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Coos Bay's Blackberry Fest Back on South Oregon Coast After Two Years Of Cancellations

Published 07/26/22 at 4:45 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Coos Bay's Blackberry Fest Returns to South Oregon Coast After Two Years Of Cancellations

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(Coos Bay, Oregon) – So much is yet unsung about the dee-lish blackberry, even here in Oregon where it's a major crop of the Willamette Valley. But on the southern Oregon coast, it also has its place in the culinary firmament – as in it grows wild in that region quite a bit. (Above: courtesy photo)

It's in that spirit that the Coos Bay Downtown Association puts on the yearly Blackberry Arts Festival right in the heart of downtown, with juried arts and crafts as well as yummy delights to fill your gullet and lots of live music. In short, it's an all-around sensory experience: a feast for the eyes, ears and your palate.

Shut down for two years in a row because of COVID, the southern Oregon coast fave is back in full gear on August 27 and 28. One of the highlights is the K-Dock Blackberry Jam, a stretch of the festival that's jam-packed with live music, primarily classic rock cover bands. Another biggie is the recipe contest.

All of it is free.


Courtesy photo

The Blackberry Arts Festival has been happening in the southern Oregon coast town for almost 40 years, inspired by the idea of showcasing local artists and crafters as the annual harvest of the blackberry gets underway in the region. During this bustling, energetic fair, you'll find quilts, candles, hand-painted clothes, carved wood, fabulous Oregon wines in abundance, metalwork, jewelry and all kinds of creations. Various food and drink vendors will be on hand as well, with a hefty emphasis on local cuisine.

Live music begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday, with south coast bands Border Patrol, Rockipedia and Toyz. On Sunday, more music starts at 11 a.m. with Timberwolf and then Throttles.

The Coos Bay festival of fruit will be holding its fourth annual "It's All Berry Good" recipe contest. Recipes are accepted on Saturday, August 27 at 10 a.m.: show up to the Coos Bay Elks No. 1160, located at 265 Central Ave. in downtown Coos Bay. Judging starts at 11:30 a.m. and prizes are awarded at 2 p.m. at the Elks.

Winner and top placers will receive gifts from downtown association members.

According to organizers, submission requirements are:

“Each recipe entry should be sizable enough for at least six healthy tastes. Each recipe entry must include a copy of a detailed recipe with credit given to the original source; for example Betty Crocker's Cook Book or great grandma Lulu's family recipe. *Recipes will be included in an official Blackberry Arts Festival It's All Berry Good Recipe cookbook at a later date.”

All creations will be assigned a number to ensure anonymity. A photo of the creator and their recipe will be taken and guarded until after the contest.

“A copy of your recipe will be attached to the contestants entry form,” organizers said on their social media. “Then the special panel of judges will arrive to determine the prize winning 'It's All Berry Good' recipe creations.”

Creations will be judged on the use of blackberries; appearance; prep time/ease of recipe; and of course, taste. See www.coosbaydowntown.org or www.blackberryartsfestival.com.

Some of the state's most stellar blackberries grow on the southern Oregon coast, especially the Coquille River Valley. In fact, there's a certain species that grows here that's rather coveted, a variety that was honored and recognized decades ago. Numerous spots around Coos Bay host wild blackberry bushes to pick from, you just have to be aware which have been sprayed and find the vines not exposed to road dust.

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