Held the second weekend of September every year since 1947, the Annual Cranberry Festival is one of the best-known events on the Southern Oregon Coast. The Cranberry Festival is a celebration to honor the area’s most important agricultural crop and its growers, and residents of and visitors to the Cranberry Capital of Oregon look forward to it all year.
The festival’s theme changes each year; the 2015 theme was a fun-50s style “Cranberry Hop.” Regardless of the changing themes, there are activities participants can count on each year, as well as fun additions from time to time.
The first day of the three-day festival begins with the Blessing of the Harvest and continues with the opening of Cranberry City and the Cranberry Food Fair Queen of the Kitchen contest. Cranberry City, centered at the Old Town Marketplace in Old Town, includes the Bandon Dew Valley Quilt Club annual Cranberry Festival sale as well as the Farmers’ Market’s local farmers and artisans. The Queen of the Kitchen contest happens at the Port of Bandon boardwalk picnic shelter. Cooks of all ages are invited to register their food creations which must include cranberries and are judged in several categories including appetizers, relishes, entrees and desserts.
The festival’s first day ends with the long-awaited Cranberry Court coronation, held at the Sprague Community Theater. Watch as the members of the court give their speeches, show off their talents and vie for the title of Cranberry Queen. The new queen will automatically become a contestant for Miss Oregon. It is a very exciting evening for these young women!
Day two begins with one of the central events, the Cranberry
Festival Parade, which begins at 10:00 and travels through old town. Continuing a tradition that started in 1948, the parade includes floats, classic cars, animals, giant walking cranberries, and music, featuring the Bandon High School marching band.
The day continues with the Cranberry Cruise-IN Car Show in Old Town, VFW Ladies Auxiliary Craft Bazaar and Bake Sale, Cranberry City, the Cranberry Food Fair, and a cranberry eating contest at the Old Town Festival Market.
One of the most popular festival spots is the Festival Market along Alabama Ave where vendors sell unique art, food, and hand-made items. At the main stage, events such as the cranberry eating contest and musical groups keep attendants entertained and happy, and the food court offers a wide variety of delicious meals and snacks throughout the weekend.
Two evening events will keep you going until late at night. The Cranberry Bowl at Bandon High School is an exciting football game with Bandon High School competing against another northwest team. And then, it’s time to dance the night away at the Cranberry Street Dance under the arch in Old Town on 2nd Street.
The third day of the festival begins with an all-you-can-eat breakfast at the VFW Hall and continues with a disk golf tournament at Bandon City Park, the Old Town Festival Market, and Cranberry City. Tony’s Crab Shack in Old Town will hold a drawing for the Crab Derby, and registration for the Bandon Lions Cranberry Run begins at 1:00. Runners and walkers can choose to do 1 mile, a 5K, or a 10K.
Throughout the summer season, visitors can also participate in the Bandon Crab Derby, view art on the boardwalk, and see a special collection of Cranberry Festival and Cranberry Court memorabilia at the Bandon Historical Museum.
This is a must-not-miss event in Bandon for the whole family. See you there!
Click here for more information on Bandon’s cranberry industry and to read about why Bandon is an ideal location for this special crop.