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Summer music, film series schedules announced

Portland's Cherry Poppin' Daddies are among the headliners coming to the free State Farm Summer Concert Series in Medford's Bear Creek, and free summer films in the park will run the gamut from vengeful robots to dueling wizards to a favorite superhero.

Announced by Medford Parks and Recreation Thursday, the summer movie season will kick off June 19 with Sandra Bullock in 2009's PG-rated "The Blind Side." The Daddies will get the free concert series going June 23.

"It's kind of a big deal," said Parks and Rec's Quinna Kirkland of the show by the Portland-based band whose 1998 album "Zoot Suit Riot" went double platinum. "It's the first time we've had a band like that."

Eight movies are planned, with screenings running through Aug. 21, concluding with "Spider-Man" (PG) from 2002. All are rated PG or PG-13. The eight-show concert season will wrap up Aug. 18 with pianist John Nilsen.

Concerts will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesdays and run until about 9. Movies will start at dusk on Saturday nights. Local and regional bands are among the performers. The country band One Horse Shy (Aug. 4) is from Ashland, rockers the Nautics (June 30) are from Corvallis, and pianist and Oregonian John Nilsen (Aug. 18) is one of the best-selling regional artists.

Pre-movie activities for the younger set will begin at 7 p.m. on film nights. Kids — and their adults — are invited to dress up for these theme events.

"It'd be cool if the adults got in on dressing up, too," Kirkland said.

All shows will be held in the amphitheater in Bear Creek Park. Attendance can vary widely. About 200 people showed up for last year's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," while an est4imated 1,500 crowded into the park for "Iron Man."

"Action flicks do really well," Kirkland said. "We considered "The Dark Knight, but it was so dark we decided against it."

Parks and Rec will bring its Mobile Recreation Unit to the park on movie nights. It's essentially a trailer with arts and crafts for kids.

Activities will be geared to the night's films. For example, "The Blind Side" will be Football Jersey Night and feature a punt, pass and kick contest.

Rogue Federal Credit Union is sponsoring the movies, and State Farm the concerts.

Bill Varble is a freelance writer living in Medford. Reach him at varble.bill@gmail.com.