Community Gems: Pears and Recreation

What is Medford most known for?

Though you may get a variety of answers, the majority of responders will probably tell you: pears. Medford is famous for its pear industry, and by default, the Pear Blossom Festival.  Since 1954, the Pear Blossom Festival has meant a time of celebration for the community of Medford. With street vendors, pageant, runs, and of course, the Pear Blossom Parade, Medford usually draws around 25,000-30,000 enthusiasts along the city streets.

Orchards in Bloom

Harry and David, the company responsible for the successful pear industry, is still one of the major sponsors of the Pear Blossom Festival. In the past, the Pear Blossom Festival has had legendary grand marshals such as President John F. Kennedy, runner Frank Shorter, Governor Robert Holmes, and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy, who said that the Pear Blossom Festival was the “only time he ever appeared in public as Spock.” Aside from the aforementioned activities, the Pear Blossom Festival also offers the Smudge Pot Stroll (a tasting and touring extravaganza), the Pear A Fare (celebrating local foods and drinks), and a golf tournament. Recently, cornhole has been added to the line-up as well. Even babies can get involved in contests and junior royalty pageants.

Aside from the Pear Blossom Festival—which is by far the largest annual event in the city of Medford—Art in Bloom and the Medford Cruise are fun family events over Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day weekends (respectively). Each Thursday is also the Rogue Valley Farmers’ Market in Hawthorne Park, and in 2019, ‘Dancing and Dining in the Streets’ came to Medford on frequent Friday nights throughout the spring, summer, and early fall, providing evenings of music, food, and fun.

In addition, Prescott Park (best known for featuring Roxy Ann’s Peak—one of the most scenic overlooks in the Rogue Valley), has been providing even more recreational opportunities the past few years. One of the city of Medford’s initiatives is to create more mountain-biking trails for the community to enjoy. Since the start of the project, several miles of trails have already been added. “We want to encourage outdoor recreation,” said Kristina Johnsen, the community relations coordinator for the city of Medford. “Prescott Park could be a destination for mountain biking.” And of course, even if you’re not a mountain-biker, the 1740-acre park is still an ideal location for a picnic or a hiking trip.

Down the hill from Prescott Park, Medford is also home to over fifteen other community parks, many with basketball, volleyball, or tennis courts. Recently, the Bear Creek Park completed the impressive renovation of the Olsrud Family Community Playground—an effort that was made possible by the time and donations from eleven thousand volunteers. That says something about the generosity of the community.

Did you know that Medford’s U.S. Cellular Community Park (USCCP) is the “largest municipal installation of FieldTurf in the United States, with nearly 1.5 million square-feet of synthetic grass?” Since 2008, when the fields opened, they have been the site of over 47,000 games. In the past year alone, nearly eleven million dollars in Medford’s economy can be tied directly to the sports park. Owned and operated by the city of Medford, these fifteen sports fields have certainly changed the ballgame for local athletes in baseball, softball, soccer, and football.

All this means that whether enjoying some R&R at one of Medford’s parks, or preparing to visit the Pear Blossom Festival in the upcoming weeks, Medford has the capacity to entertain the whole family all year round.

 

Additional Sources:

City of Medford (2021). Prescott Park/Roxy Ann Peak. Website: https://www.ci.medford.or.us/Page.asp?NavID=1197

Mail Tribune Staff (2011). Pear Blossom Parade lives long in Spock’s brain. Mail Tribune. Website: https://mailtribune.com/archive/pear-blossom-parade-lives-long-in-spock-s-brain

Medford Parks and Recreation (2019). About U.S. Cellular Community Park. Website: http://www.sportsmedford.com/content/18624/About-USCCP

Pear Blossom Parade and Festival (2021). Website: http://pearblossomparade.org/

 

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