In our humble opinion, a true Southern Oregonian's bucket list should include one, two — heck, maybe all — of the following signature events at least once in his or her lifetime.
Not the bucket list type? Then go just for the fun of it.
Ever wanted to run a marathon? Medford's Pear Blossom Festival features a series of races, a parade downtown and a weekend street fair at a local park.
Amateur and serious athletes alike compete in everything from a Mayor's Cup one-mile to a much-trained-for 10-mile. The Pear Blossom Run was founded by Rogue Valley natives Zellah and Jerry Swartsley in 1977.
The festival started as a children's parade in 1954 with a 5-year-old Miss Blossom reigning over 10 floats. It has since grown to more than 150 floats with more than 5,000 participants and now includes a baby contest, Junior Royalty Pageant, Senior Royalty Scholarship Pageant, the Pear Blossom Run, a street fair and a stamp show.
One of Central Point's biggest events, the Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo packs the arena at the Jackson County Expo each year.
Sponsored by PremierWest Bank and the city of Central Point, this year's rodeo is set for May 31 to June 2.
The event is part of a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association series to determine champion-level bronc and bull riders for the finals in Las Vegas.
For details, see www.jcfairgrounds.com.
A car lover's dream, the Medford Cruise offers more than a week's worth of events culminating in a Saturday cruise through downtown Medford. This year's event will be June 11-17 and include a poker run and concert, stoplight drags at the Champion Raceway and shows featuring '72 models and older, sports cars, hot rod custom cars, Chevys and Fords. The cruise itself will be June 16.
For details, visit http://www.medfordcruise.org.
What's more American than SPAM? OK, we can think of a lot of things. For Shady Cove, SPAM is a dose of tongue-in-cheek fun.
One of four recognized SPAM events worldwide, the festivities include a pet parade, entertainment, street fair and myriad offerings of SPAM delicacies. Locals can compete in a SPAM cook-off of staggering processed meat proportions. This year's event is set for June 30.
For details that will be posted online soon, see www.shadycovespamfestival.com.
Rogue River's annual Rooster Crow is just one of those things you have to see to believe. It started out as a contest among feathered participants in 1953 but has since expanded to human crowers, who, by the way, are far more entertaining to watch than roosters.
Now the three-day event includes a festival, a run, entertainment and a parade down Main Street. Details will be posted online soon at www.rogueriverchamber.com.
We remember the glory days when the Ashland Fourth of July Parade included Geppetto's Dancing Wontons, the Marching Tomatoes and the Lawnchair Brigade. Alas, you won't see those entries any more, but there are still plenty of reasons to stand along Main Street in the blazing sun with thousands of other people, among them Macaroni's band dressed in pasta shapes, belly dancers, the "Volundeers" and plenty of bands, floats and politicians with cute babies in shiny cars.
Prospect continues to honor its logging heritage with the annual Jamboree, where participants showcase their skills at everything from ax throwing and chainsaw sculpture to log rolling and buck saw competitions.
Sponsored as a fundraiser for the Prospect Community Center, the 62nd annual Propect Jamboree and Timber Carnival will include entertainment and community events such as tug-of-war and greased pig catching.
When available, details will be posted online at www.prospectcommunity.org.
When you're having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit, head down to the Providence Festival of Trees at the Medford Armory, where the spectacle of dozens of trees, elaborately decorated with creativity and love, can't help but lighten your heart. Proceeds go to help hospital programs and equipment.
For details, see www.mailtribune.com/festivaloftrees.
The streets of historic Jacksonville explode in color during its annual tribute to its Chinese heritage. There's a parade with a dragon team and lion dancers, music using Chinese instruments and all kinds of workshops and activities with Chinese themes.
For details closer to the event, see www.jacksonvilleoregon.org.