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Cheese and so much more

Now in its 15th year, the Oregon Cheese Festival is a farmer’s market-style event celebrating cheese and everything that goes with it.

It has grown into one of the largest cheese-themed festivals in the country, drawing artisan cheesemakers, vintners, brewers and specialty food producers to showcase their products in Central Point.

Festivalgoers can sample and purchase local artisan cheese, specialty foods, beer, wine and cider from over 100 vendors.

This year’s event will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, in an expanded location stretching from Rogue Creamery at 311 N. Front St. to the newly refurbished CraterWorks MakerSpace at 419 Front St.

Thousands of visitors will sample artisan cheeses from across the state and beyond, including Face Rock Creamery, Beehive Cheese Co., Ochoa’s Queseria (Don Froylan Mexican Cheese) and many others.

They can also sample specialty foods such as charcuterie, jams and jellies, olive oil, honey, chocolate, breads and crackers, pickled vegetables, nuts, and more. To wash it all down, more than 30 craft wine, beer, cider and spirits producers will be pouring libations for the crowd.

For a full list of vendors, see the website at oregoncheesefestival.com.

New in 2019, attendees will find free parking at Crater High School, just one block north of the festival. An FFA-sponsored student fair featuring students and the animals they have raised, along with a student-led plant sale, will also take place adjacent to the parking area during festival hours.

Tickets purchased in advance are $15 and include tastings and demonstrations; day-of ticket purchases are $20. Tickets are available for sale online, along with an optional $10 adult beverage tasting add-on that includes a commemorative tasting glass. Kids 12 and under can taste nonalcoholic beverages for free. Early VIP entry (10:30 a.m.) is an additional $15 and includes a goodie bag.

Pairings of cheese and beer are one of the features of the annual Oregon Cheese Festival. Photo by Steven Addington