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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.

Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.