Of all the things to celebrate in Bandon, gorse seems last on the list. However, planning for Bandon’s first Gorse Blossom Festival is underway, and it’s going to be good. Block out the weekend of February 17-19 so you won’t miss a thing.
The festival’s logo is an acknowledgement of the various faces of gorse. A sprig of gorse with its pretty yellow blossom is on a tartan background, a nod to its Scottish heritage. Perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek is a small drop of blood at the end of one of the notoriously sharp spines.
The first Gorse Blossom Festival will, fortunately, be much more about good local food, wine, and beer than it is about gorse. The Old Town Marketplace will be filled with more than 40 booths with representatives from various breweries, vineyards, restaurants who will be sampling and selling their goods. In addition to these goodies, there will be merchants and interactive activities, including a selfie booth.
In addition to the fun happening in the marketplace, the weekend of the first Gorse Blossom Festival will include screenings of some of the Oregon Coast Film Festival films and a fun run. During the run, runners and walkers will receive the ingredients for a bloody Mary at various stops along the way. The final ingredient, the vodka, will be available at the end. The festival ends at 6:00 each evening so there will be plenty of time for folks to make the Wine Tour, Winemaker Dinner and Brewmaker Dinner in Old Town.
The major foci of the first Gorse Blossom Festival will be the food, beer, and wine, but an educational component is being planned as well. Unless they’ve golfed at Bandon Dunes or have had an unfortunate tangle off a trail, most non-locals are unfamiliar with Bandon’s non-native, highly invasive prickly gorse plant, its history in Bandon, and the problems it causes for the town and neighboring communities. One aim of the festival is to teach people about what it is and how to avoid problems with it. Festival planners are also working on an “Ask the Fishermen” booth and an historical walking tour of Old Town.
Single-day tickets will cost $15 and will include entrance to the festival and a wine glass or pint glass for wine and beer samples throughout. Extra costs would include the film festival, the Bloody Mary Run, and a seafood feast on Sunday. $70 will buy a weekend pass that will include festival entrance all three days as well as the film festival, the run, and the seafood feast. Winemaker and Brewmaker dinners will be extra for everyone.
1,000 to 3,000 locals and visitors are expected at this first Gorse Blossom Festival and is expected to grow in size as the years go on. Make your plans and motel reservations now!