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Parade participants strike a pose at the 2010 Pear Blossom Festival. Mail Tribune / File photo

Pear Blossom: Something for everyone

The Pear Blossom Festival that draws thousands to Medford each year will have new cycling events in addition to traditional favorites such as the Pear Blossom Run and Parade.
The festival on Friday and Saturday, April 8-9, has added the 7-mile Comice Family Ride, the 14-mile Bosc Ride, the 27-mile Bartlett Ride and the 62-mile Royal Riviera-Metric Century.
The three longer rides for the new Pedals 'n Pears cycling events begin at 9 a.m. Saturday in downtown Medford, with the shorter family-friendly ride starting soon after at 9:15 a.m.
"It's something people have desired and asked about for many years," says Richard Barney, chairman of the Pedals 'n Pears Steering Committee. "So many people love cycling. It was a natural thing to have a bike ride as part of the Pear Blossom Festival. A lot of people had been in the run, but are not able to run anymore because of ankle, hip or knee problems. Now they say, 'I can do the Pear again!'"
Volunteers and the Lyoness Child & Family Foundation stepped forward to do the work needed to put on the cycling events, Barney says.
Proceeds will benefit four local organizations, Coyote Trails School of Nature, Wilderness Trails, Redemption Ridge and The Family Nurturing Center.
"It's a ride for a cause," Barney says.
For more information about the bike rides and to register, see pedalsnpears.org.
Southern Oregon's most well-known running event, the Pear Blossom Run features a 5K race at 7 a.m., 1-mile and 2-mile Fun Run Races at 7:50 a.m. and a 10-mile race at 8:20 a.m. Saturday. Registration costs $30 for the 5K, $7 for the fun runs and $36 for the 10-mile race.
For more information about the runs and to register, see www.pearblossomrun.com.
The runs attract everyone from kids under age 9 to adults over age 80, walkers to competitive distance athletes, and people just getting into shape to runners with decades of experience.
Local husband-and-wife duo Charles and Donna Hodge, both in their 60s, plan to run the 10-mile race. Charles Hodge finished sixth among men in his age division last year, while Donna Hodge took the top spot among women in her age division.
Charles Hodge is using the race to continue his streak of running every day for more than 40 years.
"It's the run to do in the valley," he says.
For runners and non-runners alike, a downtown street fair features food, games, art, crafts and more from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Vendors and booths will be set up in The Commons Park Blocks along North Bartlett Street between 4th and 6th Streets.
Local artisan food makers, wineries, distilleries and breweries will offer food and drinks under a canopy during the Pear-A-Fare from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. A Pear-A-Fair entry fee of $5 includes five food taste tickets. A $20 souvenir glass includes 10 taste tickets. Participants must be 21 or older to taste alcoholic beverages.
A time-honored tradition dating to the 1950s, the Pear Blossom Parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday on Central Avenue near Beatty Street, continues southeast on Central Avenue, turns right onto West Main Street and begins dispersing at the intersection with Mistletoe Street. The parade ends at approximately 1:30 p.m.
The parade has 150 entries with 4,000 participants — and 25,000 to 30,000 spectators are expected to line the parade route, according to organizers.
Taylor and Emily Grimes of Rogue Jet Boat Adventures will serve as the grand marshals of the parade. Their parade entry features a jet boat with the theme "Discover Your Rogue."
Pear Blossom Pageant Queen Myra Rademacher from Eagle Point High, pageant princesses from Rogue Valley high schools and winners of the Pear Blossom Babies contest — including Baby Bud Lucas Kern and Baby Blossom Violet Web — will ride in floats.
Other parade highlights include Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest employees with a wildland fire engine pulling a float with Smokey Bear, a Lozier Lane Baptist Church float depicting a journey down the Rogue River, the University of Oregon's Duck mascot, a Northwest Tall Tale Festival entry promoting the Medford Senior Center’s tall tale festival in August and a float highlighting the Teen Musical Theatre of Oregon's production of  “The Little Mermaid.” 
For more information about all Pear Blossom Festival events, see pearblossomparade.org.
 

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