Local report

The 23rd annual Festival of Light Celebration will kick off Friday, Nov. 27, with thousands of shoppers and revelers descending on downtown for the local launch of the holiday season.

The event, which culminates with the "Grand Illumination" of more than 1 million lights in the downtown, begins with entertainment from the balcony of the Brickroom on the Plaza at 3 p.m. The event features holiday decorations throughout Ashland, including historic wreaths, lanterns, snowflakes and lights.

The festivities are organized by the Ashland Chamber and Visitor and Convention Bureau, which will offer an information booth from 3 to 7 p.m. on the Plaza, where visitors can purchase Snowflake wands and pick up a free holiday coupon book with 50 coupons.

Santa’s Parade begins at the Ashland library at 5 p.m. and will include "rockettes," reindeer, elves and more. The parade will make its way to the Plaza, where Santa will lead caroling and the switch will be thrown for the Grand Illumination. Santa’s Workshop will be open from 6:15 to 8 p.m. at the Black Swan Theatre for kids and families to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.

New this year will be caroling throughout the downtown that will begin Friday and continue each Saturday through Dec. 19. Groups participating in the caroling include the Ashland Brass, Thanks for the Memories Theatre Company, Siskiyou Singers, Rogue Valley Peace Choir, Southern Oregon Repertory Singers and Rogue Valley Harmonizers.

Other holiday events in the coming weeks include:

The Ashland Chamber is a Neighborhood Champion for Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28.
Ashland Holiday Open House from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, with special events and sales for shoppers.
The Chamber is offering a Destination Ashland gift certificate, which is good at nearly 50 locations in Ashland. Purchase it online at www.ashlandchamber.com or at the Chamber office.

For more on the event, see www.ashlandchamber.com.