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As It Was: Weather favors Strawberry Carnival in Roseburg, Ore.

Predictions of rain were threatening disaster at the fourth annual Strawberry Festival in Roseburg, Ore., in May 1913.  But the clouds cleared and the festival had three days of perfect sunshine that drew thousands of enthusiastic travelers from around the state.

Even the Portland Oregonian newspaper acknowledged the impressive parade’s marching bands, floats, horse riders and the queen and her court.  Sidewalk stands provided free strawberries perfect in size, color, aroma and flavor.  A tethered, hot-air balloon rose on a 1,000-foot cable, giving brave passengers breathtaking views of the city and surroundings.

Some 3,000 spectators went to the fairgrounds to see the carnival’s main feature, a wild West show.  Costumed cowboys and Indians performed on horseback and others rode bucking broncos.  Desperados armed with six-shooters added drama by reenacting a realistic stage robbery.  Good guys pursued the bad guys, who fell from their saddles in a shoot-out, most likely recalling for some old-timers genuine hold-ups of the past.

The three-day carnival closed with a grand ball at the Armory.

Sources: Douglas County Museum. Images of America Land of Umpqua. First ed., vol. 1, Charleston SC, Arcadia Publishing, 2011, p. 73, 1 vols. Accessed 22 Mar. 2017.

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Emily Blakely has published poetry and prose, and frequently displayed framed works at the Umpqua Valley Arts Center as well as restaurants and libraries in the area. Her interest in writing for JPR’s "As It Was" program came from hearing Kernan Turner speak at her writer’s group meeting, and she has found it to be beneficial in developing her writing skill. Researching local history has become one of her favorite pastimes.