LEBANON — Whatever happens at the Democratic National Convention next month, supporters of Bernie Sanders say they'll continue to work for their candidate's ideals.
For many, a summer Sunday afternoon at a free music festival in Lebanon's Ralston Park made a good place to start.
Dubbed "Berniestock," the festival brought in several local bands, plus food trucks and face-painters. Volunteers at a handful of politically-themed booths urged visitors to keep working for the progressive politics the U.S. senator has touted throughout his presidential campaign.
Berniestock is meant to "keep people connected and organized and energized," said Alex Nobiletti, 26, of Corvallis, president of the Linn-Benton Community College club "Students for Bernie."
Sanders isn't likely to receive the nod at the convention, Nobiletti acknowledged, but that doesn't mean people can't carry on his messages about providing greater access to health care and education and keeping corporate money out of politics.
By coming to the festival, he said, people could network with volunteers from some of the booths, which included Better Oregon, Community Action for Racial Equality and the League of Women Voters.
"The whole idea in the first place is it's not just one guy, it's about all of us," said Nobiletti, a political science major who hopes to run for the Legislature himself at some point. "I feel like people like us have to do it ourselves if anybody's going to do it ... He's really inspiring people to show the way."
Put together by the founders of Rural Oregon for Bernie and scheduled to run until dusk on Sunday, the festival had attracted close to 100 people by early afternoon.
Organizers said they weren't sure how many people to expect but were encouraged by the turnout so far.
"I think it's amazing. It's just positive. Look at this!" said Sara Steeves, waving her hand at families, couples and teens all sporting Bernie Sanders T-shirts and buttons. "We're all feelin' the Bern."
Supporters came in a variety of ages, from 51-year-old Andrea Culy of Sweet Home, a Bernie fan and musician with the band Loki's Labyrinth, to 14-year-old Kyler Flores of Lebanon, one of Sunday's guest speakers.
Kyler, who will be a freshman at Lebanon High School in the fall, said he was inspired to learn more about politics from his eighth-grade social studies teacher, David Meek. His research into the various candidates convinced him Sanders was the one who best fit his vision of what the future should hold.
"I did not allow my age to limit my impact on this revolution," Kyler told the audience. "So I encourage all, from babies to the elderly, black or white, from short to tall, from straights to gays — I encourage you all to get involved to the best of your ability. There will always be a place for you."
Will and Phyllis Smith of North Albany said they'd never been greatly involved in politics until Sanders' campaign encouraged them to join in. They said they came to Berniestock to spend some time with their fellow candidate supporters.
"We want to be with all these people," Phyllis explained. "Bernie people are the nicest people we've met."