Dana’s Cheesecake debuted at the Eugene Saturday Market in December 1979, selling slices of delectable cheesecake along with cookies, cakes, and coffee.
In 1982, Dana and Colleen Bauman opened Dana’s Cheesecake booth on Shady Lane for the three days of the Oregon Country Fair. To their surprise, after the Fair closed to the public each evening, the line for sweets and coffee never let up. That first year, the Baumans took turns sleeping so they could meet the all-night demand, inadvertently creating the first 24-hour booth at the Fair. In 1983, the Baumans hired help for the overnight shift so they could go home to rest.
In 1992, the Baumans agreed to move their popular booth from its crowded site on Shady Lane to a more spacious area near the new Fair entrance. “The idea of eating dessert first, I think, fits with the whole thing,” Colleen said.
Saturday Market, though, guides the rhythm of their lives. During the week, they bake cakes and treats in their home kitchen. Saturday brings marathon workdays. Dana arrives before dawn to set up so they can serve coffee to other vendors getting ready for the day. Colleen pitches in. Business remains brisk every Saturday, 40 years later.