The annual art, wine and food event, which begins on April 24, plans: a sustainability goal of "no waste," scholarships for students artists, donations to the local food bank and support of Ashland artists. This year's theme: "Taste with Conscience."

A Taste of Ashland 2009, Southern Oregon’s premiere art, food and wine event, will take place on April 24, 25 and 26. With a reputation as one of the best art towns in America and the region’s best art, food and wine, Ashland prepares to host the annual event that attracts thousands of visitors from around the Rogue Valley.

Seventeen selected Ashland Gallery Association galleries will participate from noon to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday. The galleries are paired with 17 regional restaurants, and 17 wineries, breweries and distilleries to create a taste of the very best the region has to offer.

Despite demand, tickets to the Taste remain limited so as to ensure that it is not over-crowded.

“We want everyone to relax and enjoy the art, food, wine, and desserts!”, Event Coordinator Jeff Jones said. “People interested in A Taste should buy their tickets early.”

A shuttle will be provided for those unable to walk to all 17 galleries.

The theme of this year’s A Taste of Ashland is “Taste with a Conscience.”

Attendees get to enjoy the event while contributing to the local community. Events are designed to benefit local artists, create scholarships for student artists and provide donations to the local food bank. This year's efforts are geared toward reducing waste to achieve a goal of a “No Waste Taste.”

Beginning on Friday, April 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. is the “Eat Dessert First Taste Gala” at the historic Ashland Springs Hotel. The Gala features the 4th Annual Artists’ Quick Draw and Auction. Seventeen talented regional artists will create masterpieces before in just one hour.

This year, the Quick Draw pieces will be sold via a silent auction that will begin at the Gala and continue throughout the weekend at selected galleries.

A portion of the Quick Draw proceeds will go to a scholarship for deserving Ashland High School artists. The Gala will also feature incredible desserts, coffee, tea and wines from regional restaurants and wineries plus musical entertainment by Ashland’s Flat 5 String Band (30s acoustic swing) and no-host bar. Admission is free with
a Taste of Ashland ticket or $10 at the door without a Taste ticket.

New this year will be the Taste of Ashland Raffle.

Taste of Ashland Raffle tickets will be available beginning at the Gala and throughout the weekend. Ticket prices are: $5 each or 3 for $10. Raffle winners will be notified after Taste weekend. A portion of the proceeds from the Taste Raffle will go to benefit the Ashland Emergency Food Bank.

The 2009 A Taste of Ashland will be a "no-waste" event. Participants will be provided a reusable, collectible wine glass. Tasters will be encouraged to leave their glass at the last gallery visited for use next year.

For tickets and more information about A Taste of Ashland 2009 click on atasteofashland.com.