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Trick or Treat with Pacific City's Dory Fleet on N. Oregon Coast

Published 10/03/22 at 5:14 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Trick or Treat with Pacific City's Dory Fleet on N. Oregon Coast

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(Pacific City, Oregon) – Those spectacular sights of boats zooming in fast onto the beach at Cape Kiwanda are one of those absolutely unforgettable scenes on any trip to the north Oregon coast town of Pacific City. At first what appears to be an act of desperate recklessness, as some random fishing boat out there makes a sudden beeline, ends with an accurate, triumphant landing that's almost graceful. It's certainly a surprise to those who view it for the first time ever. (Courtesy photo: dory boat dressed as a Viking boat)

Those small boats are known as a dory, and they form a fleet of fishermen from the region that's a long-standing tradition now going back decades. But mixing Halloween with the famed dories?

Indeed that's what happens on October 29 at Pacific City's Kiawanda Community Center from 5 p.m. to 8 pm., put together by the Kiawanda Community Center (KCC) and Pacific City Dorymen’s Association (PCDA). It's the second annual “Trick or Treat the Dory Fleet.” This event is like a trunk-or-treat with a Pacific City twist: dory boats. The whole community gathers to celebrate Halloween here and its iconic dory fleet.


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“The event was wildly welcoming, safely set up and fantastically decorated,” said co-organizer and KCC Board Member Whitney Rilette. “Who knew our dory fleet was in need of a creative outlet? I’m looking forward to another year of ghoulish captains handing out candy from haunted dory boats.”

The dory tradition here goes back to the early 1900s, actually starting a ways down on the south Oregon coast, where they were first developed to run the Rogue River.

There's quite the celebrity tie-in here: author Zane Grey latched onto these then-unique craft in the early '20s, and even used them as part of one of his novels. He spent some amount of time fishing from a dory off the north Oregon coast, out of Pacific City as well. However, he put in considerably more time in the Gold Beach to Grants Pass region along the Rogue.

In 2021's inaugural event, over one hundred kids came to the Kiawanda Community Center to have a family-oriented good time in the north Oregon coast village. The dories that participated were decorated as pirate ships, viking longships, alien ships, vampire lairs and an eagle’s nest.

“These spooky boats and their crews didn’t scare our local kids one bit,” said co-organizer and PCDA Board Member Arica Sears. “In rural communities it’s not easy to find a place to take your kids trick or treating so we were thrilled to have our local butterflies, spidermen, witches and superheroes safely running around our beloved dories”

This year's All Hallow's Eve shindig and other local events are facilitated by local volunteer groups and community organizations. In this case, Nesko Women’s Club donated a substantial amount of candy and the Lion’s Club was instrumental in parking all of the trick or treaters and their families safely. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

See the event page here.

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Kiwanda in the 1930s

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