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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mother's Garden

Mother’s Garden

Art in Bloom presents a bouquet of activities

Story by Mary Ann Bullard

Like a garden filled with myriad colorful and fragrant posies, Medford's 14th annual springtime festival will blossom Mother's Day weekend. Art in Bloom, held on the streets near Vogel Plaza May 10 and 11, is all about families, art, entertainment and education.

The phrase Art in Bloom is usually used to describe exhibits held in art museums with corresponding flower arrangements. The original exhibit was held in Boston in the 1970s, with other institutions and universities jumping on board to hold their own events. That seedling idea bloomed in Medford into an overflowing bouquet of activities, sights and sounds set into the arms of mothers and families. 

"I love planning Art in Bloom. I love bringing the community together for this fun event, where everyone of all ages can come down to Medford and see the activities on the bustling streets," says Amy Rose, event coordinator. 

Working for years alongside her mother, the original event coordinator, was great experience for Rose. They gained insight and know-how while working with the Jackson County Fairgrounds. Rose has been fulfilling coordinating duties for the past three years. "The event focuses on Mother's Day and bringing families in with their moms," Rose emphasizes. 

Rose, mother of two says, "There really is something for everyone. We have the kid's area, shopping and a hands-on interactive animal exhibit presented by Nature Joe, who lets the kids hold turtles, snakes, bunnies and all kinds of animals." 

"I like the local entertainment. We have two stages where local bands and dance groups perform. America's Best Kids come every year and show us their gymnastics, dance and karate. Also Dance Arts Academy participates showing children what there is to do in this valley. We also have a great children's area where they can make and take home gifts for mom."

Attendance averages between 15,000 and 20,000, bringing in vendors and visitors from all over Oregon and the West Coast. "Our vendors come from Bend, Portland, Roseburg, just all over," Rose beams. "We are really different in that we are a juried art festival. That means we have strict rules and all products have to be juried in. The look is quite different. Your booth has to be clean, pristine and beautiful to be Art in Bloom. That's how we draw in these quality vendors, which set us apart. We get a lot of upscale clientele and out-of-towners."

A large horticulture area includes 30 booths showcasing tomato plants, hanging baskets and lavender plants. Eight food vendors provide tasty hand-dipped chocolate bars, shaved ice, sweet fudge and old time candy. A hot dog stand serves the kids, and kids at heart

The Rogue Valley German band provides foot-stomping oompah-pah music. Rose says she enjoys seeing the familiar faces that come every year and those who have made it a tradition to support the festival. 

Art in Bloom is a non-profit organization that provides ongoing community and financial support for garden beautification and local art programs. It has funded art projects in Rogue Valley high schools, a great help in austere times where tight school budgets are forced to cut programs like art. 

"You will want to make a day of it, there is so much to do," Rose smiles. “Everybody can enjoy Art in Bloom. Once you come, it will become a tradition. I promise that!" 

Art in Bloom

May 10 and 11

Vogel Plaza, Medford

www.art-in-bloom.com

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