A crown awaits the cook with the cranberry touch. Culinary Queens need only whip up their best cranberry concoction to enter the Queen of the Kitchen contest in Bandon’s annual Cranberry Festival.
Contestants compete for the crown in three categories, Queen of the Kitchen, best overall; Jr. Queen of the Kitchen, youth age 10 and younger, aided by an adult; Aspiring Chef, age 11 to 18 years. Find contest rules and entry forms online at bandon.com/cranberry-festival.
The food fair and cooking contest are almost as old as the Cranberry Festival. The competition was added the second year of the festival, in 1948. The winner is crowned at the Coronation Ceremony and greets the festival throng in the Saturday parade.
The blind judging system has delivered a few surprises over the years: One gentleman has earned the title “King” of the Kitchen. The youngest Queen earned her crown at age 12. And, the 2014 Queen won with a sip, instead of a nibble, with her mulled cranberry-blackberry wine.
The Bandon Cranberry Festival is organized by the Bandon Chamber of Commerce with support from member businesses and festival sponsors. For information about festival events, including the Food Fair, visit the Bandon Chamber Visitors Center, 300 2nd Street in Old Town Bandon, or call 541-347-9616.
Festival participants have celebrated local agriculture and cranberry production for 69 years. Food Fair entries must include a cranberry product. Food categories are appetizer or side dish, relish, preserve or sauce, baked good, entrée, dessert, and beverage.
Cooks can find Ocean Spray cranberry products in most grocery stores.
Check specialty or natural grocery stores for independent labels such as Bouncing Berry Farms and Vincent Family Cranberries. Bandon Chamber member specialty food sellers include Face Rock Creamery, Misty Meadows and the Old Town Marketplace.
Photos by Geneva Miller.