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Holiday events, live music & more: Dec. 18

Not since the Middle Ages: Jupiter and Saturn get in line

By Chris Honoré

for the Mail Tribune

Clearly, we have been focused on this exigent and extraordinary year and so it seems counterintuitive to look up to the night sky and try and put into perspective our place and purpose in the universe.

But for a singular moment, we are given an extraordinary opportunity to look toward the heavens and witness an event the likes of which has not occurred since 1226, a time when Genghis Khan rode across Asia and the Renaissance was still generations away.

So on Dec.21, Jupiter and Saturn, the two largest planets in our solar system, now remarkably close together, will appear in the southwestern night sky, just after sunset. They will seem to merge in the darkened sky, absent the sun’s nimbus of light.

Astronomers are calling the event the Great Conjunction. Actually, the orbital alignment of these two planets began at the beginning of this year.

Keep in mind that Jupiter is half a billion miles from Earth and the brighter of the two; Saturn is double that distance, hence, by degrees, will appear dimmer.

Actually, you will not need a telescope or binoculars to witness the Great Conjunction. The naked eye will serve the budding astronomer just fine.

It has been referred to as the Christmas star, though astronomers counsel that this event, coming at the end of a long arduous year is, well, just that and any astrological meaning can be found in another realm.

If you have school-age children hanging out and find yourself in the hunt for a project with extrapolation potential, check out the possibilities. Worth a Google.

Chris Honoré is a columnist for the Ashland Tidings.

HOLIDAY EVENTS

Virtual Hanukkah Celebration: Chabad Jewish Center of Southern Oregon will hold a livestream of the final local menorah lighting ceremony Friday, Dec. 18. Chabad’s website also features all things Hanukkah — the basics, how-to tips, stories, recipes, a children’s scavenger hunt, and more. You can also view the week’s previous menorah lightings, which began on Thursday, Dec. 10. For further details or to register for the scavenger hunt, see chabadofashland.org/chanukah2020 or call 541-482-2778.

Siskiyou Singers Holiday Concert: The local choir, Siskiyou Singers, directed by Mark Reppert, now in its 38th year, presents “Where There Is Love,” a free online concert celebrating the 2020 holiday season. The program, which was posted on the Siskiyou Singers’ website Dec. 11 and will remain up indefinitely, includes “O Magnum Mysterium” by Luis Victoria, “Silent Night,” arranged by John Rutter, “Hanerot Halalu,” “Ubi Caritas” by Maurice Duruflé, and more. For further information or to access the concert, see siskiyousingers.org.

RV Chorale ‘Holiday Faire’: The Rogue Valley Chorale, guided by Artistic Director Michael Morris, presents “Holiday Faire,” a concert celebrating the holiday season, on Southern Oregon PBS. The show, which premiered during the station’s annual fund drive on Nov. 27, will re-air at 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 24. See roguevalleychorale.org for more information.

Magical Christmas Murals: Downtown Grants Pass will sparkle with the fiber-optic dazzle of 20 musical Christmas murals and giant nutcrackers through New Year’s Day. The murals weigh 400 pounds each and include sound systems that play the old-fashioned Christmas music. The murals, created by local artisans, are 12 inches thick, 10 feet tall, 5 feet wide and are wired with miles of fiber-optic cable and thousands of points of lights. A map of mural locations is available in the downtown welcome center, 198 SW 6th St, Grants Pass. For further information, call 541-479-3351.

Jacksonville Victorian Christmas: Jacksonville continues to provide as much Victorian Christmas spirit as possible. On weekends through Dec. 20, visitors can take family pictures with Father Christmas (no charge, but they ask that all those 5 and older wear a face covering and observe social distancing guidelines), and enjoy strolling carolers. Horse-drawn wagon rides will be available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays through Dec. 19, starting at the new City Hall. You will find Father Christmas from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 155 N. Third St., in the Dan McGeorge Gallery. For further information, including wagon ride admission, see jacksonvilleoregon.com/discover/events-festivals/annual-events/victorian-christmas

Ashland Festival of Light: Downtown Ashland is once again all lit up for the holidays. The Ashland Chamber of Commerce has special holiday content planned for its website and also recorded the official switch being flipped to turn on the lights. The chamber has created Rudolph’s Scavenger Hunt for the 2020 Christmas season. Sneaky Rudolph has hidden his deer brothers and sisters all over Ashland, and it’s up to kids and families to find them before Christmas Eve and win prizes. Game details, along with a printable list of clues, will be posted online at ashlandchamber.com/page.asp?navid=1518. Another new event for 2020 is the ShopAshlandOregon.com website, where you can browse through dozens of Ashland specialty shops and do your online holiday shopping locally from the comfort of your home.

Ashland Community Christmas Dinner: All are welcome to attend Ashland Christian Fellowship’s 41st annual free holiday dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Christmas Day, Friday, Dec. 25, at Ashland Christian Fellowship church, 50 W. Hersey St., Ashland. To accommodate COVID-19 requirements, the event will feature a special To-Go “Drive-Thru or Walk-Thru” service. Stop by and pick-up a freshly-prepared buffet-style turkey dinner with all the trimmings, including dessert. For more information, e-mail at Admin@acf.org or call 541-482-8539 between 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Pink Martini: Ring in the new year with the “little orchestra” during its concert “Good Riddance 2020!” at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31. This holiday concert, filmed in front of the 35-foot Christmas tree at Pink Martini’s world headquarters in Portland, include Pink Martini fan favorites alongside holiday classics old and new. The shows feature lead singer China Forbes, with special guest appearances by Storm Large, Ari Shapiro, Edna Vazquez, Jimmie Herrod, Sofi von Trapp and cantor Ida Rae Cahana. The premiere broadcast includes chat room and live discussion with members of Pink Martini. The program will also be available for on-demand viewing to ticket buyers for 48 hours after the broadcast has aired. Tickets for the virtual performance start at $15. For tickets and further information, see ourconcerts.live/pinkmartini/craterian.

LIVE EVENTS

Editor’s note: Because of evolving COVID-19 restrictions in place in Oregon, please call businesses or check their websites to confirm listed events. All Jackson County library branches will offer enhanced front-door service during regular operating hours. In-branch browsing will be unavailable. Limited computer sessions will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Friday, Dec. 18

Adult Cat Adoption: SoHumane is offering name-your-price adoption fees for adult cats through December. Following COVID-19 protocols, SoHumane will offer virtual adoption appointments for cats via Zoom. Appointment times are limited. To take advantage of the special pricing during the event, virtual appointments for an adult cat must be scheduled by Wednesday, Dec. 23. If you are interested in adopting an adult cat, fill out the adoption/pre-screen application form online at forms.gle/9c1HUdaq5ivy7Yr4A and an adoption counselor will contact you by phone. For more information, call 541-779-3215 or see sohumane.org/cats to see all available pets.

Ashland Take & Make: Kids and their families can stop by the Ashland library, 410 Siskiyou Blvd., to pick up a Take-and-Make “Let Your Light Shine” craft kit between noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18-19, or a “Snowman Wreath” kit Saturday through Wednesday, Dec. 19-23. The luminaria activity is part of JCLS’ “Rogue Reads” program. See jcls.com or call 541-774-6980.

Medford Take & Make: Kids and their families can stop by the Medford library, 205 S. Central Ave., to pick up a Take-and-Make “Compose Your Story” craft kit between noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18-19. Each kit contains supplies to compose your own story — a composition book and pencil. Each week the library will provide a writing prompt to spur ideas for stories, diary entries, poems, and more. A virtual open mic event will be held on Feb.22, to give participants a chance to share their writing. See jcls.com or call 541-774-8679.

Teen Holiday Take & Make: The Medford and Ashland Teen Libraries will be providing holiday themed Take & Make Kits for teens. Pick up a kit to make an “Origami Star Garland” between noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18-19, or the kit to make a time capsule, Sunday through Thursday, Dec. 23-26. Stop by either the Medford or Ashland branches to pick up a kit, available while supplies last. A link to video instructions and all necessary materials will also be provided by the library. See jcls.org or call 541-774-8679.

White City Take & Make: Kids and their families can stop by the White City library, 3143 Avenue C., to pick up a Take-and-Make holiday ornament craft kit between noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18-19, or a snowflake craft kit Monday through Wednesday, Dec. 28-30. Kits include all the supplies needed. Worksheets and a suggested reading list will also be included. See jcls.com or call 541-864-8880.

Eagle Point Take & Make: Kids and their families can stop by the Eagle Point library, 239 W. Main St., to pick up a Take-and-Make holiday whirligig craft kit between noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18-19. Kits include all the supplies needed. See jcls.com or call 541-826-3313.

Shady Cove Take & Make: Kids and their families can decorate an Altoids tin with pictures, stickers, gems, and glitter to create a trinket box for small treasures by stopping by the Shady Cove library, 22477 Highway 62 , to pick up a craft kit between 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18. Kits include all the supplies needed. See jcls.com or call 541-878-2270.

Applegate Take & Make: Kids and their families can stop by the Applegate library, 18485 N. Applegate Road, to pick up a Take-and-Make holiday craft kit between 2 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18-19. Kits include all the supplies needed. See jcls.com or call 541-846-7346.

Saturday, Dec. 19

Grants Pass Growers Market: Find local seasonal produce, baked goods, beverages and more from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays in the Commercial Building at the Josephine County Fairgrounds, 1451 Fairgrounds Road, Grants Pass. See growersmarket.org.

Lithia Artisans Market: More than 40 artisans display and sell handcrafted items from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through December along Calle Guanajuato, the pedestrian walkway behind the downtown plaza that runs next to Ashland Creek in Ashland. Safety measures will be in effect, masks are required and social distancing will be enforced. Call 541-301-9811 or see lithiaartisansmarket.com.

Low-cost Pet Vaccines: Make an appointment for your pet to get vaccinated and licensed at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, 5595 S. Pacific Highway, Phoenix, Saturday, Dec. 19. This drive-thru clinic is open to dogs and cats, as well as puppies and kittens. Vaccinations available for dogs are rabies and distemper/parvo booster. Vaccinations available for cats are rabies and distemper/rhino/calici booster. No nail trimming done. Pet owners must call the shelter by Friday, Dec. 18, to schedule. Distemper/parvo vaccinations are $15 each; rabies vaccinations are $10 each. License fees vary based on the dog’s neuter/spay status, and discounts are available for veterans and seniors. This is a cash-only clinic, with the exception of license fees, and all pets must be in good health. Pets that are on antibiotics, in heat or on cortisone products cannot be vaccinated. Masks are required during the appointment. Call 541-774-6654.

Sunday, Dec. 20

David Cahalan: Singer, songwriter and guitarist David Cahalan will perform a variety of Christmas music at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20, at DANCIN Vineyards, 4477 S. Stage Road, Medford. Admission is free. Call 541-245-1133 or see dancin.com.

Tuesday, Dec. 22

Rogue Valley Growers Winter Market: Seasonal produce, crafts, specialty foods, drinks and more are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Feb. 23, at the Phoenix Plaza Civic Center, 220 N. Main St. See rvgrowersmarket.com.

Wednesday, Dec. 23

Gold Hill Take & Make: Kids and their families can stop by the Gold Hill library, 202 Dardanelles St., to pick up a Take-and-Make holiday craft kit to make a magnetic snow globe between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Dec. 23-26. Kits include all the supplies needed. See jcls.com or call 541-855-1994.

Sunday, Dec. 27

Zak Knutson: Zak Knutson of the country band Fogline will perform original country rock and folk music at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 27, at Walkabout Brewing Co., 921 Mason Way, Medford. See walkaboutbrewing.com or call 541-734-4677.

Saturday, Jan. 2

Take & Make: Kids and their families can stop by any JCLS branch to pick up a take-and-make craft kit. Each library branch offers a unique craft for every age group, from preschoolers to adults, and all need supplies are included in the kit. New crafts are offered weekly while supplies last. For details, see jcls.org or call the library branch in your area.

The Great Conjunction of 2020 is coming. See story below.