Cranberry Heaven in ’97. That was the theme of the first and only Cranberry Festival I had attended until this weekend when I Casted Away to Cranberry Island. My parents live in the lovely little coastal town of Bandon, Oregon. During the second weekend every September (which also coincides with the start of cranberry harvest) the locals offer tribute to the beautiful, bright red, tart berry. We attended the coronation ceremony of the Cranberry Queen, during which five high-school aged Princesses vied for the crown. We also found some good spots on the sidewalk to watch the Saturday morning Cranberry Parade and scrambled along with the kids for the candy tossed out from the cars.
Then there was the Cranberry Eating contest, and it wasn’t cranberry jelly or cranberry pie but fresh, whole, raw berries. We watched and cheered on the brave souls. There was a photography contest, a football game, a Cranberry run and a cooking contest. The Queen of the Kitchen title went to a young lady for her appetizer-sized Cranberry Joe’s, which were her special version of Sloppy Joe’s. Of course we ate and drank our way through the weekend, sampling everything from cranberry croissants to cranberry chocolate. Thanks to Ocean Spray, I now have a nice amount of dried cranberries to supply my fall recipes. I envision cranberry scones, muffins and cake. I’ll even share with Matt so he can sprinkle some “red gold” on his oatmeal!