The 35-year-old Hult Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Eugene celebrates its birthday with a day full of activities on Saturday, Sept. 16

By Randi Bjornstad

Those of us who remember when the Hult Center for the Performing Arts wasn’t even there yet are probably in the minority these days, but there was such a time and Eugene back then was culturally a very different place.

Suddenly it’s time to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the performing arts center that opened in 1982 and now — between the almost 2,500-seat Silva Concert Hall and the just under 500-seat Soreng Theater — offers the community more than 700 shows a year.

The city of Eugene will host the party starting at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, starting with a tour of the facility and ending who-knows-when with a late-night ’80s After Party that aims to brings back the spirit of the center’s earliest decade.

Costumes are encouraged to recall the height of the decade, when women’s clothing was bright and sequin-covered, shoulders were padded, jewelry was glittery and faux, hair was big, dress shoes were pointy, and multiple fancy belts were popular.

At the same time, guys were trying out Hawaiian shirts or T-shirts worn under a sportcoat, loafers without socks, and double-breasted, often pinstripe, suits for work. Their hair also was relatively big, and mullets were popular in many areas. Air Jordan basketball shoes became The Thing, although Adidas, Nike and Converse did their best to compete.

Television was a major influence on fashion and culture, led by shows such as “Dallas,” “Miami Vice,” “Magnum PI,” “The Love Boat” and “Hawaii Five-O.”

So, for all that to get everyone in the mood, here’s what will be going on at the Hult Center on Sept. 16:

12:30 p.m. — Historic tour of the building, hosted by members of SHO (Supporters of Hult Operations)

2 p.m. — First showing of “E.T. The Extraterrestrial,” followed by birthday cake in the lobby

6:30 p.m. — Second historic tour, hosted by SHO

8 p.m. — Second showing of “E.T.”

10 p.m. — “80s After Party” begins, with costume contests, photo booths, a special drink menu, prizes and dancing to music of the ’80s

The events are free, but tickets are needed and will be available on a first-come basis at the Hult Center box office, online at or by telephone at 541-682-5000, with a maximum of four tickets allowed per patron. Note: Unlike tickets picked up at the box office, online or phone ticket reservations will be charged a $1.50 per ticket fee.


Randi Bjornstad

Has more than 30 years' journalism experience after a previous stint as a land-use planner. Got first rejection slip at age 11, but the editor wrote an encouraging note. Lives in Eugene, Ore., with husband-and-photographer Paul Carter, adorable dog Tallulah and quirky cats Pearl, Audrey, Garbo, Harry and Ozma.

randi has 175 posts and counting.See all posts by randi

Leave a Reply