Summer this year in the Rogue Valley promises a slate of events that will make it difficult to complain of boredom.
From outdoor concerts in the park and a classic-car show to patriotic celebrations and a festival paying homage to processed meat, residents can recover from a long winter and too-short spring by getting out of the house for some choice entertainment.
Medford Cruise (June 18)
OK, so it's not officially summer until June 21. This year's Medford Cruise will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, during Father's Day weekend.
For more than two decades, the event has lured hundreds of cars and trucks — from cruising classics and hot rods to muscle cars and restorations — for a procession through downtown.
The event, sponsored by the Medford Parks Foundation, began this week and runs through Sunday, benefiting local youth along the way.
The free cruise features the Best of the Cruise trophy given to the top cruiser and includes a list of events, including the Show 'N' Shine staged at Medford's Hawthorne Park for cars and trucks from 1972 or before.
Concerts in the Park (June 15-Aug. 17)
City of Medford offers an outdoor concert series at Bear Creek Park, off Highland road. Concerts are at 7 p.m. Wednesdays, starting June 15. The first features well-known writer and performer Edwin McCain and opening act David Ryan Harris. Other performers include Los Angeles singer-songwriter Jakob Martin, country singers Jason Johnston and Michael Boren, South Medford High alumni-based band, Apple Siders (www.myspace.com.applesiders) and the Oregon-based, 40-piece, 234th Army Band playing for Fourth of July. Details: www.playmedford.com or 541-774-2400.
Ode to processed meat? SPAM Festival (June 25)
The 11th annual Shady Cove SPAM Festival will be June 25 on the Rogue River this year.
Celebrating the much-maligned processed meat, the SPAM party will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with live music, vendor booths, a free kids carnival, watermelon- and pie-eating contests and a slew of SPAM commodities — from kabobs and burgers to souvenirs of the inedible variety. Admission is free.
Details: www.shadycovespamfestival.com or 541-951-6346.
Independence Day (July 4)
Red, White and Boom, the region's Independence Day event hosted by the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County, is moving this year to the Jackson County Fairgrounds. The event will offer more parking and expanded activities this year. The show kicks off with music at dusk.
Jackson County Fair (July 19-24)
A summer favorite, the Jackson County Fair will run July 19-24 this year with its typical lineup of big-name entertainment and all the usual county-fair accoutrements, from livestock competitions and midway rides to carnival food and other events.
This year's concert lineup, slated for Tuesday, July 19, at the Lithia Motors Amphitheater, kicks off with Big Time Rush. Country favorite Clay Walker will perform the following night, July 20, followed by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts July 21, a country festival July 22 and a blues festival July 23.
General fair admission is $11 (for ages 12 and older), $6 for kids (6 to 11) and seniors.
Concert seating prices range from $5 to $37, depending on the concert and seating preference.
Details: www.jcfairgrounds.com or 541-774-8270.
Walldogs mural event (Aug. 16-20)
An event geared toward creating "10 historic murals in five days" will take place this summer under an agreement between the city of Central Point and the Washington-based Walldogs (www.walldogs.com).
Said to be Oregon's first Walldogs adventure, the five-day effort will spiff up the city's downtown and make for some interesting conversation. Artists and volunteers will be fed breakfast and lunch each day they help. To offer your services, call 541-261-1971. To attend, visit downtown during the third week of August.