Editorial: Welcome to Sweet Home and thanks for coming

We want to extend a warm welcome to our 2014 Oregon Jamboree visitors and performers!

You’re coming to an event that was founded specifically to help a struggling community overcome the devastation created by the national forestry directives that wiped out scores of working-class jobs in Sweet Home and other towns like us.

The Jamboree was founded 23 years ago as an effort to take the bull by the horns and do something positive to make a difference. It has, and you’ve been part of that.

The Jamboree has grown from a modest shot-in-the-dark effort in 1991, featuring a country star, Wynonna Judd, who sort of took a chance on us by agreeing to perform in a small-town venue, into one of the premiere camping-and-country-music festivals in the state. But don’t let the scale of the event fool you.

Unlike some other, similar festivals in Oregon, the Oregon Jamboree, is a genuinely community-based, nonprofit enterprise.

Its sole reason for existence is to generate funds to help build a new local economy. It may be big now, but it still has humble roots and it has a very practical reason for existence, borne out in the community.

Downtown buildings have fresh coats of paint.

Grants have gone to local charities that assist the down-and-out.

School sports and other programs, which provide young people with positive ways to spend their time and learn valuable skills, have benefited immensely from the Jamboree.

Millions of dollars have flowed into the local economy over the past 21 festivals and it’s made a big difference for us.

We realize that Sweet Home’s challenges are not why people come to the Jamboree.

You’re coming to enjoy great country music in a pleasant environment and our town is good at doing this. We really want you to have an enjoyable weekend full of great memories.

But if you’re having a great time, it’s a win-win for Sweet Home, because you’re leaving a legacy when you buy a ticket and enjoy yourself with us. We appreciate it.