"As the blooms appear in the central
Willamette Valley around Salem, elating caravans of visitors
(who) come to enjoy them. This is the time the Cherrians
too, blossom out in their uniforms to greet their guests."
Salem Cherrians were organized in 1913 and were designated
as the group to arrange for the annual Cherry Festival which
they did in the few years just preceding the First World War.
In 1913 George F. Rodgers was King Bing and in 1914, Milton
Meyers served as King Bing, but no records were kept after
that date. They wore cream colored serge suits and rakish
sailor straw hats. They had titles to befit the occasion:
Keeper of the Orchards, Lord Governor Wood, Marquis of Maraschino,
King Bing, Queen's Consort, Chancellor of the Rolls and the
Their main promotions were the annual Salem Cherry Blossom
Day, and sponsorship of Salem floats in the annual Portland
Rose Festival parade.
Cherrians watched the cherry trees every year and, a couple
weeks before the height of cherry blossom beauty, they would
set the Sunday for the annual Cherry Blossom Day. They would
distribute marked maps with the most beautiful cherry blossom
routes. They would post routes and the State Capitol would
not only remain open, but it would conduct guided tours on
this Sunday of the year.
As the cost of prize-winning floats increased, the Cherrian
membership decreased, and the organization found it increasingly
harder to solicit money and manpower from other organizations
and individuals. The late lamented Cherrians thrived from
1913 until they discontinued in the spring of 1968 for lack
Oregon Statesman writer Conrad Prange, a Salem native &
lifelong resident, wrote at that time:
"Even to many who never were Cherrians, the name brings
on memories of summertime parades, festivals, floats, pretty
girls, high school bands, street dances, uniformed marchers,
pageants, 4th of July celebrations, picnics, band
concerts, Blossom Day festivities, ball games, airplane rides,
carnivals, and baby parades."
Compiled by Shirley Herrmann
Statesman Journal newspaper, Life section - Sunday January