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Amy's Kitchen is Pear Blossom grand marshal

Coordinators of the 62nd annual Pear Blossom Festival are chomping at the bit to start signing up vendors, parade entrants and runners for the city's signature springtime event.

This year's grand marshal won't be a person, but a company — Amy's Kitchen, Pear Blossom Festival President Darcey Mann-Self announced this week.

Amy's Kitchen chose this year's theme, "Rooted in the Rogue Valley," said Mann-Self, "to celebrate all the inventions, innovations, products and services built and grown in the Rogue Valley."

Amy's Kitchen plans a parade float depicting an organic food stand, with all the organic vegetables and fruits Amy’s uses in its products, Mann-Self said.

This year's Pear-a-Fare event will feature more than 40 wineries, breweries and artisan food vendors under its big, white tent downtown, with "adult only" time after 6 p.m. Friday. Admission will cost $5 (kids 5 and younger get in free), which includes five taste tickets. Wine and beer "tastes" are available with the purchase of a glass.

The Smudgepot Stroll is on the calendar again this year, with 15 downtown restaurants offering tastes of wine and appetizers.

A new feature this year will be a scavenger hunt that will give people a chance to search for clues at five locations in the Rogue Valley, with awards given at a final location. Mann-Self said the scavenger hunt would be a fun way to include more people in Pear Blossom festivities.

"It's a brand-new event we came up with to get the public involved in another facet of the Pear Blossom. We have tried to find something new and exciting every couple of years to add so that more people will be able to get involved," she said.

"We'll have clues for people to find and prizes at the end. It's a neat way to involve even more of the community than we already have."

Gene Pelham, president of Rogue Federal Credit Union, the festival's main sponsor, said he was thrilled to see the local event growing and thriving well into its seventh decade.

Pelham said he could hardly imagine welcoming springtime in the Rogue Valley without the festival.

"Rogue Credit Union is thrilled to be a part of the Pear Blossom Festival. I remember the excitement of walking in my first Pear Blossom Parade as a young Cub Scout, and I treasure the opportunity to share that experience with my grandchildren," he said.

For details on the Pear Blossom Festival, including scavenger hunt details, pageant entry deadlines and parade float and race applications, call 541-840-8007, email pearblossom@pearblossomparade.org or see www.pearblossomparade.org

For details on the annual Pear Blossom Baby Contest, see the Rogue Valley Soroptimist website at soroptimistrv.org or call 541-292-6212.

Dates for this year's Pear Blossom events are:

  • March 28: Pear Blossom Junior Royalty Coronation & Scholarship Pageant (at North Medford High School)
  • April 4: Pear Blossom Baby Contest (at Rogue Valley Mall)
  • April 10: Smudge Pot Stroll
  • April 10-11: Pear-a-Fare
  • April 11: Pear Blossom Run and Parade

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. Email her at buffyp76@yahoo.com.