A pair of Baker City events that had to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic were honored during the Oregon Festival and Events Association’s online annual conference Saturday, March 6.

Crossroads Carnegie Art Center’s 2020 Oktoberfest won the Fundraising Event of the Year award. The event, which previously had taken place inside the Community Event Center, was instead a drive-thru dinner, with a virtual fundraiser.

Baker City’s other award-winner was CASA of Eastern Oregon’s gingerbread home tour, which won the Innovation Award.

The tour of gingerbread structures created by local residents, and displayed at businesses and other locations in December, replaced the annual tour of historic homes, a holiday season tradition.

Ginger Savage, executive director at Crossroads, said the award shows the value of the effort that went into making the Oktoberfest safe but still successful.

“They honored us for the work that we did with that project,” Savage said on Monday, March 8.

She said this is the first award for Crossroads from the Oregon Festival and Events Association.

“I’m just very thankful for my volunteers and to my committee. I have a committee of three for Oktoberfest and we’re just over the moon excited about it,” Savage said. 

CASA Director Mary Collard said the award is also the first for the organization, whose volunteers help represent children in court hearings. CASA stands for Court-Appointed Special Advocates.

“It was, at first, such an honor that we would be nominated, but I am still in shock over hearing that we won,” Collard said on Monday.

She said the gingerbread contest and tour could not have happened without the time of those who created the structures, the businesses, and her board members and friends who helped.

“It was just everybody,” Collard said.

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