June 12, 2002 11:00 pm

ELGIN — Whatever your preferences, Elgin is the place to be Saturday.

Whether action is the name of the game, or a kicked-back meandering sort of Saturday is sought, the annual Riverfest celebration has something for just about every taste.

The day begins early for the hungry, with the annual Riverfest Elgin Fire Department pancake breakfast at 7 a.m..

The annual fund-raiser at the fire hall offers pancakes, sausages, eggs, coffee and juice for a donation. Elgin's 23-member department plans to serve breakfast until about 10 a.m.

This year's Riverfest fun run starts and ends at the Community Center park, said Debbie Rogers, one of the organizers. For the fit, the event offers a 5K or 10K course. Runners 12 and under can test themselves in a 3K run, and anyone is welcome at the 5K walk.

The run Saturday has been designed as a fund-raiser for the Elgin cross country team and asks for a $12 entry fee.

Registration will be between 8:30 and 9 a.m. at the park, Rogers said.

As the morning gets under way, vendor booths from non-profit agencies and artisans will be opening at Clarence Witty Park in downtown Elgin.

Join the tailgate sale

At the Elgin Lions' booth, and at the post office, maps will be available to a number of yard sales around town.

For those who have just a few items to sell, or who are looking for good deals, the Lions will be setting up a "tailgate" sale, said Lions president Anne Warren.

The sale area will be downtown, she said, and function as sort of an ever-changing sale as people bring items and check out what others have for sale.

Other notable sales, she added, will be a Future Business Leaders of America-sponsored yard sale, and the Imbler volleyball team's yard sale at St. Mary's Church.

Harley Show, Shine and Swap

If you're heading toward the yard sales and hear or feel a bit of a rumble, check out the parking lot by the Timbers Restaurant.

Robie and Nicki Vandiver are organizing a Harley-Davidson motorcycle show to bring some engine power to Riverfest.

The show expects to feature 20 to 25 Harleys, separated into five classes of bikes.

Members of the Blue Mountain Bikers, Riders and Rednecks Club will be on hand to talk to visitors about their bikes and encourage voting for favorites.

Vandiver said he's invited motorcyclists from as far as the Caldwell, Idaho, area to come and spend the day in Elgin, and to bring along any spare parts they may be interested in selling, since the Riverfest show will also feature a "Show, Shine and Swap" component.

After presenting awards at about 4 p.m., Vandiver expects that "late in the day, we'll probably sort of go for a ride."

Registration in the Harley-Davidson show is at 10 a.m. Anyone who gets to Elgin and registers before 10 a.m., Vandiver added, gets a free breakfast.

For another type of art form, not of the wheeled kind, swing into the U.S. Bank lobby for the Riverfest Art Show.

Joy Heighes, organizing this year's show, is working to attract more and varied artists to come and display their work between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

"We want as big a variety as possible," she said.

There won't be any voting for viewers' favorites this year, but rather a focus on art forms and types, ranging from high school artists to senior artists.

Anyone who would like to display their work can bring two or three finished pieces to the bank at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Heighes said.

Performing artists center stage

Afternoon in Elgin turns the spotlight on performing artists at the downtown park.

Emcee'd by humorist Gerald Hopkins, the performers begin at 12:30 p.m. with high school dancers Allie Neitch and Elizabeth Eckstein.

Following the dancers, the Blue Mountain Old-time Fiddlers will set the feet to tapping with their popular performances.

The music then turns to the mandolin and banjo playing of Margie and Morgan, until at 3 p.m. the Seattle-based Great Big Taters old-fashioned string band take the stage, playing everything from southern Americana tunes to mountain music.

Throughout the day, the Elgin Opera and Museum will also be open for tours, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will give demonstrations on food preparation and scissor-sharpening.

The Great Big Taters will return to the spotlight at 7:30 p.m., when Riverfest ends the day with a contra dance at the Elgin Stampede Hall.

Bob Ottersberg will call many of the dances, said Kathleen Koch. She promises that before each dance, basic instructions will be given to those new to contra dancing.

The evening dance has a $4.50 charge at the door to raise money for the Oregon Rural Action group, Koch said.

An enjoyable feature of mountain music, Koch noted, is that partners aren't needed. She encourages anyone spending the day in Elgin to stop in and enjoy the band and the enthusiasm of contra dancing.