Fish Fry Attracts Thousands to 4th of July Bandon Celebration in 1949

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Contributed by Jim Proehl
Republished from the Bandon Historical Society newsletter


The Chamber of Commerce fish fry was the highlight of the July Fourth celebration in Bandon in 1949, according to the Bandon Historical Society.

The “Coos Bay Times” sent a photographer to record the event. The Coos History Museum shared that photographer’s pictures with the Bandon museum.

A flip board display at the Bandon museum illustrates the holiday.

The “Western World” for June 6, 1949, reported, “about 4,000 people received golden-brown fillets of French-fried deep-sea fish—about 1300 pounds of it—with compliments of the Bandon chamber of commerce, at the second annual free fish fry in the city park.”

“In addition to the 1,292 pounds of filleted fish, chamber members dispensed nearly 2,000 cups of coffee, with cream, from the new permanent fish fry building constructed for the event at the park,” continued the “Western World” article.

The building constructed for the 1949 fish fry is still part of Bandon’s City Park.

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“All of the fish served was caught by a number of chamber fishing parties and held frozen for the event. Women worked with chamber committees in cutting and breading the slices of tasty fish,” reported the “Western World.”

Bandon celebrated the Fourth that year with three days of events. The Westmost golf course hosted a three-day tournament. Bum Gartin’s orchestra played dances at The Barn. Guided auto sight-seeing tours left the visitor’s center twice a day. Roseburg played Bandon in the City Park baseball field.

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Children’s contests ran through the day of the fourth at City Park. Mary Dufort, now Bandon’s Mayor Mary Schamehorn, won the girls’ egg race.

The fireworks display was launched from the bluff at the end of Eleventh Street.

“A gala 25-minute fireworks display at the beach bluff, which cost the chamber $10 per minute, was seen by thousands. The colorful pyrotechnics were augmented by many privately-launched displays at the beach,” reported the “Western World.”

The Bandon Historical Society Museum has photographs of a number of local Fourth of July celebrations. The Bandon Historical Society Museum is open February through December, 270 Fillmore Ave SE.


Photos by Coos Bay Times staff, courtesy of Coos History Museum & Maritime Collections: (1) CHM 995-1.6833.2, (2) CHM 995-1.6834.1, (3) CHM 995-1.6835.1, (4) CHM 995-1.6829.2