As It Was: Illahe, Ore., Holds First Venison Barbecue in 1914
In August 1914, the Southern Oregon river hamlet of Illahe held its first picnic and venison barbeque at Gold Bar on the Rogue River. It lasted four days and nights.
Motorboats offered half-fare rides from Gold Beach to Agness, where pack mules transported picnickers’ gear and hay for making campground beds. Good pasture was nearby.
Campers participated in a non-stop, daily schedule of activities, including hammer throwing, sharpshooting, track and field games, foot races for all ages, horse races, baseball games, and a full roster of wrestling and boxing matches.
One competition allowed competitors to bring any size rifle for shooting at a 4-inch target circle from a distance of 100 feet. Shooters “donated” 10 cents for each attempt to hit the target. Winning shots won a turkey, but organizers offered to buy them back for $1.50 each for the midnight supper.
Generous venison meals were served on the ground for 25 cents and a six-piece orchestra played at dances each evening.
The Gold Beach Globe deemed the celebration “one of the most enjoyable affairs ever pulled off in Curry County.”
Source: “First Annual Picnic and Venison Barbeque At Illahe, Ore., August 12, 13, 14, & 15." Gold Beach Globe, 21 July 1914.