Our Top Ten Picks for A Safe and Festive Holiday

Historic home decorated for the holidays

Enjoy the holiday season in Albany this year with bountiful shopping ideas, dining adventures and playful activities geared to get you into the spirit.

Be sure to observe all Covid-19 restrictions when out and about at events or in businesses, including physical distancing and wearing a mask. Some businesses may have schedule changes based on a recent surge in the virus and subsequent “freeze,” so check here or at the individual business websites or Facebook pages for updated information.

Play find & seek and keep your traditions alive and well in Historic Albany, Oregon

Find your Favorite Porch and Seek Simpler Days gone by during the 2020 Annual Christmas Parlour Porch Tour: 2 to 7 p.m., Dec. 13 – A dozen historic homes around Albany will have their porches decorated and lights glowing for the annual tour. Drive or walk past the homes, many of which will be participating in the Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest (vote for your favorite!), and soak up the holiday spirit. While touring, also take part in a raffle for prizes. Details on tickets and the contest will be available in this posting on the AVA website prior to the tour, so stay tuned. There will be no cost for the event, but participants are encouraged to make donations. The tour is a fundraiser for the Monteith Historical Society, which uses the money for maintenance and operation of the Monteith House, the oldest frame home in Albany.

Seek Holiday Scene window displays for a great family photo opp. Storybook Land is scattered around 6 downtown windows this year which are also serving as a food-drive event for Fish of Albany food pantry. Bring non-perishable, commercially packaged food items for Fish, and stroll through downtown for window after window of beautiful holiday scenes. Find all 6 Storybook Land scenes and post on their FB page to enter a drawing for fun prizes.

Find Your Spirits cider and craft brews. Albany is bursting with quality beverages to cozy up to on a cold winter night or share with your household to bring much delight. Sinister Distilling, Vivacity Spirits, Spiritopia Liqueurs, Calapooia Brewing Co., Deluxe Brewing, No Rails Ale House and Growler Garage & Tap House are ready to pour-yours-to-go and send you on your merry way. Springhill Cellars Winery offers carry out for a perfect pairing with any meal.

Seek a shining star and consider supporting your local theaters and buying gift cards from the Pix Theatre or tickets to Albany Civic Theater, during this season of giving. We rely on them to bring us the entertainment we crave and one of these days we’ll be back in the seats of our favorite venues.

Find your Farmer at Albany Farmers’ Holiday Market: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Dec. 12, 4th Avenue and Ellsworth Street – More than 20 vendors will be selling locally grown agricultural products for your holiday table! Midway Farms on Hwy 20 is open all year long with a cooperative collection of locally grown produce, cheese, eggs, meats, plants, jellies, pickles and sauces. Supporting your farmer in the off season is sure to bring you good cheer and a bigger bounty in the new year.

Seek Locally Crafted at markets and bazaars following guidelines for safety.

Peoria Road Farm Market Holiday Craft Bazaar: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 21, 33269 Peoria Rd, Corvallis, 541-207-3327 – Shop for holiday decor, candles, jewelry, and more at the 7th Annual Peoria Road Farm Market Holiday Bazaar. They will be taking every precaution to keep visitors safe while enjoying a great day of shopping. Masks will be required.

Albany Holiday Gift Vendor Bender: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Nov. 28, Best Western Prairie Inn, 1100 Price Rd. SE, Albany; Contact: cristiehanson71@gmail.com – Find handmade crafts and merchandise from local direct sales businesses at this new holiday event at the lovely Best Western Prairie Inn. COVID-19 safety protocols will be observed. Shop safe and local.

Christmas at the Roost/Vintage Roost: 935 Scenic Dr. NW. This vintage barn is filled with antiques, collectibles, handmade gifts with a vintage charm by local crafters, baked goods and more! Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 4-5; 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 6 and Dec. 11-12; and 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 13. Due to Covid restrictions, capacity of the shop is 10 persons at any one time, and masks are required. There will be several areas outside to shelter while waiting to enter. Warm refreshments will be served as you wait, including The Roost’s famous hot cranberry tea. Dress for the weather. Parking is available on Scenic Drive.

Ropp Family Farm Christmas Barn: 35746 Eicher Rd SE. preview night this Thursday, November 19th from 5-7pm for shopping, snacks & giveaways, and only for a $10 entry. Doors will open for regular shopping Friday & Saturday from 9am to 4pm. No entry fee required. Open for business each weekend thru Saturday December 5th.

Find your Tree  at Toland Tree Farm  (closed for the season) following guidelines, trees will all be PRE-CUT fresh weekly and ready to choose from -No You Cut. Limited number of cars will be allowed in the parking lot and the number of customers on the farm at one time. So please be patient and remember, Santa is watching. Check revised hours and consider making a weekday appointment by connecting directly.

From Doug Firs, Noble Firs, Nordman Firs and even Grand Firs, Vollstedt Farms has trees of all shapes and sizes available. Opening day is November 21st with face masks and physical distancing required. Extended hours are in place. The front patch will be open for u-cut. Trees from the back patch will be brought up as pre-cut. Please limit the family group to 3-4 people. Unfortunately wagon rides, places where people congregate, and dogs are out and no foot traffic is allowed on the road. The good news is tree prices will be down.

Christmas tree permits for the Willamette National Forest are available for the Sweet Home, Middle Fork, and parts of the Detroit and McKenzie River Ranger Districts. Permits are available online  and by calling the respective ranger district offices. Tree permits will not be sold in person at any ranger districts or offices. Please check closure maps before entering the forest and remain outside any of the closed areas. Permits are $5.00 each. They allow the holder to cut one tree in designated areas; each household can purchase up to a maximum of five permits. This year, trees can be as tall as 15 feet.

Seek your Ornament during the Third Annual Ornament Hunt on non-wilderness trails of the Willamette National Forest launched on November 13, 2020. The hunt encourages locals and travelers to connect with public lands and increase outdoor recreation activities. One hundred and fifty ornaments have been hidden along non-wilderness trails that have not been affected by wildfires for lucky adventurers to find. Three different wooden ornaments, each featuring a fun-loving forest creature, are spread across trails in the Willamette National Forest and the Umpqua National Forest. Each one found includes a Willamette Valley leather patch and instructions on how to register to win a prize. Find and register all three and you will be eligible to win an adventure and overnight stay in the Willamette Valley. For more information visit their website.

Find the Perfect Gift on Small Business Saturday and all the way through Christmas, Shop Small & Dine Small kicks off Saturday, Nov. 28 but why stop then? Shop small and save big on unique gifts over the Thanksgiving weekend and beyond. This may mean locally online – see your favorite store’s Website or Facebook page for their most up to date offerings you can find them listed here. Local businesses are pulling out all the stops with amazing specials and deals designed to help you get just the right gift for friends and family. Remember to support your local artist on Artist Sunday and all year long with places like Crow’s Foot, Gallery Calapooia and the Carousel Gift Shop, or find your inner artist at Surefire Design and Splatterbox.

While working up an appetite shopping, downtown restaurants will be ready to offer a wonderful selection of food and drink to keep you going. For an updated list of restaurants, who is offering take out and delivery and what kind of menu to expect, click here.

Seek your Favorite Holiday Lights during the Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest: The 33rd annual event kicks off Dec. 7. Perhaps more than ever, people need a little more light to brighten their lives and lift their spirits. So, put your best lighted foot forward and enter the contest or visit all of the entries to enjoy how creative and beautiful the houses are and then vote for your favorite.

Contestants will be judged on the best use of lights in decorating the exterior of their homes. The winners will enjoy bragging rights for the entire year and will receive some great prizes, including a Party Room Rental provided by the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, a night at Comfort Suites-Albany, Pizza from Southpaws and gift certificates from local stores.

This year’s theme is “Cherished Traditions in a New Light” and participants are asked to share the source for their inspiration, such as: a family tradition, favorite holiday book, movie or special, music, dance, art or a special collection using lights, lights and more lights.

The contest will be judged by the public this year through online voting, and lights need to be on 5 to 10 p.m. Dec. 7 through Jan. 1.

Go here for contest rules and entry information and how to vote.

People wishing to drive the route to look at the participating locations can pick up a list of participants and a map at the Albany Visitors Association beginning Dec. 10 or download the Albany Explorer app.

Keeping Traditions alive in 2020 can be more difficult for many facing hardships and loss. Please consider sharing your good fortune and cheer with others to lift them up along with your own holiday spirits and you will in turn help bring about a brighter new year for all. Here’s to ringing in 2021 with Peace, Love and Hope for a better tomorrow.

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Travel Alerts and Current Happenings for Albany & Linn County, Oregon
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Safe and Festive Holidays- Our Top Ten Picks *** Night Time Magic- Holiday Light Contest
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