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Annual downtown festival showcases art, music and flowers

Art and flowers will take over downtown Medford for the annual Art in Bloom festival — a staple of Mother's Day weekend.

The 16th annual festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 7, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 8, in the blocks surrounding Vogel Plaza next to the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave.

"There's something for everyone and for all ages," says Amy Rose, the festival's event coordinator. "It's a great way to celebrate moms on their special day. It's become a tradition to bring moms there and celebrate as a whole family."

Art in Bloom has a wealth of activities for women, men and kids, she notes.

About 90 artists, artisans and horticulturists will showcase artwork, jewelry, garden decor, paintings, photographs and art demonstrations along Main, Central and Bartlett streets. Calligraphy, spinning, weaving and glass-blowing displays continue throughout the weekend on Vogel Plaza and along Theater Alley.

To keep the kids entertained, Nature Joe will show his large collection of reptiles and animals. Kids can see lizards, snakes, a hedgehog and other creatures in the parking lot between the Craterian Theater and Rogue Gallery & Art Center, 40 S. Bartlett St.

On Central Avenue near US Bank downtown, Hope Ranch members will help kids make hand-crafted gifts and plant a flower for mom for her special day. Kids can visit a petting zoo with ducklings, goats and a pony that they can brush.

Animal lovers can feel like they are walking through a jungle at The Walk on the Wild Side Animal Education Exhibit. Exotic animals such as a serval, a Canadian lynx, a binturong bear and a baby wallaby will be shown in the parking lot between the Craterian Theater and the Rogue Gallery.

"People can get up close and personal with the animals," Rose says. "The main goal of the exhibit is to educate people about these animals."

Annie the Clown will present Fun Town with a jump house, face painting and an interactive puppet theater near the intersection of Central Avenue and Seventh Street.

Ashland-based ScienceWorks Hands-on Museum will bring interactive science exhibits for curious minds. The exhibits will be set up on Central Avenue outside Middleford Yarn & Stitchery Shoppe, 30 N. Central Ave.

Event maps with the entertainment lineup for the weekend are available at an information booth on Vogel Plaza.

On Saturday, there will be live music from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Bartlett Stage in the parking lot of Banner Bank, 300 E. Main St. Look for Ann & Friends, Rogue Valley German Band, Brian Swan Band, Brenna Beatty, Hannah Sarganis and Alex Goldman from Use Your Gift Foundation and dancers from Dance Arts Academy.

Live music on the Bartlett Stage starts at 11 a.m. Sunday. Hear Blue Lightning, Encore Five, David Pinsky & Phil Newton and Blowin' Smoke.

A demonstration area on Central Avenue near Central Art Supply, 101 N. Central Ave., showcases dancers and gymnasts from Turning Point Dance and America's Best Kids, along with music by Scenic Morning Guitars and the Beau Berry Band from 10:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday, Chapter II band performs at 11 a.m. and Fogline performs at 1:30 p.m.

Dance performances will be presented along Central Avenue. From 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, look for dancers from Ballet Folklorico Ritmo Alegre, Panache Dance Studio and Miss Diana's School of Ballet. Dancers from Evergreen Ballroom will perform at 1 and 3 p.m. Sunday.

Ladies Biz Lane on Main Street near Central Avenue features women who run businesses from their homes in order to be with their children. Festival participants are invited to sample pampering products from the vendors, which includes Jamberry, Thirty-One, Advocare, Younique, Arbonne, Dove Chocolates, Scentsy and more.

Near Ladies Biz Lane, those 21 and older can visit the Pop Up Bar tent for food, music and special Mother's Day drinks, including mimosas.

"It provides a great atmosphere and a place to sit with friends and have a drink," Rose says.

Near Central Art Supply, Life Track members will create graffiti art on panels while audiences watch. The downtown Life Track Art Gallery and Youth Center helps at-risk youths express themselves creatively, hang out and talk about issues they face.

Scattered throughout the Art in Bloom festival, kid entrepreneurs will operate lemonade stands and sell drinks made with special recipes for $1 per taste.

Over the years, Art in Bloom has supported art education, student awards and art projects at schools throughout the Rogue Valley. Revenue generated from this year’s festival will help fund future Art in Bloom events and help support local youth art education.

For more information, see www.art-in-bloom.com.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-776-4486 or valdous@mailtribune.com. Follow her at www.twitter.com/VickieAldous.

Kids enjoyed a petting zoo with chicks and ducks at a past Art in Bloom Festival in downtown Medford. Mail Tribune / File photo