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Third time's a tradition for the Winter Lights Festival at the Commons

Three years ago Medford Parks and Recreation's annual Winter Lights Festival moved to its new home at Pear Blossom Park at the Commons.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, the holiday fun will run from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Commons, with prizes for kids, entertainment traditional and new for all ages and, of course, lights, lights and more lights.

"We estimate there will be approximately 14,000 LEDs adorning the permanent trees at Pear Blossom Park for the Winter Lights event," said Rich Rosenthal with Medford Parks and Recreation.

The city's holiday tree is a Norway spruce, and it is flanked by two Nordmann fir trees and one Engelmann spruce, which will all light up along Sixth and Bartlett streets in front of the Sky Oak Financial building.

Christmas will come early for a couple of lucky children ages 12 and younger who can win new bikes by participating in a coloring contest in the Lithia building lobby from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Winners will be announced during the tree-lighting ceremony.

The annual candy-cane hunt for kids starts at 4:30 p.m. in the grassy area of the park, and holiday performances begin just before 5 p.m.

The ABK jazz dance team will perform at 4:50 p.m. At 5:05 p.m. Medford Parks and Recreation will present a "Princess Ballet" program, at 5:20 p.m. choirs from Medford middle schools will perform, and at 5:40 p.m. North Medford High School band will warm up the crowd before the arrival of Jolly 'ol St. Nick.

Santa Claus will light the tree at 5:55 p.m., and then the winners of the coloring contest will be announced. Fusion Dance Academy will close the event with a dance performance at 6:05. All events are free.

People gather for the 2014 Winter Lights Festival at The Commons in downtown Medford. This year's festival, on Saturday, Dec. 5, will be in the same spot from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mail Tribune file photo