SOUTH COAST — Residents and visitors alike are probably wondering what's happening this Fourth of July weekend and for the remaining of the summer along the South Coast with the current COVID-19 restrictions. Here's an update:
Fireworks displays canceled
Almost all cities along the Oregon Coast from Astoria to Brookings have canceled their annual fireworks displays, following the lead of most jurisdictions and entities.
In addition, private displays, such as the annual much-anticipated Mill Casino-Hotel & RV Park's July 3 fireworks show, have also been canceled.
City and county law enforcement lack the resources to control crowds or to enforce any type of physical distancing or health precautions with crowds of the expected sizes. The cancellation of other displays along the coast makes it likely that any area that is having fireworks would be met with a flood of people.
The crowds also could create liabilities for cities and counties if there are COVID-19 surges following the events.
Most fireworks companies have agreed to carry over the money cities have already paid and apply it to next year's display, city administrators have reported.
Fireworks displays scheduled
Fireworks will be held in Gold Beach, hosted by the Gold Beach Fireworks Fund committee. From their Facebook page: "Come celebrate with us! Our brave Gold Beach Firefighters will be launching the annual fireworks display from the middle jetty under the bridge starting at 10 p.m. The public is prohibited from that immediate area and asked to keep the area clear for emergency vehicles. Viewing should be good from the north and south sides of the Rogue River and in the port area. We encourage everyone to get your spots early, and adhere to safe distancing guidelines.
"We are hopeful the weather holds and the fog stays out of the bay. Stay tuned for any changes to the event.
"Be safe! If you have fireworks, please have a responsible adult supervise children. Play safe, and play sober. And PLEASE leave the "Big Booms" to the professionals. With the onset on fire season and a plentiful supply of dry grass, it will be easy to start fires. If the firefighter have to stop the display to put out your fire we all lose out. We look forward to seeing everyone!"
Donations are gladly accepted. There are donation boxes in Gold Beach at Rays, McKay's, Interiors, CarQuest, Rogue Outdoors, Sunset Pizza, Port Hole Café and Double D’s, or mail a donation to P.O. Box 1762 Gold Beach, OR 97444.
There are also two raffles to raise funds, one for a framed eagle print by local artist Colleen Krieger which can be seen at Sunset Family Pizza, the second is a framed photo of Meyers Creek donated by Picture This of Gold Beach located at Corner Drug. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.
For more information, call Becky, 541-425-0277 or Colleen, 541-247-7990.
There will be a fireworks display in Gardiner on July 4. Here are the details:
Fourth of July Fireworks Show, presented by the Gardiner Fire Department. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. at the Gardiner Fire Department, 208 Marsh St., just north of Reedsport. The event includes a food stand featuring barbecued hamburgers and hot-dogs, potato salad and drinks for purchase. A fundraising car wash will also be held.
Fireworks start at sundown and will be fired over the water across from the fire department. There will be paid parking inside the fenced area for $6.
Important note from the Gardiner Fire Department: "We are following social distancing guidelines from the government (including) 6 feet stay safe. Thank you for practicing social distancing. Please come join us for the fun and help support our local volunteers!"
Coos Bay Speedway
On Saturday, July 11, the Eve of Destruction XI American Daredevil Mr. Dizzy and the Oregon Coast's Best Fireworks will be held at the Coos Bay Speedway, 94320 Highway 42.
The grandstands open at 4 p.m. and racing starts at 6:30 p.m. Fireworks happen after dusk. There is an admission fee. For more information, call 541-269-2474 or visit the website at http://www.coosbayspeedway.us/
Legal fireworks only
It is illegal to possess or light illegal fireworks in the state of Oregon. The definition of an illegal firework is: "Illegal firework in the state of Oregon is anything that will fly in the air, explode, travels more than 6 feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air."
If you did not buy it from a fireworks stand in the state of Oregon it is more likely than not illegal. Citations and fines can be issued by local law enforcement for those in possession of or found lighting illegal fireworks.
No fireworks on the beach
The public is reminded that no fireworks of any kind, even legal ones, are allowed on beaches or Oregon State Park property.
In addition, beach fires are not allowed south of Cape Arago to the Coos-Curry County line. This rule went into effect on June 24.
To report a controlled beach fire in the Bandon area, please call Bullards Beach State Park at 541-347-2209 ext. 221 or 222 and leave a message. Do not call 911 to report, unless the fire is out of control.
City will hand out flags
Though there will be no fireworks over the bay this year, and no family day in Mingus Park or Mayor's Firecracker Run. Coos Bay city employees will still celebrate America’s Independence — just in a less explosive way.
City Manager Rodger Craddock announced that instead of fireworks, Coos Bay residents will see police and fire vehicles driving through the city playing patriotic music and giving away miniature American flags.
On July 4, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. three police and three fire vehicles will tour the city. The fire department plans to send one ladder truck and two fire engines. The police department will send three marked vehicles.
The vehicles will roam in pairs of one fire vehicle and one police vehicle through different segments of Coos Bay. The city has been loosely divided by neighborhood and the pairs will drive through Empire, Eastside and Coos Bay.
Fire Chief Mark Anderson said, “It’s not a parade route. We’re just spending time, driving the streets, handing out mini flags, wishing everyone a happy Fourth of July and encouraging them to enjoy the holiday.”
Blackberry Arts Festival and Bay Area Fun Festival
The Coos Bay Downtown Association has made the difficult decision to cancel two major festivals that draw thousands of visitors to the downtown core.
"Because of COVID-19 restrictions placed on festivals in the phased reopening of Coos County, the CBDA board made the decision to cancel the Blackberry Arts Festival on Aug. 22-23 and the Bay Area Fun Festival on Sept. 19-20," said CBDA Executive Director Holly Boardman in a press release. "Instead, the focus will be on building other promotions and events that will help bring visitors to the downtown area."
The Blackberry Arts Festival is a juried arts and crafts festival that has been happening consecutively for 37 years.
The Bay Area Fun Festival would have been in its 43rd consecutive year. The Prefontaine Memorial Run was also canceled, as well as the Cruz the Coos and Show ‘n Shine.
Music on the Bay
Music on the Bay open air summer concerts in Mingus Park and 7 Devils Brewing Co. have also been canceled.
North Bend's summer festival, the July Jubilee, scheduled for July 17-19, has been canceled. "We are sorry to inform our loyal fans of a long time tradition that for this year, we have to cancel," stated a post on the event's Facebook page. "The COVID-19 pandemic has changed so much for all of us this year. We are heartbroken. Stay happy and healthy and we will see you in 2021."
The Sawdust Theatre's summer melodramas and olios have been canceled. "It is with heavy hearts that we tell you the 2020 season has been canceled," said a post on the Sawdust Theatre's Facebook page. "The play we have been rehearsing is now scheduled for the 2021 season. ALL theatre activites have been suspended for the next three months, including board meetings. Please take care during these crazy times."
The Gay 90s Festival in June also was canceled.
Fourth of July
The Fourth of July Parade has been canceled. The Port of Bandon has canceled its popular Cardboard Boat Races this year. The Port of Bandon Boardwalk Art Show, which usually runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, has been canceled this year. The Lions Fourth of July Family Day in the Park has also been canceled.
Greater Bandon Association's Alive After Five events, including the one on the Fourth of July, are on hold until late fall, when GBA will reevaluate the safety of holding such events. Unfortunately, there will be no apple pie and ice cream sale on the Fourth of July this year, either.
The following activities will be held on the Fourth of July weekend:
Old Town Marketplace
The Port of Bandon's Old Town Marketplace will be held indoors and outdoors from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, at 250 First St. SW iin the big green building on the waterfront.
Circles in the Sand
A five-day draw will be held over Fourth of July weekend on the beach below the Face Rock viewpoint in Bandon. The viewpoint parking lot and stairs have been reopened, but visitors are asked to maintain social distancing guidelines while attending the Circles in the Sand events.
Schedule: Saturday, July 4: 8 a.m.; Sunday, July 5: 8 a.m.; Monday, July 6: 8 a.m.; Tuesday, July 7: 9 a.m.; Wednesday, July 8: 9 a.m.
VFW Motor Parade
On the Fourth of July members of Bandon's Frank C. High Medal of Honor VFW Post No. 3440 will drive-through the city with decorated cars, trucks and motorcycles showing their pride for the nation and celebrate its independence.
Anyone is welcome to join them at noon on Saturday the Fourth of July at the VFW parking lot just off Highway 42S on Bates Road. At that time VFW members will announce the do's and don'ts as well as the route. Please no political advertisements of any kind. For more information, call Royce Kelley, Commander at 541-294-5995.
Flags to fly over cemeteries
More than 100 American flags will be flown from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. in all five Bandon cemeteries on Saturday, July 4, in honor of the Fourth of July, weather permitting.
For information on how to donate a flag in honor of your loved one, contact Harry Stephens, Veterans Flag Project chairman, at 541-294-1048, or co-chairman Bill Smith at 541-404-6194. Volunteers are needed to place the flags at 7 a.m. and take down the flags at 5 p.m. on Saturday. To volunteer, call Stephens or Smith.
Organizers for Bandon's 64th Cranberry Festival, scheduled for Sept. 11-13 have not yet made a decision on whether to cancel the town's signature event. "With the surge of cases, it’s really hard to predict a festival," said Bandon Chamber of Commerce CEO Margaret Pounder. "We really will need to wait until mid-July to make any decisions. We will hope to update in mid-July."
Check back with the Bandon Chamber of Commerce at Bandon.com for more information.
Oregon Chainsaw Championships
The Oregon Divisional Chainsaw Championship, set for June 18-21 was canceled and rescheduled to June 17-21, 2021. The Rock and Gem Show and Sale, which runs concurrently with the Chainsaw Championship and the Downtown Artwalk, was also canceled.
Fireworks on the Bay
"In light of the current pandemic, the difficult decision has been made to cancel this year's Fourth of July Fireworks on the Bay in Winchester Bay," said an organizer. "Many, if not most, cities along the Oregon coast have canceled fireworks displays."
DuneFest, scheduled for July 21-26, is considered the premiere ATV sand event in the country. It features motocross racing, sand drags, freestyle shows, charity auction and much more. Unfortunately, this year's event has been canceled.
"I am sorry to say that DuneFest 2020 has been canceled," said Jody Morrow, DuneFest coordinator. "Governor Brown announced that 'large gatherings such as conventions, festivals, and major concerts and live audience sporting events will need to be canceled at least through September. Restarting events of this size will require a reliable treatment or prevention, like a vaccine, which is many months off.'
"As a Chamber event, we were holding out hope that things would improve," Morrow added. "For those of you who have been coming for years and collect dog tags or camping stickers, we will have 2020 items available with the phrase #quarantined on them. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject 'quarantined' and we will put them in the mail to you as soon as they are available.
Kool Coastal Nights
Kool Coastal Nights features 300 cars for a Show 'n Shine event, along with a harbor cruise for those nostalgic for the 1950s. However, the event, set for Aug. 22, has been canceled this year.
Old Time Fiddlers Jamboree
"Sadly, due to our Governor issuing new guidelines for the the gathering of groups which will remain in effect at least until September, we are forced to cancel our Winchester Bay Campout Aug. 13-16," stated the OOTFA's Facebook page.
Port Orford July Jubilee
From the Port Orford July Jubilee Committee: “Due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 virus, the Port Orford Jubilee Committee has made the very tough decision to cancel the 2020 Port Orford Jubilee. Given the Governor’s current safety guidelines, along with the uncertainty of when there will be any change in those guidelines, we feel like we will not effectively have enough time to prepare for a successful event.
“We will also not be hosting the Town Wide Yard Sales this year either. While it is an extremely difficult decision to make, we feel this is the best decision for us to make right now.
“Please know that we will have a bigger and even better Port Orford Jubilee in 2021! For now, please stay healthy, and thank you for your understanding of this extremely difficult decision.”
White Cedar Days
"It is with a heavy heart that we must announce that the 2020 White Cedar Days celebration and fireworks show (Fourth of July weekend) are canceled," stated a post on the event's Facebook page. "However — a new event is in the works for later this year. We will help to relay the new event announcement here.
"We encourage you all to continue to celebrate Independence Day and our nation’s courageous spirit with your families by creating new traditions and memories to last a lifetime. We are united! Don’t let a little social distancing make you forget that we’re all in this together and we will get through it together. We look forward to bringing you a bigger, better White Cedar Days for 2021!"
Coos County Fair & Rodeo
After much deliberation, the Coos County Fair Board announced its decision to cancel the 2020 Coos County Fair & Rodeo, originally set for July 21-25.
The Coos County Youth Auction's livestock auctions will still be held, with organizations drafting guidelines for modified shows that follow local and state health guidelines related to COVID-19. The board advised community members interested in updates regarding the 4-H projects to contact the Coos County OSU Extension office at 541-572-5263.
“We want to thank each and every one of you as well as our sponsors that have shown excitement and support over the past years,” said Leep in a statement. “We look forward to rebuilding and growing in the 2021 year to have a great fair again.”