MEDFORD — Downtown Medford has been decking its halls and lighting its streets in preparation for today's Winter Light Festival and the kickoff weekend of the holiday shopping season.
Festival events will be all day today in Vogel Plaza, at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue. Woodworking, pottery and African woven baskets are among many goods for sale at vendor booths that will be set up in and around the plaza.
The 45-foot Colorado blue spruce tree erected in Vogel Plaza on Monday was donated by Medford residents Gary and Jolee Nelson. Gary Nelson, editorial page editor of the Mail Tribune, said the tree had grown too large for their front yard and was leaning.
Among the events of the day will be:
- 10 a.m. — Christmas bazaar featuring food and old-fashioned gifts in and around Vogel Plaza. The booths will stay open all day, until after the tree-lighting ceremony. There will be entertainment on stage in Vogel Plaza as well as strolling musicians and carolers.
- 11 a.m. — Horse-drawn carriage rides will depart from Bartlett Street and Theater Alley behind PremierWest Bank. There will be a fee for rides, which will continue until 4 p.m.
- 3:30 p.m. — Candy Cane Hunt and Marshmallow Roast, Hawthorne Park, across from the Medford Shopping Center. The hunt will be followed by a marshmallow roast that will continue until 5 p.m. The candy cane hunt is open to children ages 1 to 12, and the marshmallow roast is open to children and adults of all ages. The event is sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department.
- 5 p.m. — Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will greet children, and there will be performances by choirs from St. Mary's School, South Medford High School and the Rogue Valley Ensemble. Former Mayor Lindsay Berryman will be the master of ceremonies.
- 7:30 p.m. — Mayor Gary Wheeler will present a holiday speech, followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree.
- Corks Wine Bar will have hot chocolate, cider and coffee, and an event photographer will be on hand.
For more information or to get involved with the Winter Light Festival nonprofit organization, call Joyce Loyd, festival director, at 890-4043.