Words & Deeds

Michael Deeds: Guide to spring outdoor festivals, events in Boise

In 2001, the Eagle Island Experience launched as the Treasure Valley’s mini-version of the Oregon Country Fair. In 2015, after one last shindig May 16 and 17, the festival will pack up its tie-dye shirts and float off into the great commune in the sky.

Blame Idaho weather. Too often for organizers, the forecast called for pain.

“We’re tired of getting rained out!” event coordinator Carl Scheider explains good-naturedly. “It’s a hard festival to do because of the time of year, the weather. People don’t know if it’s going to be warm enough. It’s just hard.”

The event at Eagle Island State Park has drawn crowds of about 3,000 on good years, Scheider says. A family-friendly time warp into the spirit of the 1960s, it’s definitely worth visiting for a last hurrah. (Get details online at gruntwerks.net.) It’s a freak show — in a good way. You’ll find bands, dance troupes, fire dancers, green-friendly booths, as well as occasional adults wearing fairy wings. It’s all part of a free-spirited vibe that permeates the park, which has resulted in artistic displays such as a “Peace Tree” and that ilk. “The people involved are creative people,” Scheider explains with a chuckle. “They always just want to create something. So something just automatically appears. It just pops up. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I didn’t see that yesterday. What is that?’ ”

It’s a snowman, Carl.

(Just kidding. Start praying to the weather gods right now.)

Scheider fondly describes the Eagle Island Experience as having “the hippie vibe without the drugs.” But local weathermen must think that plenty of Idaho event organizers actually are on drugs. Outdoor festivals keep appearing in spring, taunting the unpredictable skies.

Hey, it’s balmy right now. If temperatures takes a frigid turn in the next few weeks, just hold your favorite festival beverage with a mitten — no koozie required. Here are other notable pre-summer outdoor events happening in May and June:

Gingerfest brownpapertickets.com

Lindsey Stirling idahobotanicalgarden.org

Alive After Five downtownboise.org

Great Garden Escape

Online: idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Treasure Valley Renaissance Festival check Facebook

Art and Roses Facebook.

Crooked Fence Brewing Co. Three Year Anniversary cf3rdanniversary.


Pigapalooza. Facebook


Emmett Cherry Festival’s The Emmett Cherry Festival is always held during the second full week of June emmettcherryfestival.com

Ponderosa Paradise Music Festival ponderosa-paradise.com

Looking for more pre-summer outdoor fun? Check out calendar listings in Scene magazine on Fridays or hit IdahoStatesman.com.

Tonight in ‘The Other Studio’

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In Scene May 8

Michael Deeds’ entertainment column runs Fridays in Scene and every other Sunday in Explore. Email: mdeeds@idahostatesman.com. Twitter: @michaeldeeds.