It's April in Ashland, and that means it's time for "A Taste of Ashland," the annual spring event hosted by the Ashland Gallery Association.

The festivities take place from noon to 4 p.m. over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday, April 26 and 27.

2008 marks the 19th year for this celebration of food, wine and art. Member galleries host area chefs and wineries, each offering samples of their artistry.

Each year new wineries open in the southern Oregon and Applegate appellations and bring the products of their vineyards to Ashland for this sharing event.

Gourmets, foodies, and wine connoisseurs tour the galleries as do new visitors.

Directed by an event guidebook complete with a map and concise information on each gallery, winery or restaurant, it's easy to find the tasting locations. The ATOA guidebook will also help locate participating restaurants.

Musicians are often playing in the galleries and featured artists may be found demonstrating their craft.

This year's poster features a painting by Randall Tipton.

There will be an opportunity to watch an art piece created from start to finish in one short hour during a "mass demonstration" by active professionals.

Now in its fourth year, the Artist's Quickdraw Gala celebration get the weekend started from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 25, in the Ashland Springs Hotel ballroom, 212 E. Main St., Ashland. No ticket is needed for this event in the ballroom if you have your weekend ticket, otherwise there is a $5 admission. The climax of the Artist Quick Draw, after the swift framing, is the subsequent live auction for the piece. Music, refreshments and a no-host bar add to the fun.

Tickets for A Taste of Ashland purchased in advance are $35 per day, or $55 for both days. Tickets are available tickets online at . The information booth on the plaza will have per day tickets for sale. For ticket information call 292-1256 or 646-6572. Participants will receive a collectible wine glass and poster, along with the event guidebook. See the Ashland Gallery Association Web site, for details.

Proceeds from A Taste of Ashland help support the visual and cultural arts in Ashland, including a grant to Ashland High School's visual arts program.