the 36 SLUG queens are male.
The judges of the competitions include old queens, never referred to as “past” or “former,” and they favor contestants with the most creative bribes. Kime made it a priority to bribe early and often, a decision that ultimately led to her victorious 2019 and 2020 rains. And like calling them old queens and very old queens, “rain” is SLUG terminology.
“Each month on the ninth, starting in December, I delivered something to the old queens’ homes,” Kime says. “I made cookies, picked flowers, sandblasted my logo onto vases, made necklaces — I just tried to do something that was functional, but fun and green.”
The day after Kime was crowned 2019 SLUG queen, she went to Saturday Market and “blessed the booths.” In the following months, she made appearances at First Friday Art Walk in October, a homecoming parade, Trek Theatre and the Suddenly Sleepy 5k race. Kime says she was attending a couple of events every month up until March, when everything shut down.
“I had all these really cool events that were just canceled,” Kime says.
Fortunately, the EUGfun Sunday Slow Roll was able to take place earlier this month with social-distance protocols in place and masks required. A live DJ parade rolled through Eugene neighborhoods playing music to those on their doorsteps and front yards.
“I think that it was really good to get out in the community,” Kime says. “We just saw people in their yards who were happy to hear music and see something that was normal.”
The three contestants who were planning on competing in this year’s SLUG competition agreed that the best idea would be to re-crown SluGoddess SlimeShine. Kime says all three contestants were sad that there would be no event this year, but excited about having a whole year to prepare for the 2021 competition.
“I thought there would be a manual, but there really are no rules,” Kime says about her rain as queen. “There’s no expectation that you do any, all, some events. But since I’m an event junkie, I want to have more opportunities to wear my crown.”