Ashland is a city in Jackson County, Oregon, United States, near Interstate 5 and the California border, and located in the south end of the Rogue Valley. It was named after Ashland County, Ohio, point of origin of Abel Helman and other founders, and secondarily for Ashland, Kentucky, where other founders had family connections. It officially became a town with the name Ashland Mills in 1855. It is the home of Southern Oregon University and the internationally renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
Arts and culture
Ashland is well known for its annual Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), which brings thousands of visitors to the city every year. The festival has grown from a summer outdoor festival in the 1930s to a season which stretches from February to October, incorporating Shakespeare and non-Shakespearean plays in repertory at three theaters. OSF sells more tickets to more performances of more plays than any other theater in the country. In a typical year, OSF sells more than 350,000 tickets and attracts about 100,000 tourists.
Annual Cultural Events
The Ashland Independent Film Festival which shows international and domestic films of almost every genre since 2001 takes place in April of each year. Previous guests and directors have included actress Helen Hunt, Indie director Henry Jaglom and others.The annual Ashland New Plays Festival is a week-long event that focuses attention on playwrights and the development of new work for the American stage.
Museums and Other Points Of Interest
The National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, located in Ashland, is the World's only crime lab dedicated to wildlife, and serves law enforcement both within and outside the United States. The Ashland City Band (ACB) was organized in 1876 as the Ashland Brass Band. John McLaren, designer of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, designed Lithia Park and included an octagonal gazebo-style bandstand which was used by the ACB until a bandshell was built in 1949.Ashland is also the setting for the movie version of Neil Gaiman's Coraline.
Parks and Rrecreation
Lithia Park is a 93-acre (38 ha) park, including 42 acres (17 ha) on the National Register of Historic Places, that extends upstream along Ashland Creek near the center of the city.It includes two ponds, a Japanese garden, tennis courts, two public greens, a bandshell (outdoor stage) and miles of hiking trails. The name Lithia comes from the natural mineral water in Ashland, Lithia water. It has a strong mineral taste and slight effervescence, and the Lithia water fountains found on the town plaza are frequently tasted by unsuspecting tourists (often at the behest of residents or frequent visitors who use the fountains as a cheap, humorous Ashland initiation rite). Lithia water can be sampled from a fountain near the bandshell in Lithia Park as well.