BANDON — As with all things COVID-19 related, the 74th annual Bandon Cranberry Festival has changed considerably this year.
But Bandon Chamber Board president and Cranberry Festival chairman Anthony Zunino, along with Chamber CEO Margaret Pounder and volunteers are making an attempt to celebrate the time-honored tradition of the festival in a modified way and the community is invited to participate.
The Bandon Cranberry Harvest Celebration is a modified substitute for the annual Cranberry Festival, which annually draws thousands of people to town on the second weekend in September.
"We deliberated long and hard about just not doing anything, but the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors wanted to honor, the best we could, some of our community traditions," said Pounder.
"Based on the mandates of physical distancing, we have carefully and thoughtfully worked to create celebration events that will be shared on Facebook – Cranberry Festival page, and again on the Bandon Chamber of Commerce website," Pounder said.
Currently the following are being planned:
There is a Cranberry Court, and they will be honored at several celebrations. The court consists of Bandon High School seniors Hannah Bristow, Kayla LaPlante and Elli Schulz. The Blessing of the Harvest will be a closed event, with the Cranberry Court and local clergy attending (videoed). The judging of the court's talent and platforms will be a closed event but videoed for all to enjoy. The Coronation of the 2020 Cranberry Queen will be done at an undisclosed location, again videoed and available to the public.
The Cranberry Kitchen will be a virtual event, run on Facebook-Cranberry Festival page, inviting the public to create a cranberry "dish" and post on the Cranberry Kitchen event page. It will begin on Sept. 10 and run until about Sept. 25.
Cranberry's Past History Display
The Bandon Historical Society Museum will present a virtual Cranberry's Past celebration featuring memories of past festivals. This will be shown on the museum’s Facebook page, along with a page under the Cranberry Festival Facebook page. It will also include asking the community to share their memories of Cranberry's Past. The museum will have past Cranberry Queens' dresses on display. This year, the weekend of the traditional festival — Sept. 12 and 13 — there will be free admission to the museum, sponsored by Doug and Sharon Ward Moy. Sharon was the Cranberry Queen of 1965.
Cranberry Trail marketplace
A Cranberry Trail marketplace will be featured online. All businesses selling and featuring anything cranberry will register and then be listed and the public will be encouraged to get their "Cranberry Cravings" taken care of — whether it's a piece of art, an amazing scarf, hat or sweatshirt, a decadent sweet something, or a delicious pancake.
Cranberry Harvest Celebration Beach Walk
Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center will be sponsoring a Cranberry Harvest Celebration Beach Walk on Saturday, Sept. 12. It will begin at 10 a.m. at the South Jetty. They will be on hand to greet the walkers and share goodies, including face masks and hand sanitizer.
Paint the Town Cranberry
There will be a “Paint the Town Cranberry” business decorating contest. Businesses will be encouraged to decorate in all forms of cranberry. Judging will be held on Sept. 21 and the winner will be announced Sept. 23 (get your creative juices flowing — it's for all businesses, not just retail).
Cranberry Eating Contest
A Cranberry Eating Contest may randomly pop up online on the Cranberry Festival Facebook page — keep checking.
To keep up with what's planned, visit www.bandon.com/events/ or contact the Chamber of Commerce at 541-347-9616.
Note: Though previously discussed and considered, there will be no Cranberry Festival Parade, no Cranberry Bowl football game and no Cranberry Marketplace.