Forecast won't dampen Winter Light Festival

Event will be held despite a forecast for more rain, says Medford parks official

More rain probably will fall in the Rogue Valley this Saturday, but as far as Medford Parks and Recreation's Winter Light Festival is concerned, the show must go on.

"We'll do the event whether it's for three people or 3,000 people," said Rich Rosenthal, recreation superintendent.

That means the children's holiday parade, marshmallow roast, photos with Santa Claus, live music and activities are still a go. Some minor adjustments have been made, however. The candy-cane hunt for children up to the age of 12, which kicks off the evening at Hawthorne Park, is up in the air, but candy canes will be distributed to attending children in some fashion. The marshmallow roast may be held under the picnic shelter.

"We may have to make some adjustments on where (the activities) are actually conducted in the park," Rosenthal said.

Benny the Beaver, Oregon State University's mascot, will not show up due to a scheduling conflict. Puddles the Duck, the University of Oregon mascot, still will be in attendance.

The children's holiday parade will start at 5 p.m. Main Street will be closed from Hawthorne Park to Central Avenue. Attendees young and old can be part of the marching festivities, which will end at Vogel Plaza near the Craterian Theater.

The tree-lighting ceremony should get under way by 5:30 p.m., Parks and Recreation officials said. (Correction: See below) Until then, children can have their pictures taken with Puddles. Santa also will take a brief time out from his busy schedule to make an appearance. Live music, vendor booths and free hot chocolate also will be available.

As of 11 a.m. Thursday, officials at the National Weather Service were calling for up to a quarter-inch of new rain on Saturday, following a Thursday downpour that necessitated a flood watch for Jackson County. Saturday's temperatures are expected to range from a high of 53 degrees to a low of 46 degrees, according to forecasters.

The time of the tree-lighting ceremony has been corrected in this version.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or by email at rpfeil@mailtribune.com.


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