Over this past weekend, The Siskiyou had the pleasure of attending Medford’s Heart of the Rogue festival in Pear Blossom Park. This two-day event took place on Friday the 14th from 4pm to 8pm, and Saturday the 15th from 11am to 4pm. Throughout these two days, vendors from across the Rogue Valley came together to offer goods such as food, alcohol, clothing, paintings, holistic products, and many other handmade artisan crafts. Attendees wandered past booths and tents as live music played on the Pear Blossom lawn. Along with offering an enjoyable festival for locals, Heart of the Rogue was also a celebratory reception for participants of “Bikes and Brews” as well as the “Rogue Marathon.” The weather permitted a beautiful sunny day, perfect for cheese tasting, face painting, and enjoying the climate of downtown Medford.
The art scene at Heart of the Rogue was an undeniably important aspect of this festival. Craftsmans of every medium offered their creations, as well as live demonstrations of their art. Belinda Moffit of Belinda Moffit Art is a fine artist based in Oregon. At Heart of the Rogue, she did a live painting demonstration for consumers, displaying her array of skills and attention to detail. Mountain Home Arts, a jewelry business by Jesse Fence showcased a beautiful variety of Native American jewelry ranging from beaded earrings to necklace pendants. Alongside these artists were many other jewelry makers, pottery sellers, and illustrators! Also located at the festival was Wildly Brave Creations, a small custom clothing business based mainly online. At their booth, there was the option of choosing a shirt of a specific size and color, and any of their custom prints. On site, they screen-print the design of choice onto the shirt, and people are able to buy it within five to ten minutes! The Siskiyou was able to walk away with an incredibly unique and personable Halloween sweater for a great price.
Food also played a key role in the form of festival booths and a long row of delicious food trucks. Rogue Creamery is a handmade cheese shop that has been around since 1933. Their storefront is located in Central Point, Oregon, but they brought many unique options to the tasting table for Heart of the Rogue. Civilians had the opportunity to try a variety of organic, handmade cheeses and purchase them right then and there! The festival also had decadent options for those with a vicious sweet tooth. Paulazzo Pasticceria is a gluten-free, dairy-free and cane sugar-free bakery sourced in Jacksonville, Oregon. Their motto is to combine divine desserts with health consciousness, and they accomplish that with their artisan cakes and cupcakes. Alongside these lovely small businesses was a haven of food trucks featuring hot classics like barbeque ribs and cold treats like shaved ice, perfect for both adults and children.
Lastly, Heart of the Rogue’s atmosphere would not have been the same without the accompaniment of live music. Bands performed just under the Greyhound sign, on the beautiful Pear Blossom lawn stage. Listeners had the option of sitting on the lawn, observing from the adjacent Wine Country Lane (an aspect of the event that The Siskiyou was not quite old enough to review), or enjoying from a distance as they wandered past exhibitors. The lineup of bands included Danielle Kelly Soul, a female led, 50’s performing band based out of the Southern Oregon music scene. As well as Rogue Suspects, an Ashland favorite composed of actors, dancers and musicians. The Brother’s Reed is a regionally popular folk band known to tour extensively around the US. And lastly, Fogline, described as Southern Oregon’s authentic and genuine country band.
Heart of the Rogue was a successful compilation of the Rogue Valley’s generational culture, beauty and artistry. It was an incredible time being immersed in the staples of the region and seeing creators and locals come together for a celebration of what Southern Oregon has to offer.