By SCOTT GRAVES
Citizens packed the Port of Brookings Harbor and Azalea Park last weekend to celebrate Brookings 50th birthday.
The birthday celebration began at 7 p.m. Friday with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday in the parking lot of Ray Food Place in Brookings, and ended with a patriotic bang at Azalea Park with a concert featuring the First Marine Division Band.
On Saturday, residents and visitors packed the boardwalk at the port to participate in or watch a variety of contests, entertainment and a car show.
Friday nights festivities included a 1950s-themed sock hop and hula hoop contest. The fountain in front of Rays had been decorated with balloons in the shape of a birthday cake.
During the singing of Happy Birthday at least a hundred colored helium balloons were released from the top of the cake and floated into the evening sky.
Members of the Brookings Emblem Club, decked out in red, white and blue, served pieces of birthday cake to the masses along with a hot dog and soda for 50 cents.
At the port Saturday, children and adults enjoyed face painting and balloon-made critters, while a few feet away, 17 people stuffed themselves into a Volkswagen in a car-stuffing contest.
Children worked themselves into a frenzy during the hula hoop contest, while adults checked out the vintage cars displayed for the Curry County Cruisers Car Show.
The day wrapped up with a lip sync contest and a performance by the Sea Breeze and Sound Wave jazz choirs.
Sunday started with an old fashion military breakfast at the VFW Hall, followed by an old fashion family picnic at Azalea Park.
The First Marine Division Bank took the Azalea Festival stage at 1 p.m. and played a mix of military and traditional American music from throughout the countrys history.
The band played to a packed park of at least 1,200 people, organizers said.
Bob Gilmore, of the Marine Corp League Coos-Curry Detachment 578, said band members told him after the concert it was the second best one theyve experienced in the last two years.
The band performs at approximately 400 engagements a year, Gilmore said.
They said the audience participation was great. The people really got into the music and it made them real happy, he said.
The band talked about the possibility of coming back next year, he said.
Organizers of the American Music Festival, a nonprofit organization that hosts the concert series at the park, said it cost nearly $7,000 to have the band play Sunday. The cost included airfare, hotel and food for the 50 band members.
Anyone wishing to make donations may do so by mailing them to the American Music Festival, P.O. Box 1737, Brookings, OR, 97415.