Pear Blossom fair makes changes

Pear Blossom fair makes changes

For decades, all roads led to Alba Park on Pear Blossom Saturday.

With both the Pear Blossom Run and parade finishing near the small downtown park, it seemed the logical — if somewhat limited — location to conclude the day's festivities.

That's changing this year as the Heart of Medford Association is redirecting its Pear Blossom Spring Fair efforts to the much-larger Hawthorne Park, as well as shifting days, making it a Saturday and Sunday event.

Organizers say the change of venue will capture a new audience and carry it to new heights on the second weekend of April.

"Basically, we're taking what was a relatively small event in Alba Park and making the event the largest it's ever been," said Larry Marshall of Marshall Fundraising Management, an Ashland fundraising consulting and events management firm. "The key challenge is taking this herd and moving them in another direction. How do you get all these people about 10 blocks from where they've gone before?"

The move was necessitated, said Heart of Medford Association board member Sally Densmore, because electrical and water resources were maxed out. The move will unclog the civic center area around Medford City Hall and the post office by early afternoon, while providing room for entertainment and more than 100 vendors.

The event is the association's chief source of income, so more vendors will enable the group to expand its efforts to promote downtown.

"We thought Hawthorne Park would be a better venue and give us room to expand," she said.

The move also sets the stage for future endeavors.

Densmore said downtown business owners plan to act on the challenge thrown down by tourism guru Brian Baker two years at a chamber of commerce forum, when he suggested expanding Pear Blossom activities beyond a single weekend.

"Nobody has worked out the details, but this positions us to do that," Densmore said. "We're really pleased how fast vendors signed up in this economy. Hopefully, people will start thinking about (additional) Pear activities all month."

In addition to promotional and volunteer efforts to redirect parade-goers to Hawthorne Park, a shuttle service from Alba Park is planned.

The spring fair runs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, April 10, featuring six hours of live entertainment, starting at 1 p.m. More activities are in store from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Vendors were booked for both days, giving people who miss out on Saturday another chance on Sunday.

"We thought since we have the vendors already set up, we might as well let the people enjoy them for two days," Densmore said. "There may be a different audience, people who aren't involved in the run and parade."

Reach Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or e-mail

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