Holidays start November 18 in Ashland – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News


Grand Illumination, Soundwalk, Elf Extravaganza are the highlights of the season

A switch is flipped and over a million lights turn downtown Ashland into a magical Christmas fairyland. It’s a tradition that will be celebrated again in 2021, marking the start of the local holiday season.

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce Grand Illumination will illuminate Ashland Plaza and downtown with over a million lights on November 18. Courtesy photo.

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce will launch its annual Festival of Light celebration on Thursday, November 18, when Ashland Plaza and the rest of downtown are illuminated by the spectacular Grand Illumination.

“We want people to experience the magic of an Ashland vacation,” said Dana Preston, director of membership and business development for the chamber. “Come explore, shop local, taste the flavors and find your holiday spirit this celebratory season.”

The festival attracts visitors as well as locals, giving Ashland’s restaurants, shops, hotels and guesthouses a boost.

The lights will be on between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. on November 18. Ashland fully dressed for the holidays has garnered national attention in the past. “You can spot our lovely downtown in many Hallmark Channel films throughout the season,” Preston said.

There will be no parade and Santa is still in quarantine, but the chamber has several promotions planned, offering fun and prizes to shoppers. Plus, there will be a brand new attraction, Soundwalk.

“The board of directors made the difficult decision not to go ahead with the Festival of Lights parade or a Grand Illumination public event,” said Preston.

Multiple factors led to the decision, including statewide COVID-19 guidelines, multiple difficult-to-manage entry and exit points, and public safety concerns.

“We absolutely love the Festival of Light parade and are very happy to bring it back when we can,” said Preston.

New for 2021 is a partnership with Rogue World Music for a winter-themed Soundwalk.

“Soundwalk is a curated audio track with music from cultures around the world tied to the November-January season,” Preston said.

It will guide listeners through the festive cityscape of downtown Ashland along a route of visual installations from November 26 to January 6. Participation is free.

Ashland Parks and Recreation will add to the holiday fun by opening the outdoor rink at 95 Winburn Way, across from the Lithia Park Playground.

The Ashland Rotary Centennial Rink will open on November 20. The annual First Frost event on December 18 will feature live music and figure skating performances.

“Due to understaffing, we are planning to do recreational skating Thursday through Sunday from 4 to 9 pm,” said Lonny Flora, city recreation director. “And on Saturday and Sunday, we’ll also have morning hockey skates, starting at 8 am. “

The rink will be used Monday through Wednesday for skating lessons, including youth hockey sessions.

The local Love Ashland campaign will reward people who shop at home. Buyers who spend $ 5 or more on an Ashland business (in person or on their websites) can submit the receipt via text message for a chance to win one of the weekly $ 100 gift certificates awarded on November 28. to December 25.

The campaign begins on November 15. To participate, send the word “SHOP” by SMS to 541-482-3486. See the chamber’s website for more details and campaign rules.

Strong supporters of the ‘do your home shopping’ mantra, chamber members encourage residents to support businesses in their hometowns in order to save time, gas and money. For many people, it is the natural thing to do, to build their own community instead of someone else’s.

Confused About What To Get Someone On Your Christmas List? No problem. The chamber is offering gift certificates in multiple denominations as part of its holiday promotion. They can be purchased online at The office is open from 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday to Friday.

“Each year this program grows and grows,” said Preston. “Last year, between the pandemic and the fire response, we saw more than double the sales of gift certificates than in previous years. “

The chamber has already been contacted by several organizations considering purchasing chamber certificates.

“They make great holiday gifts and are redeemable at over 40 locations in Ashland,” Preston said. “They are a great way to keep our dollars local. “

Certificates can be mailed to the purchaser or to the recipient. To purchase certificates with a check or cash, call 541-482-3486, at which time a pickup day and time can be arranged.

Last year’s Rudolph Scavenger Hunt was a hit with families. This year it’s Elf Extravaganza, another treasure hunt, but this year with an elf theme. Game cards will be available on the Chamber’s website. Families will be invited to find elves hidden all over town and win prizes.

The website launched last year where local businesses could showcase their vacation products on an online community platform, with links to the stores’ own websites.

The chamber expects wide participation again this year and is developing new background tools that will make the site more user-friendly for participating businesses.

In addition to local advertising, the chamber will use social media to spread the word. A paid social media campaign will also feature Ashland Chamber’s new Instagram account, @ShopAshlandOregon, which will feature contests throughout December.

For more information and updates, visit

You can contact Ashland writer Jim Flint at


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