Historic Old Town Bandon, Oregon is a wonderful gathering spot to enjoy local events. This is where the annual Cranberry Festival is held every September. Fun, exciting, and educational events are scheduled throughout the year. Old Town Bandon also features markets with local produce, local artisan booths, galleries, and fine dining. If you want to take a walk around town and do a little window shopping to get the lay of the land, the city of Bandon has a 5k loop walking map from Old Town to Beach posted on their site.
In addition to the delightful boutiques, galleries, and shops to explore in Old Town Bandon here are some of the top things to do in and around historic Old Town Bandon including events, dining, and Dungeness crabbing on the Coquille River.
Cranberry Festival: The 76th annual Cranberry Festival was celebrated in Bandon in 2022. The number one agricultural crop in the community is given proper respect in the three-day weekend extravaganza. A Cranberry Queen and a Queen or King of the Kitchen (the winner of the local Cranberry Kitchen Contest sponsored by Ocean Spray) are crowned during Cranberry Court, held during half-time of the Cranberry Bowl high school football game. Enjoy a parade, food, games, craft booths, and live music to enjoy throughout the weekend. The event is held on the second weekend in September. Learn more about the annual festival at www.bandon.com (and start working on your award winning recipe for a chance to join the ranks of local cranberry royalty).
Cardboard Regatta: The first cardboard boat race was held at Weber’s Pier Boat Launch in Historic Old Town Bandon on July 4th, 2015. It has become a local favorite. The event is free. Registration, construction rules, and participation forms should be available on www.portofbandon.com before the 2023 event.
Participants are required to wear Coast Guard approved flotation devices. Many of these cardboard vessels will likely sink on race day (an award is given to the most spectacular sinking cardboard boat). 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners of each heat are also given awards. This is a fun way to celebrate Independence Day in Coastal Oregon.
Rockfish Festival: This educational festival was started in 2019 and is co-sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The event is family friendly with music, food, art, and fun. The festival showcases the various species of rockfish located off the Oregon coast. There are over 38 species of rockfish here, and 25 species are regularly caught by commercial fisheries. According to 1895 Oregon’s Magazine, they all taste about the same. The flesh holds up well to many methods of cooking. The magazine included a recipe for Oregon Rockfish Tacos w/pickled red onions in a recent 2021 article. You can organize your very own annual family rockfish fishing competition and taco cook-off when you find your perfect home in Bandon, Oregon (and determine what rockfish tastes best).
The Wheelhouse & Crowsnest: Enjoy a meal while overlooking the Coquille River and the Coquille River Lighthouse in a local restaurant that has been serving the community for over 30 years. Fresh seafood, steaks, soups, salads, and pasta dishes are served and complimented by a wine list featuring Oregon wines. House specialties include a Coconut Crusted Rockfish (w/mango salsa) and Spinach Pie (fresh spinach, onions, and feta cheese in puff pastry).
The Loft Restaurant and Bar: Breakfast & brunch are served on the second floor of the High Dock building in a small dining room overlooking Old Town Bandon, the Coquille River, and the Pacific Ocean. The restaurant takes great pride in its Brown Butter Hollandaise and showcasing regional ingredients. Breakfast menu items include a Crab Cake Benedict (Loft house made grilled crab cakes on fresh spinach w/brown butter hollandaise) and a Cajun Poach (poached eggs on English muffin w/swiss, spinach, grilled tomato, and Cajun brown butter hollandaise).
Edgewaters: The atmosphere is casual. You will be welcome to dress in your finest or in casual beachwear. But you’ll need a reservation (and you need to wear a shirt and shoes). Menu items include Grilled Fresh Pacific Rockfish Tacos (w/pico del gallo, toasted almond sauce, pickled onions, cabbage, and local arugula greens) and Crab Louie (Dungeness Crab, asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, red onions, and sliced egg on mixed greens).
Fish Oregon Guide Service: Dungeness Crabbing trips are offered July through November by this local guide service. If you are new to crabbing, hiring a guide is a great way to get started and bring the bounty of the Coquille River to your dining table. Crabbing trips were $250 (for up to 5 people) in 2022. Once you understand the lay of the land/river you can invest in your own gear and enjoy crabbing all season long. An annual shellfish license is a small investment: $10 for Oregon residents in 2022.
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife: The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife has put together a comprehensive “Start Crabbing” guide on its website to help get you started. Crabbing in Oregon can be a year-round activity, but you’ll have the most success in months that end in the letter “r” (September, October, November, and December) according to ODFW. Before you know it you’ll be crabbing like the pros and celebrating your next Thanksgiving in style with Dungeness crab and an award winning cranberry recipe from the annual Cranberry Festival.