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A fun weekend 'en plein air'

Come spring, artists, gardeners and foodies emerge from studios, greenhouses and kitchens to display and sell a winter's worth of creative work at Medford's annual street fair.

The 12th annual Art in Bloom festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 12, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 13, in downtown Medford.

The two-day spring spectacular features the usual suspects — art and flowers — as well as live music, a wine tent, kids' zone, food, commercial vendors and fashion shows. Proceeds from the event, as well as a percentage of vendor revenues, will benefit art education in Medford schools.

"Our goal is to raise awareness of all types of art from clothing to graffiti art and youth art," says Amy Rose, event coordinator. "Even if you're not interested in buying an expensive painting, there's art that will fit in your budget and style."

More than 100 artists and horticulturists will showcase their handiwork — jewelry, paintings, photography, fountains, candles, bonsai trees, carnivorous plants, vegetable starts and more — in individual booths along Central Avenue, Main and Bartlett streets and in Vogel Plaza.

Handmade birdhouses by Central Medford High School students and graffiti art and other works by students from area middle and high schools also will be on display.

Grants Pass artist Jamie Byrne will create a Mother's Day-themed chalk masterpiece on an 8-by-8-foot section of Central Avenue. For $5, kids can get chalk and a 2-by-2-foot plot of black asphalt for their own street art, or they can make crafts for moms in the nearby art tent.

A wine tent with more than 15 wine, beer and artisan-food vendors will be in Theater Alley and open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Entrance is free, but to sample food, visitors must purchase a commemorative glass and four taste tickets for $10.

If you're thirsty and not yet 21 years old, check out "Lemonade Lane" in Middleford Alley, where a few cents will buy you a cool glass of watermelon, raspberry or pink lemonade made by young entrepreneurs.

New this year, there will be an all-ages dance and barbecue from 5 to 9 p.m. near the Bartlett Stage in the PremierWest parking lot. Local bands Bustin' Out, The Syndicate and Mercy with Lynda Morrison will perform, and there will be a host of concessions, including wraps, hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood, hand-dipped ice cream, snow cones and a beer garden.

Sunday will bring two fashion shows: one from 12:30 to 1:15 p.m., featuring spring consignment items from My Daughter's Closet, and a second from 3 to 4 p.m., featuring a new line of hand-painted clothes by Spirit House and outfits from Urban Minx. The latter show will feature local dancers among the models.

Rogue Gallery & Art Center will open "Eugene Bennett: A Life in Art," Friday, May 11. The retrospective exhibit includes more than 70 paintings, collages, sculptures, assemblages, ceramics and photographs from the artist's personal collection.

Over the weekend, festival goers are invited to vote for their favorite Bennett work and make a collage, using the late artist's own materials, for inclusion in a community mural for exhibition later this year. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, see www.art-in-bloom.com or call 541-621-0239.

People browse the vendor booths at the 11th annual Art in Bloom celebration in downtown Medford. - Photo by Jamie Lusch