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Ashland, Oregon has several traditional special events such as Santa's Parade and a fun-filled 4th of July celebration. Other events, such as the long standing Oregon Shakespeare Festival are unique to the area. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a Tony Award-winning festival that is among the oldest and largest professional non-profit theaters in the United States. The festival has a season that stretches from February to October and attracts more than 100,000 visitors to the city of Ashland each year. Shakespeare and non-Shakespearean plays are presented in Ashland's outdoor Elizabethan Theater, as well as the Angus Bowmer Theatre and The New Theater. Special discounts for the season are available for students and adult groups of over fifteen.

Other special events in Ashland include:

First Friday - The Ashland Gallery Association hosts an art walk on the “First Friday” of each month. Patrons can enjoy browsing Ashland's art galleries in the Historical Downtown and Railroad Districts. The art walk usually includes music and refreshments, and gives everyone an opportunity to meet Ashland's many talented artists.

A Taste of Ashland – This is an annual wine, food and art festival sponsored by the Ashland Gallery Association, usually held in April. Over fifteen art galleries throughout Ashland team up with regional restaurants and wineries for a “sensory experience.”

Ashland Independent Film Festival – An annual spring tradition in Ashland where movie buffs and filmmakers gather at the Varsity Theatre in historic downtown Ashland. Over 80 documentaries, features, shorts and student films are shown on five screens at the beautiful art deco theater.

4th of July Celebration – A tradition for over 100 years. Ashalnd Independence Day celebration begins with a run, followed by a parade, food, entertainment and other activities in Lithia Park that concludes with a spectacular fireworks display.

Oregon Chocolate Festival – One of Ashland's newest special events, usually held in March. Chocolate lovers of all ages will enjoy this one of a kind event held at Ashland Springs Hotel in downtown Ashland. Taste an array of goodies created by more than 15 Oregon chocolatiers, including truffles, chocolate bars, chocolate-covered pears, hazelnuts, berries, chocolate biscotti and fudge. The festival also offers chocolate and wine pairing events at local wineries.

The Big Cheese Festival – Held at Harry & David's in Medford. This special event features the “world's best cheeses” paired with some of the finest wines and Harry & David specialties.

The Festival of Light – Presented by the Ashland Chamber of Commerce each year beginning the day after Thanksgiving. Enjoy entertainment on the Plaza, Santa's Parade and the “Grand Illumination” when Santa and Mrs. Claus officially turn on over one million lights in downtown Ashland. Carolers stroll throughout downtown, children can have their photo taken with Santa, listen to storytelling with Mrs. Claus or attend a Kids Candy Cane Workshop. Everyone will be in awe of the beautifully decorated storefront windows as they shop, dine or attend a festive music or theater preformance.


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