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APRC summer events will look a bit different this year

Each year we look forward to bringing the community a variety of events. This year, as we lay out our plans, things may look a little different, as our number one priority is to keep the public safe during the pandemic.

We all know by now that gathering together in ways that we have in the past is not possible at this time, and so we must look for creative ways to stay connected and continue to make our community livable and enjoyable.

The Rogue Valley Bike Swap, which historically takes place in April at The Grove, will take in a different form this year. We are collaborating with the Rogue Valley Transportation District to facilitate a bike donation drive. During the pandemic, we have seen a rise in demand for outdoor recreation equipment, and affordable bikes are hard to come by. Donated bikes will be distributed to local organizations with the aim of getting bikes in the hands of those affected by the Almeda fire, veterans and low-income people.

If you have a bike that you are able to donate, we will be accepting donations from 1 to 4 p.m., Friday, June 18, and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 19. Donations will be accepted in a drive-thru format at these times at the parking lot of The Grove, 1195 E. Main St., Ashland. Bikes should be in working order; those in need of minor repairs are welcome. If you have a question, reach out to Sulaiman Shelton, volunteer and special event coordinator for APRC, at 541-552-2264 or Sulaiman.shelton@ashland.or.us.

Rogue Valley Bird Day is part of an annual international celebration of migratory birds, with over 700 events from Argentina to Canada, culminating the second weekend of May. The North Mountain Park Nature Center will join in the festivities by offering socially distanced bird walks that will guide you in identifying birds and help you delve into the biology of birds. See RogueValleyBirdDay.net.

On Memorial Day weekend we will kick off the annual Ashland World Music Festival. The 2021 festival will be a hybrid event with many layers and opportunities for music, culture and art, with a theme of "Renewing Connections with Community & Culture." The event is a fundraiser for the Unete Farm Worker and Immigrant Family Relief Fund. This fund distributes money to families for basic needs like food, gas and other essentials in response to the complications surrounding the Almeda fire. More info at our partner website, RogueWorldMusic.org/AWMF.

A free summer concert series, Rock the Knoll, will be held at Oak Knoll Golf Course. The series, brought to you by Blackstone Publishing in Ashland, is appropriate for all ages. Performers and dates are:

July 16 – East Main Band

July 23 – The Brothers Reed

Aug. 27 – Danielle Kelly SP

Sept. 10 – Hog Wild

Find yourself immersed in the beat and experience the best concert series in all of Southern Oregon. Night putting, dancing, delicious food, drink and more. Check out the municipal golf course at OakKnollGolf.org.

Our Senior Services Division will hold an Ice Cream Social drive-thru event for seniors and their families from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 21. Patrons will have the opportunity to say hello to staff and indulge in a tasty treat. The event is free. Call 541-488-5342 to sign up. We want to make sure we have enough ice cream for you and yours. The event is made possible by our sponsor, Village at Valley View.

The 45th annual 4th of July Run will take place virtually this year, with three running options available: a 1-mile fun run, a 5K or a 10K. Run the race in your neighborhood between Saturday, June 26 and Sunday, July 4, and submit your results to Ashland4thofJulyRun@gmail.com before noon Monday, July 5. No registration required. In the past this event benefited, in part, the Phoenix High School cross-country team; however, the 2021 event will be offered at no charge. If you would like to make a donation to the PHS cross-country team, go to ashland.or.us/JulyRun. The web page will also offer details on ordering a commemorative 2021 Virtual Run T-shirt. T-shirts will be for sale from May 11 through June 10. Proceeds benefit the cross-country team and APRC. Connect and share on the event Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/AshlandJuly4thRun. Selfies of you and yours during the run are encouraged.

As you can see, most of our events are supported by various organizations throughout Southern Oregon, either as a partner or a sponsor. We want to thank each of them. As your thoughts turn toward warmer weather, keep us in mind, not only for events, but recreation programming too. Our 2021 Summer PlayGuide will be available online by April 10. For more information about summer programs, events and APRC in general, see AshlandParksandRec.org.

Dorinda Cottle is executive analyst for APRC.

The Rogue Valley Bike Swap, which historically takes place in April at The Grove, will take in a different form this year.