Visitors to the 2016 A Taste of Ashland enjoy wine and camaraderie at one of the participating art galleries. [Photo by Steven Addington Photography]

Annual festival showcases food, art, wine and friends

Foodies, wine connoisseurs and art lovers will find even more offerings during this year's A Taste of Ashland festival.

Now in its 28th year, the art, food and wine walk, to be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, includes favorite traditional stops as well as new ones.

"Each winery and restaurant is painstakingly matched and work together to create unique pairings inside 19 colorful galleries — all within walking, or trolley ride, distance from one another," says Jeff Jones, event coordinator for A Taste of Ashland. "This is a rare opportunity to sip 17 of the region's best wines and brews, taste food from 20-plus restaurants and enjoy artwork from wonderful galleries that represent hundreds of local, regional and international artists."

Tickets are $55 for Saturday, $45 for Sunday, or $65 for both days. Tickets and information are available online at atasteofashland.com or by calling 541-488-0178. Tickets also can be purchased at Ashland Art Center, 357 E. Main St., or at the kiosk on the downtown Ashland Plaza. The kiosk will be open from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 27- 28, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The kiosk also is the spot to pick up souvenir wine glasses.

A Taste of Ashland is the biggest fundraising event of the year for the Ashland Gallery Association, a collection of galleries and studios offering diverse and quality works of art.

Though most participating locations are within walking distance of each other, the AllAboard Trolley will offer free rides to downtown galleries, as well as to galleries at Southern Oregon University.

SOU's Thorndike Gallery will host a Pop-Up Art Show by 15 AGA member artists. They will show work in a wide range of media, subjects and styles — including charcoal figure drawings, abstract geometric acrylic paintings, wearable fiber art, assemblage sculpture, landscapes, floral watercolors and more.

Jones says the Thorndike Gallery is a large, light-filled space that will show off the artwork well, giving artists and art lovers a chance to connect. Visitors to the gallery also can sample wine from Weisinger Family Vineyard and food from the Word on the Street food truck, known for its specialty tacos.

Belle Fiore Winery will pour wine at the Schneider Museum of Art at SOU, which will also host Fired Up Food Truck, known for tacos, burritos and sliders.

Aviands food will be paired with Rogue Kombucha fermented tea drinks at the Meyer Memorial Gallery on campus.

In downtown Ashland, Enoteca by EdenVale, 17 N. Main St., will offer its own wine plus French-inspired seasonal creations from Loft, a French-American bistro.

Outdoor equipment and clothing store Mountain Provisions, 27 N. Main St., will have Simple Machine Wine and made-from-scratch food from Sweet Beet Station in Talent.

On Saturday only, Liquid Assets Wine Bar, 96 N. Main St., will feature Upper Five Vineyard and Pie + Vine, known for its Italian pastas and wood-fired pizzas.

The clothing store Nimbus, 25 E. Main St., will be the temporary home for Quady North wines plus artisan cheese-maker Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms, creator of artisan chocolates, caramels and truffles.

Hanson Howard Gallery, 89 Oak St., has teamed up with its brew pub neighbor, Standing Stone Brewing Co., and Jaxon Vineyards.

Smithfield's Pub & Pies, Larks Home Kitchen Cuisine and Roxy Ann Winery are the guests at Art and Soul Gallery, 247 E. Main St.

American Trails, 250 E. Main St., will host Greensprings Inn and Grizzly Peak Winery.

The Ashland Art Center, 357 E. Main St., will feature Platt Anderson Cellars for the weekend, as well as gourmet taco and tamale restaurant Agave Saturday and Talent's eclectic Arbor House Restaurant Sunday.

Taj Indian Fusion and South Stage Cellars will join forces at Photographers Gallery at the Ashland Art Center.

In Ashland's second gallery district along A Street, wool-bedding maker Shepherd's Dream, 629 A St., will have Vietnamese food from Nguyen Street Food. John Michael Champagne Cellars will pour sparkling sake. 

Gallery Karon, 500 A St., will have food from Callahan's Lodge near Mount Ashland and Cuckoo's Nest Cellars wine.

Home decor and international artisan crafts store Hill Station, 287 Fourth St., will host Brickroom, known for its American-style shareable plates and entrees, along with Slagle Creek Vineyards.

Gathering Glass Studio, 322 N. Pioneer St., will conduct glass-blowing demonstrations. Granite Taphouse restaurant is Saturday's guest, and Wok Star Food Truck, maker of Asian tacos and other street cuisine, is Sunday's guest. Standing Stone Brewing Co. will be on site both days.

Oak Street Station will bring desserts, and the Ashland Food Co-op will offer mineral water at Ashland Artworks, a cluster of working studios and gallery spaces located at 291 Oak St., in an idyllic setting along Ashland Creek.

Oak Leaf Studio, 247 Oak St., is teamed with Nan's Raw Goods, maker of raw, vegan and gluten-free treats made with ingredients such as raspberries, Brazil nuts, coconut, cherries, cacao and lime. Urban Cork Wines will pour.

Previously located downtown, Houston's Custom Framing, now at 280 E. Hersey St., No. 11, will feature Heavenly Fire Salsa, Caldera Brewing Co. and Eliana Wines.

Jones says the timing of A Taste of Ashland Saturday and Sunday afternoon gives participants a chance to enjoy nighttime entertainment in town, including plays.

"A Taste of Ashland is the ultimate Ashland experience," he says. "Tasters stroll leisurely through the quaint town of Ashland all afternoon, experiencing the best of Ashland's art, food and wine, and then have time to relax and attend an Oregon Shakespeare Festival performance in the evening."

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