MEDFORD, Ore. — Friday marked the third week of the Pear Blossom Festival, and the first time that the annual event's street fair has appeared in more than a year.
Most aspects of the Pear Blossom Festival were precluded by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but they are back — if somewhat modified — in 2021. For many of vendors, organizers, and participants, the return comes as a huge relief.
Mark Nichols has been participating in the Pear Blossom Festival for the last 31 years, and he's enjoyed every single moment.
"Medford is known for the Pear Blossom Festival. You go throughout the state and everybody knows about the Pear Blossom Festival," Nichols said. "So here we are, and we enjoy doing it every year."
The festival is limiting the number of vendors and participants attending this year, but it still represents a chance for first-timers to be able to get their businesses off the ground.
Ellie Gardiner says that she lost her job due to the pandemic, and it's her first time participating in the festival as a vendor.
"Today, I'm finally experiencing a ray of sunshine and hope, that I might actually have a new happy career and I'll be okay," Gardiner said.
The street fair ends at 10 p.m. on Friday, then resumes on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The annual parade will begin at 11 a.m.
Other events like the Smudge Pot Stroll and Pear A Fare are available by ticket only. As of Friday afternoon, tickets for the Smudge Pot Stroll were sold out, though the Pear A Fare still had tickets available and can be purchased at the "door" to the tent.