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MailTribune.com
  • Tinsel Town

    Christmas season is in full bloom at the Medford Armory
  • Southern Oregon's most fetching forest is tucked away inside the Medford Armory, where dozens of ornamental trees, fake and true, have been decorated by artistically bright minds from around the region.
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    • If you go
      What: Providence Festival of Trees
      When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today
      Where: Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway
      Cost: $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors
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      If you go
      What: Providence Festival of Trees

      When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today

      Where: Medford Armory, 1701 S. Pacific Highway

      Cost: $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors
  • Southern Oregon's most fetching forest is tucked away inside the Medford Armory, where dozens of ornamental trees, fake and true, have been decorated by artistically bright minds from around the region.
    The final chance to see this ephemeral wonderland, also known as the 22nd annual Providence Festival of Trees, is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, at 1701 S. Pacific Highway.
    Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for children and seniors, and it's a pretty good time, according to 5-year-old Alizabeth Rodgers, of Medford, who was wearing black snow boots and a pair of white teddy-bear earmuffs to stay warm.
    "Everyone, almost, has their boots on," she said, blushing at a compliment made about her earmuffs.
    Alizabeth was also holding a white, super-soft teddy bear.
    This year's event includes a Teddy Bear Hospital — designed to help children get over anxieties about going in for medical care. Youngsters like Alizabeth brought in their teddy bears for checkups.
    Bandages are provided for the bears after a radiological image of a broken heart or broken bone are printed out, and half of the kids stuck the pretty bandages on themselves.
    According to Alizabeth, the best parts of the holiday season are the snow, presents, pretty trees and Santa Claus, whose lap is available for children seeking a photo op and gift wishes.
    Alizabeth's brother, 7-year-old Ethyn Rodgers, asked Santa for a sleigh ride. "Wish for it," Santa told Ethyn.
    The kids' grandpa, John Rodgers, 52, of Medford, brought his grandkids to their first Festival of Trees because it sounded like a good time, he said.
    "It's a lot of fun. ... This is the best time of the year," said the Rodgers' family friend, Sandra McKay, 43, of Medford.
    The festival boasts 38 large Christmas trees and dozens of table-top trees and wreaths decorated by local professionals and others. They were auctioned off a few days ago, but attendees are allowed to vote on their favorites at the armory.
    During the past 21 years, the festival has raised more than $6.4 million to benefit a variety of technology purchases and clinical programs at Providence Medford Medical Center, and this year's goal is to add $400,000 to that figure, said Katie Shepard, executive director at Providence Community Health Foundation of Medford.
    Attendance has been a little light this year due to the weather, Shepard said, but "we're hopeful we'll reach that goal."
    The festival includes a holiday store that offers collectible Santas, ornaments, toys, children's books and other festive presents, and $3,000 in gifts are being raffled away.
    Concerning the trees, the "Christmas Hooters" tree designed by The Big House, Home Décor and More, won gold honors in the Children's Choice, Best of Show and Most Original categories. It is styled like a giant white owl with a pine cone for a beak.
    The "One in a Minion Christmas" tree, styled after the "Monsters Inc." movie minions, was a crowd pleaser, as was the "Christmas in Legoland" tree.
    Angela Holder, 47, of Medford, dropped her vote ticket in a small, white, traditionally decorated Christmas tree.
    "I like the traditional Christmas theme ... that's how mine is at home," she said. "There are some pretty cool ideas here though. ... There is a lot of imagination that goes into some of these trees."
    Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4471 or samuelcwheeler@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwriter_swhlr.
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