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Let the S. Oregon Coast Food Party Begin: North Bend's BBQ, Blues 'n Brews

Published 5/07/24 at 6:25 a.m.
By Andre' Hagestedt, Oregon Coast Beach Connection

(North Bend, Oregon) – When Memorial Day Weekend hits, the Oregon coast lights up. The throngs hit, the “no vacancy” signs switch on, and the energy is palpable. Yet one thing is true no matter where you are in the U.S.: when it comes to that holiday barbecue is still on the minds of everyone.

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On May 25 – 26, the south coast burgh of North Bend gets to grillin' bigtime. That's when the Mill Casino * Hotel’s Annual BBQ, Blues & Brews on the Bay fires up the charcoal and kicks in the jams. A variety of microbrews are on tap and the aromas of real, downhome meat-on-the-grill envelops the town.

On Saturday, May 25, hours are noon to 6 p.m. On Sunday, May 26, it's noon to 4 p.m. It all takes place at the Mill Casino.

Now in its 11th year (pandemic shut-downs excluded), BBQ, Blues & Brews on the Bay is one of the biggest attractions of the entire year. It now easily hosts 4,000 folks over the two days.

Beyond the deliciousness and the sonic pleasures, BBQ, Blues & Brews on the Bay event is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), bringing some real grub skills to the fore.

Part of the big draw here is the competition between barbecue masters, battling it out over prizes.

“In 2012, our first year, we struggled to meet the minimum 15 team requirement to qualify to be a KCBS sanctioned event,” the casino said. “Teams came from throughout the Pacific Northwest with most residing in Oregon and Southern Washington. Over the years, we’ve had teams come from as far as Canada, Texas, Idaho and more. KCBS sends two of their reps to each competition to ensure the cooks follow all rules and regulations and to oversee the judging process.”

The public will, of course, get to partake. A $5 entry fee gets into the event that day. Participating barbecue masters will have a 2oz sample for sale, but you can also purchase a full meal from The Mill Grill.

Janice Langlinais, head of the Charleston / Coos Bay / North Bend Visitor Center, said this is the place to be in the area for the weekend.

“We are excited to see all the BBQ masters in town this Memorial Day Weekend vying for top prize at the BBQ, Blues & Brews on the Bay Kansas City Barbeque Society-sanctioned event,” she told Oregon Coast Beach Connection. “The BBQ is always stellar and the side completion for best Mac & Cheese is a tasty addition. The blues being played in the entertainment tent will be smokin' hot.”

Courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

The beer scene at this south Oregon coast gem has expanded as well. The casino said in 2012 they were able to get eight different breweries, but now it's over 20 of them, helping to raise over $50,000 for local non-profits through the beer sample garden.

The beer vendors are new and improved, said the casino. This year, each of the three beer stations will let you purchase a commemorative cup with the event logo, with a pint going for $10 or $15 for a cup. Full size 16oz beers on tap are $7 and sample size 5oz beer is $4.

As you exit, you'll be able to vote for People’s Choice Best Brew.

Blues acts this year include Gabriel Cox Band and the Ms. Vee and Badass Band. Barbecue winners are announced at 4 p.m. on Sunday. See the website

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Courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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