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Salem Cherrians
 

"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 King's Jester.

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 of membership.

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

Bibliography:
Statesman Journal newspaper, Life section - Sunday January 12, 1969

 

 
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Cherians with parade auto

Cherrians with an auto for the parade, 1913
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Cherrian royality 1950
King Bing William Connell Dyer with a group of the Council of Nobles of the 
Cherrians, 1950
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1949 Cherrians
1949 Cherrians
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