ashland.news
July 23, 2024

Talent Harvest Festival back for 52nd year

Face painting was a popular feature with kids at the 2022 Talent Harvest Festival. Ezra Marcos Ayala
October 6, 2023

More than 100 vendors, 14 bands to fill Main Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday

By James Sloan, Rogue Valley Times

Back and bigger than ever, the Talent Harvest Festival returns Saturday, Oct. 7, with a record-breaking 100-plus vendors, 14 bands and artists performing across five separate stages and an expected turnout of more than 5,000 people.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown Talent’s Main Street will teem with activities ranging from community art exhibitions to a variety of food options such as Caba Empanadas, Sultan’s Delight and Traveler’s Ice Cream.

Organizers will set up activities, music and more to continue throughout the Harvest Festival and attract attendees to make a day of the annual event.

“Personally, I think the biggest and best attraction is our free performance lineup in multiple locations,” said lead organizer Heather Lee, event planner with the city of Talent. “Our valley has some of the best performers I’ve seen.”

The free event is organized by the city of Talent, and vendors will offer an array of goods.

The event’s main stage in Old Town Park will start with Nick Garrett-Powell opening at 10 a.m. Phoenix Sigalove comes on at 10:45 a.m., Alice DiMicele and Andy Casad will play at noon, Alquimistas takes the stage at 1:45 p.m., and Adam Gabriel and the Cavaliers will close out the main stage music at 3 p.m.

The four other stages — Library Commons family stage, Vintage Coffee House stage, The Grotto stage and Art Bop Beer Co. stage — will bring even more music from Mariachi Joya de Oro, Old Time Fiddlers, Jeff Kloetzel and more to appeal to most any listener.

New to the event this year will be giveaways and activities offered at nonprofit and information booths to keep the little ones entertained while parents and adults learn more about the organizations in their community.

For attendees who want to get a head start on festivities in an active way, the Talent Harvest Festival 10K, 5K and fun run, begin at 8 a.m. at Talent City Hall.

For young families looking to attend, the festival will offer a dedicated family area next to the Talent library.

“We have a dedicated KidsZone family area with children’s activities and family-friendly performances and vendors in the Library Commons Park,” Lee said.

The KidsZone includes a multitude of booths and family fun to accompany the family friendly tunes being performed at the library’s main stage.

Entering its 52nd year as a staple event for Talent’s community and culture, many attendees and organizers have been taking part for decades and bringing generations of festival enjoyers.

“It’s a unique festival in the Rogue Valley. It’s multigenerational and brings people back with their kids,” said Hector Flores, community engagement employee with the city of Talent.

Flores has been attending the Harvest Festival since he was a kid growing up in town.

“There’s a unique history with the festival being 52 years old and seeing Talent change from being agriculture-based, with pear, apple and peach orchards, to evolving now and being surrounded by wineries and other agriculture,” Flores said.

The Almeda Fire in 2020 brought a lot of grief and trauma to residents in Talent and surrounding areas, but organizers have seen an increased desire in the community to reconnect and form tighter bonds with neighbors.

“It’s almost like a pent-up desire to attend events and rebuild our community on every level,” Flores said.

“The cleanup, recovery and rebuilding had to start first, but now we are coming together more and more in joy and celebration again, which was so deeply needed after the hard times,” Lee said. “It’s absolutely wonderful to see all the community festivals happening again, it feels like a coming back to life, reweaving the communal fabric so to speak.”

To learn more about the Talent Harvest Festival, music and more, visit cityoftalent.org/Page.asp?NavID=71.

Reach reporter James Sloan at jsloan@rv-times.com. This story first appeared in the Rogue Valley Times.

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Bert Etling

Bert Etling is the executive editor of Ashland.news. Email him at betling@ashland.news.

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