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The Taste of History

Medford has been around since 1883, when the town plat was drawn up, and Medfordites are proud of their history. That's why for the fifth year the people who live and work in Medford will celebrate The Taste of History.

The wine walk, historical tour and day of historical commemoration will take place starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 13.

Event organizers have been busy getting ready for the big day that is designed to bring people to downtown Medford and see its historical buildings.

The event began as a walking tour, to give people a look at the old buildings, which have to be open to the public once a year to remain on Oregon's historic register.

Medford had plenty of historical buildings but no wine walk, so the idea came about to combine the two, and have people go inside the historical buildings and enjoy some food and wine. Art and music were added over the years.

The first year there were nine tour stops according to event president Nancy Passey. This year there will be 23. "One thing that is really awesome," Passey said, "is that there will be 30 or more big easels withe big 'then and now' photos."

The photos will be placed around town so that visitors can see what the site used to look like, then look up and see what it looks like today. "We're bringing the history alive, keeping it going."

Visitors may choose to go at their own pace on a self-guided tour of downtown with the provided maps and helpful printed information, Or they may chose to take one of the several guided tours led by Medford historical experts George Kramer (focusing on architectural heritage) and Ben Truwe (focusing on the downtown's colorful past).

The guided tours will be at 10 and 11:30 a.m. starting in Vogel Plaza.

A Wine Tour will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. for sampling and savoring the very best in local and regional wines, award-winning cheeses, and many other tasty foods and beverages from local providers.

Tickets are $25 and can be reserved in advance online or $30 on the day of the event. The ticket price includes a commemorative wine glass, an event book and a "goodies bag" filled with coupons and gifts from local businesses.

Eighteen wineries will be represented along with several breweries and coffee roasters. All will be paired with food from area restaurants. A trolley from Shady Cove will take people to one of four stops in the tour route.

Nine artists will be drawing historical buildings while the public watches. Afterward, the drawings will be sold at a silent auction from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Old Towne Saloon in the back alley behind the historic Goldy Building. There will be a barbecue and music at the saloon for $12. Townspeople will be dressed as saloon girls and cowboys.

Twenty musicians, including Joe Diamond, Lyle Ames, Ted Killian and Jon Galfano, will provide live entertainment throughout the day. In addition there will be craft demonstrations and art exhibits.

The Heart of Medford Association representing downtown merchants will be celebrating with a Historic Daze" sidewalk sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and window decorations showcasing displays of long ago.

"It's not like a parade," Passey said," It's for people who want to walk around and experience the day."

New this year, Passey said, will be the Southern Oregon Antique and Collectibles Club. Club members will have displays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. featuring up to 19 antique dealers and collectors.

What if it rains?

"It never rains on 'The Taste of History,' " Passey said. "If it does, we're going to make it work."

See thetasteofhistory.com or call 779-5455.

Local artist Karen Cain Smith created this painting for the 2009 Taste of History poster.