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Holiday events abound

If it hasn't quite hit you yet that the holiday season is in full swing, consider this: There are more than two dozen events planned throughout the valley today and Sunday alone.

From pet photos with Santa to concerts in Jacksonville, plays in Ashland and the Providence Festival of Trees in Medford, there's so much to do this weekend you might as well face it: Christmas cards are just going to have to wait.

Mary Pat Parker, public relations and marketing director at the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, says she doesn't see the myriad activities in towns all over the valley as competition.

"Each community's celebration is unique in its own right," she says. "They all have their own charm. ... All the communities individually make up a very special valley."

Terri Gieg, chairwoman of Jacksonville's Victorian Christmas, which kicked off Friday and continues for three weekends with carolers, wagon rides, concerts and other events, says people come to Jacksonville for a little bit of yesteryear.

"It's just a fun time," she says. "I think all the things that go on make people smile and relax."

Today you can take the kids to Southern Oregon University's Holiday Kiddie Carnival (11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cascade Dining Room), stop to see Santa Claus at The Farm (1 to 5 p.m., 51 S. Stage Road), then leave the kids at home to see Marc Cohn in concert (7 p.m., VIBES Main 1) or attend Jacksonville's Victorian Christmas Ball (7 p.m., U.S. Hotel).

Tomorrow, you can take in the Providence Festival of Trees (9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Medford Armory), get your pet photographed with Santa (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at PetSmart), see "Christmas with the Trail Band" (3 p.m. at the Craterian), or all three if you've got the energy.

Next Saturday, you'll have to choose between North Medford High School's Renaissance Dinner or "Christmas in Narnia" at Medford's First Church of the Nazarene. If neither ring your bell, you can try Eagle Point's tree lighting and holiday celebration in Bob Moore Park at 7 p.m.

The events continue throughout the month of December, so you'll have to plan your time carefully. For a complete schedule, see Friday's Tempo or go to www.mailtribune.com/calendar online.

Cathy Noah is city editor of the Mail Tribune. Reach her at 776-4473.