11 Cool Things to Do Mid-March in Albany

Photo of three rodents called nutria on a grassy parcel of landMarch 13th, noon to 1:00 p.m. The Albany Regional Museum presents History Bites. You either hate ‘em or are fascinated by ‘em—nutria! Discover how this once farmed rodent became an invasive species. Mike Martin is the presenter and his family once owned and operated an Albany nutria ranch. The lunchtime presentation is free, and will include light refreshments. Donations to the non-profit ARM will be graciously accepted. Visit the museum’s website for more details https://www.armuseum.com

March 15th through the 17th The Oregon Woodturning Symposium comes to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. See stunning artistry in wood! One of the most exciting things about this event is the vendor gallery. Attendees will also be able to see the latest woodturning products, equipment and tools, and connect with other woodworkers. For more information: 503-763-0983. www.woodturningsymposium.com

March 16th, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., get your breakfast on at Applebee’s Grill & Bar, with the Flapjack Fundraiser for Linn County Special Olympics. All proceeds from the breakfast stay in Linn County. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.

March 16th, 9:00 a.m.  iRun for Kids Each year, approximately 700 runners of all ages and abilities gather at West Albany High School for the annual iRun for Kids race. Proceeds benefit the Albany Public Schools Foundation and its programs, including classroom grants for teachers, enrichment opportunities for kids, and scholarships. This is a great run for the serious racer as well as a fun run for all ages. There’s a 10 Mile and a 5K Run/Walk, plus the Little Leprechaun Dash: (2 laps on the WAHS track) Telephone 541-979-2773 for more information or get online registration information at irunforkids

Photo of young Ugandan children in traditional costume March 17th Ugandan Kids Choir Don’t miss this gorgeous music and dance by children. On March 17th at 5:00 p.m., the Ugandan Kids Choir, a group of talented Ugandan children, will perform at Albany First United Methodist Church. The choir has performed nationwide at churches, schools, at Disneyland, on KING 5 Seattle Television’s “New Day Northwest,” and at Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks. The Albany concert will feature traditional African song and dance. Admission is free, and any donations will support the choir’s travel through North America.

March 17th Oregon’s Military Heritage Join the Linn County Historical Society for the presentation “Oregon Military Heritage” at 2:00 p.m. Held at the Lakeside Center (in the Mennonite Village), the speaker is Warren Aney, coauthor of the book Oregon Military. Image collections that will be shared are from the Brigadier General James B. Thayer Oregon Military Museum, the Oregon Historical Society, county historical societies, other regional and national archives, and the authors’ personal collections. Copies of the book will also be for sale. Lakeside Center is located at 2180 54th Ave SE Albany, OR 97322.

Photo of a pre-teen girl sitting on a hand carved wooden elephant on the Albany Historic CarouselMarch 22nd Friday Family Fun Night at the Albany Carousel From 5;30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. enjoy a family night out at the carousel with unlimited rides and lots of activities.  Admission is $5.00 per person and children under three are FREE.  For more information telephone 541.497.2934.

March 22nd (and other dates throughout March and early April) The Albany Civic Theater presents “Too Good To Say Goodbye.” Redmon Hunter, a best-selling author of pulp fiction, has created an unusual world for himself. Recently, writer’s block has set in, so all the characters from his works in progress have set up semi-permanent residence in literary limbo. Redmon’s chance meeting with a beautiful, young pop literature professor, sets the wheels in motion for a madcap comedy where wild imaginary characters clash with real world snobs. For performance dates, times, and tickets: http://www.albanycivic.org

March 29th The BnB Lit Lighthouse Paint Follow Along This adults only (21 and older) art event will be sure to put a happy smile on your face. Join your friends or significant other at the Albany Art Studio’s famous splatter box and paint a happy little lighthouse with instructor Laura Ellis. Fee includes a 16×20 canvas and all materials. Plus, you are welcome to BYOB. For information and to reserve your space, visit the Albany Art Studio website.

Photograph of a an open hand holding two pieces of fossilized snail shellMarch 29th, 30th, 31st The Chintiminti Kennel Club’s Conformation, Obedience, and Rally Dog Show Three days of all-breed dogs will compete at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. The Columbia River Agility Club will also take place during the trials. For information about hours, admission, etc. visit the sponsor’s web site.

March 30th The 71st Sweet Home Gem & Mineral Show This rockhound’s paradise includes gems, minerals, slabs, fossils, cabochons, wire wrapping, flint knapping, and geode preparation demonstrations. Not to be missed! The event runs from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Sweet Home High School, 1641 Long St. Check out show info on the Oregon Rock & Gem Show website.

Call for agri-tourism workshop participants

Registration Opens for Culinary and Agri-Tourism Studio Program

Travel Oregon,  Albany Visitors Association, and Visit Corvallis, invites interested participants to the “Mid-Willamette Valley Culinary and Agritourism Studio,” on March 20th and 21st, at the Children’s Farm Home Historic Old School, between Albany and Corvallis.

This two-day educational forum is designed to connect local farmers, ranchers, vintners, beverage producers, restauranteurs and others, in bolstering the region’s tourism economy through interactive strategic planning and product development workshops.

We call this type of collaboration “experiential tourism,” and it’s a booming business—whether it includes sipping wine amongst the vines, attending a farmers’ market, or creating a farm stand to sell fresh produce and jam. The end product could be an exciting new venture and way to put your business on the map.

Anyone from the the Mid-Willamette Valley who would like to make connections and receive valuable information on making the most of your marketing dollars through developing unique visitor experiences like farm-stands, tasting rooms, or hands-on culinary and agricultural tours or loops should attend.

Our steering committee is composed of farmers, ranchers, vintners, distillers, chefs, caterers, tourism experts, specialty seed growers, nursery owners, and others who all share similar values about our connections to the land and the economic vitality of our cities.

Training topics include:

  • Navigating land-use policy in your county
  • Growing awareness of culinary and agritourism market trends, product development strategies, and case studies
  • Leveraging statewide and regional resources in tourism marketing and business development
  • Developing an Oregon “food trail”

Let’s work together to stimulate the economy while enhancing local resources and retaining the unique qualities of the Mid-Willamette Valley. Please join us!

Registration

The cost for the two-day event is $15 per person. (Or $10 per single day.) A full lunch each day is included in the workshop price. A separate evening socializing/networking tour will take place following the first day’s workshop. Pre-registration is required. Please use the highlighted link to connect with the registration website for more information on who should attend and the full schedule.

Questions? Contact Rebecca Bond, Executive Director Albany Visitors Association, 541-928-0911 or Christina Rehklau, Executive Director of Visit Corvallis, 541-757-1544.

Enter the 2019 AVA Photo Contest

It’s that time of year, when Albany-area shutterbugs dust off their lenses and head out to find the perfect shot. Although it might be a bit cold and rainy, there’s still plenty of breaks where sunshine and majestic scenes reveal themselves. Join the fun and enter the 2019 AVA Photo Contest.

You can download entry forms (for both video and still photography), review the rules, and instructions for submitting your work in the “Download entry forms” section at the bottom of this page. All entries must be received by us on Friday, March 8, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. 

Good luck—we hope to see many beautiful images projected onto the big screen at the Pix Theater for the awards ceremony on April 20, 2019. Winning photographers will be eligible for a special drawing of a $200 Cash Card as well as ribbons and prizes for the “Best Of” categories. (See “prizes” section below for more info.)

Focus

We ask that your work specifically feature Albany. Your images of life in Albany and surrounding Linn County (Benton County for North Albany) are what we most commonly use in our publications, advertisements, and social media. Imagine what visitors might like to see—people enjoying themselves outdoors, fantastic food and drink (micro-breweries, distilleries, winemakers), events, hiking, biking, paddling, and the beauty and majesty of our city’s historic architecture.

We never get enough action shots of people out and about, so think about staging something with friends; just make sure you get their permission and a release form signed (see forms section below) if there are recognizable people in your work.

Image resolution and more

Special effects Images that have digitally applied effects (such as montages, double exposures or vignettes) cannot be used in AVA publications or national advertising. Images manipulated in photo apps with effects such as frames or special borders also cannot be used.

Signatures or watermarks Images that retain watermarks or photographer signatures cannot be used in publications or ads. We will always credit the photographer by name in any publication or online. If you wish to submit an image with your signature or watermark, please note it may be seen by a limited audience.

Resolution and size Additionally, image size and shape are very important. Photos should be large file sizes for print (biggest size image setting on your camera, 300 dpi or larger); smaller mobile phone images may be blurry when enlarged. Photos should be standard portrait or landscape since square, panoramic, or custom ratios are more difficult to place within ads.

AVA Annual Photo Contest Categories

The following defines our contest categories and gives you an idea of what we are looking for.

Scenic: Visit our parks, the Willamette River, hiking trails, vineyards, and surrounding rural vistas. Find something you think will make someone want to come visit us, and that represents the unique charm of our region. Rustic barns, farm- stands, wildflowers, the Willamette Valley with distant snow- capped mountains—our great outdoors is chock full of amazing scenic shots.

Landmarks: What is your landmark when you tell friends to meet you in Albany? Is it the Historic Carousel or maybe the clock tower at the Albany Train Station? A landmark is unique to Albany and lends itself to the quintessential identity of our city. Even an old building with a Victorian painted advertisement on a brick wall or a statue could be a landmark.

Events: Albany is an event-driven community. Think about our parades, our Christmas horse-drawn wagon rides. There’s always an event happening monthly—from AKC national dog shows at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center to National Historic Preservation Month, there’s never a shortage of what to do! Make sure to check our events calendar and find something fun to photograph.

Life in the community: What is the quality of life in Albany? We are farmers, we are vintners and craft-brewers, we are artists, we are blue-collar welders and white collar executives, we are teachers… and we know how to have a great time no matter what we do. Help tell a visual tale about how we practice our daily lives.

Historic Albany: If you live in Albany, you know that we have deep historical roots. Our city has four nationally recognized historic districts. Albany’s architectural styles vary from the mid- 1800s to the 1950s. Grab a copy of “Seems Like Old Times” and document your personal visual tour or join us on one of the seasonal guided tours.

Culinary: We live in the proverbial bread-basket of culinary delights: farm-to- table special dinners; farmer’s markets; renowned and award-winning chefs; cozy coffee houses, bakeries; wineries and breweries; German and Hungarian restaurants. Our city bubbles over with bounty. Visit a local restaurant or a unique foodie or drink venue and let people know what delicious rewards await them.

Video: Are you a licensed drone pilot? Can’t wait to show people a new perspective? Whatever type of video is your hobby or your living, consider sharing your art-form with thousands. We avidly promote video on our website and across social media. Add your submission to your curriculum vitae.

Open: All things Oregon! All phases of life including nature at her finest—animals, waterfalls, rainbows, cycling, old kitchen sinks (wink wink)—you name it. If it doesn’t fit into one of the categories above, submit it under “open.”

Who can enter?

The contest is open to all ages, all skill levels—from amateur to professional or hobbyist. We encourage teachers to involve their students.

Prizes

Winning photos will be on display at the Albany Visitors Association, the Amtrak Train Station, while all entries will be shown at the Pix Theater on the big screen at the awards ceremony on April 20th. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded for Overall and Reserve Champions, Individual Category winners, and People’s Choice. Those attending the Pix reception will have the opportunity to win door prizes. All winners will be entered into a special drawing for a Gift Card in the amount of $200—shop for a new lens, memory card, or whatever you like!  (If you’d like to see the video of the 2018 contest winning photos, click here.)

Download entry forms and all documents

You must fill out all required forms to complete your entry. Click on the link to download to your computer and print. Please submit all pertinent paper work with your entry. *Note: Remember to submit the model release form for entries with people in your photos and videos.

Download the photo contest rules PDF (*Please note, the “open” category was inadvertently left off this list of rules. Please see above categories for 2019. Confirm that you are entering in the open category when you fill out your entry form.)  2019 AVA Photo Contest Rules  

Download the photo contest entry form PDF  2019 Entry Form

Download the photo contest release form PDF 2019 photo contest release form

Download the model release form PDF 2019 Model release form

Download the video contest rules PDF (same as 2018) 2019 AVA Video Contest Rules

Download the video contest entry form PDF 2019 Video Entry Form

All entries must be received by us on Friday, March 8, 2019, by 5:00 p.m. 

*Featured image for this blog post of the Pacific Northwest Art & Air Festival by Oliver J. Anderson, from the 2018 AVA Photo Contest

 

From history to poodles – 18 fun February Albany happenings

Friday, Feb 1st It’s First Friday in Downtown Albany and many retail shops and restaurants are open for extended hours. You’ll want to check out the artist’s reception at Gallery Calapooia for the “Big Show of Little Art,” a community wide show, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The Natty Dresser will be serving up a VIP Valentines shopping event and handcrafted chocolate from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Beforehand, check out the Albany Regional Museum’s First Friday exhibit by two local artists, Mickey Steffgen and Linda Ellsworth, in the Community Room. The museum’s normal exhibits will also be open until 8:00 p.m. And don’t forget your four-legged friends. How about a doggie Valentine’s cookie (for pups to enjoy, not cookies shaped like doggies!) from Sniffany’s Pet Boutique on First Ave. in Downtown Albany. Sniffany’s will be open until 8:00 p.m. Fulfill your inner dirt bug with a visit to Urban Ag Supply on Elllsworth, across from Little Wuestens Cafe. Find inspiration in the latest gardening tools. There will be a special “pup-up” shop, featuring new styles of hand-crafted pet accessories. Urban Ag will be open until 8:00 p.m. If you head back towards First Avenue, make sure to stop at Sweet Reds Bistro for their special late night “Sweeteasy” from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. Stop by for a 1920s inspired roarin’ good time! Period costumes are encouraged.

Feb 2nd The Greater Albany Rotary Club presents their Annual Crab Fest from noon to 7:00 p.m. at Calapooia Brewing Co. Yummy crab will be on the menu (of course!) and so much more, including brews and live music. Get all the info and tickets on their website.

Feb 5th Join the Annual Sweet Home Sweetheart Run, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This fun, timed race is full of family activities. The 10K, 5K, and 1M kids fun-run all start and end at the Weddle Covered Bridge in Sankey Park, 877 14th Ave, Sweet Home. For more information and registration visit the park website.

Feb 9th and 16th Linn-Benton Community College presents the 44th Annual Children’s Show, at 2:00 p.m. The performance takes you on an adventure under the sea, with “Josephina Jordan, Junior Underwater Explorer, and the Mystery of the Plastic Fish.” Written and directed by Dan Stone, this fun and educational play looks at oceans and marine life in an amazing story filled with special effects, puppets, and a massive submarine called “Big Tuna.” Produced in collaboration with the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Tickets are $8 general admission, $6 children under 18. More info on their website.

Feb 13th Join neighbors and friends at the Ag Appreciation Breakfast, 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Come together with the local farming community and enjoy a delicious catered breakfast out at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. The keynote speaker is Buzz Wheeler, owner of Coastal Farm & Ranch. Pre-registration is required by Feb 6th, breakfast tickets are $13, admission to the presentation is free. For more information, visit the event website.

Feb 13th It’s time for History Bites at the Museum, from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Albany Regional Museum (ARM). This month’s presentation will include the stories and history of Albany’s Fire Chiefs. John Bradner, the current Albany Fire Chief will be the speaker. Albany Fire Department is celebrating 150 years of service to our community. Get ready for ARM’s upcoming exhibit that opens on Feb 16th, “Where There’s Smoke” celebrating 150 years of the Albany Fire Department. Refreshments provided  at History Bites. For more info visit ARM’s website.

Feb 14th, 15th and 16th From 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., bring your significant other out to a special Sweethearts Valentines Dinner at Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant in Historic Downtown Albany. The menu includes a five course dinner for two featuring a mini magyar krumpli appetizer, soup, salad, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and a chocolate box to share. Price: $59.99; add passion fruit cocktail, $63.99. Telephone Novak’s at 541-967-9488 for information and reservations.

Feb 15th, 16th, 17th Get ready for the big, big, BIG Willamette Sportsman Show. Boats! Fishing gear! Hunting apparel! Games, raffles, rock-wall climbing, gold panning, target practice, archery, presentations, vendors galore, and a kid’s fishing pool. It’s three big days filled with outdoor recreational education and activities at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. Free parking, $6 general admission, kids 12 and under free. For complete daily hours and more information, visit the event website.

 

Photo of birthday cake.Feb 16th Travel back to when it all started; the Oregon Statehood Celebration.The Monteith Historical Society invites you to a day of fun in Historic Downtown Albany to celebrate Oregon’s 160th birthday. Join us between 11:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., for family-friendly activities, trolley tours throughout Albany’s Historic Districts and of course, enjoy birthday cake to celebrate Oregon history.This event is free and open to the public. Click here to view the (subject to change) schedule of events PDF.

Feb 16th through March 2nd Visit Albany’s performing arts theater, (Albany Civic Theater) for this play full of comedy—“Daddy’s Girl.” A widower for 25 years is served a full plate of comic chaos when his deceased wife, a talking portrait on the wall, enlists the services of an angel to reunite Benard with their long, lost daughter, leading to two possible candidates. For performance dates, times and tickets, telephone 541-967-8140 or visit the theater’s website at CivicTicketing

Feb 21st, 22nd, 23rd, and 24th Woof woof! Don’t miss the Linn County Kennel Club Dog Show at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. Come see all the AKC breeds—from hound to poodle—they’ll be prancing around the ring and competing in agility and obedience challenges. The show runs daily, so check the schedule out on the Linn County Kennel Club website.

Feb 23rd Looking for fun activities with the littles? The Heritage Mall Kids Club meets on Saturday the 23rd from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Become a part of the club and get access to exclusive events, gifts, and participate in awesome fun and craft activities. The club is held in the Fun Zone on the backside of the mall. For more information telephone 541-967-8238 or visit heritagemallKidsClub

An Oregon truffle feast

A festival of intersecting food trails

What do wild Oregon grown and harvested truffles have in common with James Beard and Albany, Oregon? Quite a bit as it turns out—and the recent Oregon Truffle Feast at Sybaris Bistro illustrates the connection perfectly.

Image of a pair of man's hands with dirt on them holding out a handful of Oregon wild trufflesMaster cook James Beard was a writer, teacher, and champion of American cuisine. Born in Portland, Oregon, Beard was a big fan of Oregon’s truffles that at times, are dismissed by European chefs as “false truffles.” 

Beard was still a young cook when he established his home and career in New York City. He authored cookbooks, became a television cooking show personality, and opened a cooking school in Manhattan (as well as Seaside, Oregon). In the 1950s he was dubbed “… the face and belly of American gastronomy,” as noted by David Kamp in the book The United States of Arugula.

Beard’s legacy for cooking with fresh local and seasonal ingredients was handed down to many a talented chef after he passed away in 1985. His personal home in New York City became part of a working foundation that showcases talented chefs and regional American cooking. 

To cook at James Beard House is an honor for chefs—and Sybaris Bistro’s owner, Matt Bennett, is no exception.

An Oregon Truffle Feast

Chef Bennett was invited for his third appearance at Beard House this January, where he served his unique interpretation of Pacific Northwest Cuisine—building a seven course menu featuring wild Oregon truffles.

In preparation for the New York dinner, Bennett and his team prepared and hosted two Albany, Oregon-based suppers to coincide with Oregon’s Truffle Festival. Both dinners were sold out almost as soon as they were announced.

Menus for the Albany and James Beard House dinners were similar with minor variations. They both featured a series of gastronomical delights such as hazelnut foie gras with black truffle, black truffle miso marinated black cod, double white truffle pheasant breast with truffle buttered cabbage, and the pièce de résistance: a black truffle pot de creme with hazelnut oil gelato and truffle and hazelnut streusel. 

All ingredients, including wine pairings, were sourced by Bennett, his wife Janel and staff. They were transported by the Sybaris team in a series of coolers shipped in place of personal luggage. Carefully watched over and guarded, the truffles, black cod, pheasant, Dungeness crab, and Oregon grown vegetables safely arrived in New York.

A local culinary genius

AVA was lucky enough to have a seat at Sybaris’ truffle feast. Chef Bennett regaled diners with tales about Oregon truffles, the reasons behind the menu he created, and a bit about James Beard’s gastronomical history and the famous house where his truffle feast will be served.

We delighted not only in Sybaris’ ambience, with its enormous fireplace and cozy crackling fire, exposed brick walls, plank tables, starched napkins and stellar tableside service, but in chef’s creativity and delicious sense of humor.

A sometimes overlooked ingredient (pig’s foot!) was used to construct a sausage-like croquette with wild mushrooms and white truffle verjus. Bennett’s unusual selection was a tongue and cheek homage to the French method that utilizes pigs to harvest truffles. Bennett is known for playing with ingredients and creating dishes that are metaphors for their inspiration. 

Sybaris Bistro’s dinner menus change monthly, featuring locally sourced fresh ingredients in season. It’s no wonder Bennett captured the attention of the James Beard Foundation—he warm-heartedly embraces the core Beard value to cook with what is available within reach. 

If you want to experience Sybaris in a Beard-like manner, stay tuned to their Facebook and website. Bennett and his culinary team create special themed dinners to celebrate holidays with limited dining events such as “A Dickens Dinner” or Valentines Day. These menus typically feature multiple courses with additional wine pairings. They’re a great way to jump into Bennett’s “style de cuisine” and either celebrate the end to an extended weekend or start one out.

Whatever draws you to Albany, a visit to Sybaris Bistro should definitely be part of your travel itinerary.

*Blog content copyright 2019 by AVA, written by Maddie MacGregor

What to know if you go

Although not required for regular dinner service, reservations are advised. Sybaris is enormously popular with the locals as much as with culinary travelers. Specially themed dinner events almost always sell out ahead of time, so reserve early for holidays or farm-to-table or Thanksgiving benefits. 

Sybaris is located at 442 First Ave W, in Albany, Oregon. The bistro is closed Sundays and Mondays, and open from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Telephone 541-928-8157 for reservations. Check out the monthly menus (gluten-free included) on their website at https://sybarisbistro.com

All sewn up – the 2019 Willamette Valley Quilt Show

Photo of the first Willamette Valley Quilt Show in 2018, showing quilts hanging on display in the Linn County Fairgrounds exhibit hall.

The Second Annual Willamette Valley Quilting Show

Tradition. Family. Love. These are a few of the things that come to mind when you tuck the kids into bed under a cozy handmade quilt. Quilts are one of the most-prized family heirlooms—works of folk-art in patterns as mysterious as corn mazes and groundbreaking artistry and colorful innovation. We Americans pride ourselves on a rich legacy of quilt-making and design, so it’s not surprising quilt festivals are one of the most popular events across the US, including Oregon.

The Albany quilt show takes shape

photograph of a traditional quilt on display at the 2018 Willamette Valley Quilt Show at the Linn Fairgrounds, Albany OregonSeveral years ago, two local business owners teamed up to plan a winter quilt show. The Rich family (of Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum, and their staff) and the owner of Albany’s Bolts to Blocks (Barb and Pete Schoonover), formed a festival board, and launched the first Willamette Valley Quilting Show in 2018. Their idea was to schedule the event during the rainy season—they figured it would be the perfect way to bust through any post-holiday blues and foster the creative process.

Last year’s quilt show was a rousing success and attracted over 2,300 quilt lovers to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. There were over 300 quilts on display, numerous vendors, classes and demonstrations. Although there were a few hiccups during the inaugural venue, organizers were encouraged by the community’s reaction and immediately started planning an even bigger and better show.

At the 2019 show (February 1st through February 2nd), the number of vendors has nearly doubled and will include booths filled with tools and equipment, handcrafted items such as handbags and scarves, quilting kits and templates, fabric, clothing, home decor, and of course—the amazing display of quilts.

Quilting contest

While many national shows offer prizes for quilt contestants, the 2019 Willamette Quilting Festival will award a $3,000 Babylock Soprano sewing machine as a grand prize, and a “Mayor’s Choice Award,” from Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa and the Albany Visitors Association. This special Albany-themed gift basket will be stuffed with goodies—including a Sybaris gift certificate, fabulous local wine from Springhill Cellars, Albany Historic Carousel free-ride coupons, tickets to a performance at Albany Community Theater, an Albany Art Studio gift certificate, and much much more! 

In addition to the quilt contest and display, show attendees can enter raffles for special prizes by bringing non-perishable food donations for ‘Fish of Albany’ or purchasing additional raffle tickets. Admission to the show is $7 and tickets can either be purchased onsite or online.

Classes and demonstrations

Photo of a group of people listening and watching a sewing demonstration at the 2018 Willamette Valley Quilt Show in Albany, OregonWhether you are an experienced quilter or just starting out, workshops will be offered throughout Friday and Saturday. Instruction topics include: using Oregon-made templates by Westalee, ruler work, embroidery, fabric tote creation, wallet construction, quilt design, and laser-cut appliqué.

On Thursday, January 31st, a special seven hour pre-show workshop will be taught by the show’s “2019 Featured Quilter” Peggy Gelbrich. Gelbrich will guide participants in creating a full-sized “Diamonds and Arrowheads” quilt. Brand new sewing machines will be available for class participants to use. Students can either bring their own fabric and materials or purchase a kit from Bolts to Blocks. The workshop fee is $35 for the day-long class. (Kits are an additional price.)

All classes require registration, so please contact Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum of Albany to reserve your space. (See contact information in the “What to know if you go” section.)

Demonstrations and presentations conducted throughout the main hall are free with the price of general admission.

What’s in store for the future of the Willamette Valley Quilting Show? Daniel Rich of Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum shared his hopes that the show will “offer more and more classes, presentations and appearances by quilting world ‘celebrities,’ and continue to promote artistic quilting and quality sewing throughout the community.” We think that’s a “darn” good idea!

What to know if you go

Photo of a traditional quilt on display at the 2018 Willamette Valley Quilt Show in Albany, OregonAdmission and hours The 2019 Willamette Valley Quilting Show runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both Friday, February 1st and Saturday, February 2nd. The show is held in the main exhibit hall at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center at 3700 Knox Butte Rd in Albany, Oregon. Admission is $7, parking is free. Tickets may be purchased at the show or pre-paid online.

Pre-show activities on Thursday, and classes on Friday and Saturday require registration. Contact Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum in Albany for workshop pricing and times. For more information telephone 541-926-4842.

Staying over If you are traveling to the show and would like a special Albany Visitors Association rate, connect with our featured hotels, the Best Western Plus Prairie Inn or Quality Inn & Suites—ask for the “AVA Rate” when reserving your room.

For other great choices, connect to our website’s “Sweet Dreams” hotel and motel directory.

Food and fun While at the show, enjoy amazing food truck selections from Grindz Hawaiian, Natalie’s Mexi-Kart, N’reener’s (pub grub), Southpaw’s Pizza, and more. An onsite espresso bar will be operating within the main exhibit hall.

For ideas about where to meet friends for dinner after the show, make sure to visit the Albany Visitors Association booth in the main exhibit hall. We’ll have restaurant guides, city maps, and everything you need for a great night or two on the town. We can also recommend places for breakfast and brunch, desserts, and more. Check our “Spirited Cuisine” page for a full list. 

You can also download the “Albany Explorer App” for iPhone or Android. Simply search for the Albany Explorer App in Google Play or Apple App Stores. The app is jam-packed with fun things to do.

As to fun, no trip to Albany is complete without a visit to the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum. Ride tokens are $2 each and admission is free.

We also recommend the Albany Regional Museum and Monteith House Museum to learn more about Albany’s history and culture, as well as self-guided tours through three National Historic Districts. Visit our “Dive Into History” web page for information on Albany’s historic roots.

See you at the show!

Winners – 2018 holiday light contest

photo of a historic Victorian period house at night, lit with Christmas lights and lighted yard decorations for the 2018 Albany Oregon Night Time Magic Program

Albany Visitors Association is proud to announce the winners of our 2018 Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Program. The winning displays can be seen at the following addresses:

“Traditional & Eclectic,” 2110 Geary St SE, Albany, OR 97322 

“Christmas Joy,” 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322 

“Animals’ Christmas Party,” 531 Fairmont Drive NE, Albany, OR 97322 

“Candy Cane Come Back,” 3522 Pacific Blvd SW, Albany, Oregon 97321 

“Holiday Greetings in Historic Albany,” 401 Main St SE, Albany, OR 97321 

“Sharing Holiday Cheer Inside and Out,” 503 West First Ave, Albany OR 97321

“Traditional Christmas,” 222 4th Ave SE

 

Winners receive an awards certificate and a $50 gift card to Albany’s first-run movie house, The Pix Theatre. Photos of the winning homes will also be on display at the Pix. Download a PDF of the locations map or stop by AVA at 110 3rd SE (on the corner of 3rd and Lyon) and ask for a printed copy.

Selected winning entries to the Night Time Magic Program are determined by a panel of judges who conduct drive-by sightings between December 10th and 15th. Homes must have been formally entered into the contest.

This is the 31st year that Albany Visitors Association has helped to make the holidays bright with this community-wide contest. If you are interested in being a part of the 2019 contest next December, contact the Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave SE, 541-928-0911 or sign up for our e-newsletter to receive future announcements. 

Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program, without your efforts, this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.

Don’t forget to visit some of the winners from last year (list below) to see what they might be up to this year. We heard that the Piedmont Avenue cul-de-sac isa study in motion and color!

Holiday Light Award winners 2017

2017 

  1. Piedmont Christmas Cul-de-sac, 6127 Piedmont Pl SW, Albany, OR 97321 
  2. It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year, 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322
  3. Let There be Light, 797 Fairmont Drive NE, Albany, OR 97322
  4. Candy Cane Colored Cape Cod Colonial, 1122 11th Ave SW Albany, Oregon 97321
  5. Holiday Greetings in Downtown Albany, No Dinx Inc., 139 SE 1st Ave, Albany, OR 97321

It’s huge – Christmas Storybook Land

Photo of child about five years of age, looking at Christmas miniature display of a snowy village with penguins and polar bears in hats and scarves. The display is one of hundreds set up annually at Albany Oregon's Christmas Storybook Land event.

What exactly is Christmas Storybook Land? Recently, Alex Paul, Linn County Reporter for the Democrat Herald, wrote this article about the 2018 show. The free family event takes place every year at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany, Oregon. Read on to discover more and plan your next holiday trip to the Willamette Valley.

The 42nd Christmas Storybook Land

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center, because hundreds of volunteers have been working like Santa’s elves to create the 42nd annual Christmas Storybook Land.

Thousands of colorful holiday lights have been strung on cables 10 feet in the air, some 1,300 Christmas trees donated by Weyerhaeuser are standing tall and more than 450 bears of all sizes and shapes have emerged from hibernation to welcome more than 40,000 guests over the next two weeks.

“We keep growing every year,” said volunteer and board member Joyce Moreira. “We’re working against the clock right now, but we’ll make it by Thursday night when we have a special viewing for volunteers and sponsors. We call it our VIP night. We open for the public Friday at 6:30 p.m.”

Moreira said she became a volunteer in 2005 after she retired from a 35-year career in the business division at Linn-Benton Community College.

“I live down the street and I used to bring my son to Christmas Storybook Land every year,” she said. “We are seeing third-generations coming now.”

For many years, Jim Stinson of Corvallis spent Monday through Friday in the cab of a semitruck hauling lumber products to southern California and glass back to Oregon and Washington.

But now the bearded Stinson is more grounded in the mid-valley and says he enjoys seeing the faces of children light up when they see the colorful Storybook Land displays. And, since the man with the white beard looks good in a bright red suit and cap, he gets to see those faces up close.

“I just love kids,” said Stinson, whose wife Linda also volunteers.

“Of course, Santa’s House is my favorite display. I think kids make the world go round.”

On Wednesday afternoon, he was busy “sweeping up,” just one of many daily chores needed to keep progress moving forward.

Volunteer Faye Creecy said this year’s overall theme is “Star Wars” and will feature a new display: local kids dressed as characters from the franchise and a visit by the Cloud City Garrison of the 501st Legion and Kashyyyk Base, with the help of Concordia Clan of the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club and Astromech R2 Builders Club.

The Star Wars re-enactors will be at Christmas Storybook Land from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 9.

Creecy said children will especially enjoy the Grinch scene, the new moving saw at the Paul Bunyan display, and the numerous costumed characters walking around.

“The Our Town display is really coming together,” she said. “It’s really good-looking.”

Creecy said volunteers are especially proud of a new 9-foot train covered with lights and features moving wheels. It sits in the courtyard.

Tuesday through Friday, children through third grade (with their parents) are encouraged to come visit Santa and Mrs. Claus from 9:00  to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

Last year, nearly 4,000 children took part.

Volunteer and former board member Monte James was busy setting up Christmas trees Wednesday and said he has been a volunteer for about 15 years. He became one at the suggestion of Christmas Storybook Land co-founder Don Albright.

“I used to attend Christmas Storybook Land when I was a kid at the old fairgrounds,” James said.

James said he put up about 500 trees and helped string the row-upon-row of metal cables that hold lights for all of the displays.

“He’s an all-around helper,” Creecy said of James’ skills.

She also reminded families to bring their cameras.

It takes 11 semitrailers to hold all of the scenery, costumes, lights and other equipment used to make Christmas Storybook Land come to life.

Last year, more than 27,000 food items were donated to Fish of Albany and 40,280 people attended the event over its two-week run.

The all-volunteer organization is headed up by a board of directors including: President: Carol Wood; Vice-President: Bonnie Brown; Secretary: Joyce Moreira; Treasurer: Teresa Stout; Brian Baker, Marcie Barksdale, Bonnie Brown, Terry Burke, Tami Chaput, Faye Creecy, Karen Dahlinger, Sara Frazer, Tia Gilbert, Brad Hamlin, Derral Hunt, Kymberly McPhie, Joyce Moreira, Linda Morris, Lisa Muller, Richard Muller, Kimberly Samard, Paul Schmierer, Patty Skinner and Teresa Stout.

The Linn County Fair & Expo Center hosts the annual event at no charge.

*From an article by Alex Paul (abbreviated) published November 29, 2018

What to know if you go

CHRISTMAS STORYBOOK LAND

Where: Linn County Fair & Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Road

Admission: Free, but non-perishable food items; toys for Marine Corps Toys For Tots, accepted

Hours: Nov. 30-Dec. 14: Monday through Thursday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m; Fridays, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14: 2 to 8:30 p.m. Wheelchairs and assistance can be provided.

More information: www.christmasstorybookland.org.

Holiday Night Time Magic Light Contest – 2018

photo of Christmas lights outdoors, with yard crammed full of decorations and colors.

Once again, the Albany Visitors Association is helping to make the holiday season bright by sponsoring the 31st Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Program. Residents are encouraged to enter this contest for the best home/business light displays.

Three winners will be selected and one group entry will be awarded the “Best Neighborly Effort.”  Winners will be entitled to bragging rights for the entire year, and one of three fabulous prizes as determined by the prize committee. Be a part of Historic Albany’s “Magic!”   

The contest is an annual tradition to help the city celebrate the season and create holiday lights for residents and visitors to enjoy. Participants are encouraged to share the source for their inspiration such as: family tradition; favorite holiday book, movie or special; music, dance or art; special collection; just lights, lights and more lights—the more the merrier!; or your own idea or inspiration for creating the display.

Rules

  1. Entries must be within the city limits of Albany.
  2. Homeowners are encouraged to use lights to illuminate their yard decorations.
  3. Lights need to be on from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. December 1, 2018 – January 1, 2019. (If  entry form submitted after Dec 1st, you have until December 9th to display lights.)
  4. Entries for “Best Neighborly Effort” must have three or more partners in a concentrated area. 
  5. Entry/Nomination Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on December 9, 2018.

Entry forms can be picked up (or requested via e-mail: info@albanyvisitors.com) and returned to Albany Visitors Association at 110 3rd Ave SE, Albany, OR 9732. Or download an entry form and return per instructions above.

Winners will be announced by December 15, 2018 and prize distribution made soon after.

People wishing to drive the route to look at the entries can pick up a list of participants and a map at the Albany Visitors Association beginning December 15, 2018. Lights will be up through January 1, 2019. 

Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program, without your efforts this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.

Previous Holiday Light Award Winners

2017 

  1. Piedmont Christmas Cul-de-sac, 6127 Piedmont Pl SW, Albany, OR 97321 
  2. It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year, 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322
  3. Let There be Light, 797 Fairmont Drive NE, Albany, OR 97322
  4. Candy Cane Colored Cape Cod Colonial, 1122 11th Ave SW Albany, Oregon 97321
  5. Holiday Greetings in Downtown Albany, No Dinx Inc., 139 SE 1st Ave, Albany, OR 97321

2016

  1. 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322 
  2. 2035 Jefferson St SE, Albany, OR 97321
  3. 255 Country Club Ln NW, Albany OR 97321
  4. 1327 NW North Albany Rd, Albany, Oregon 97321

2015

  1. 222 Fourth Avenue SE, Albany OR 97321
  2. 1000 Lincoln St SW, Albany OR 97321
  3. 2905 Lawnridge St SW, Albany OR 97321
  4. 140 First Avenue West, Albany, Oregon 97321

2014

  1. 627 Broadalbin SW, Albany OR 97321
  2. 4160 Evergreen Street SE, Albany OR 97322
  3. 2110 Geary Street SE, Albany OR 97322
  4. 2670 Kingston Way NW, Albany OR 97321
  5. Washington Street houses, block 600

2013

  1. 514 NE 13th Ave.
  2. Santa on the rooftop view from Bridge & Water Ave.
  3. 5th Avenue SW, block 800
  4. 630 Seventh Avenue SW

17 ways to celebrate the holidays in Albany

Image of two large draft horses pulling a covered wagon through the snowy streets of Albany, Oregon at night.

Capturing the spirit of giving and sharing is what the holidays are all about. We’d love for you to visit us this season, and hope the following highlights from our best December events will help you plan your trip.

December 1st – 10th Win Free Tickets Facebook Contest – to Christmas Caroling by Horse-Drawn Wagon You have 10 days (starting on December 1st) to enter AVA’s Facebook contest and win a pair of tickets (up to $20 value) to the Christmas Caroling by Horse-Drawn Wagon event on the night of December 21st or 22nd at 8:00 p.m. The rules are easy! (1) Like our AVA Facebook page (not just the contest post), (2) like the contest post dated December 1st, and (3) tag a friend in the post comment section. Winners will be selected from the comments by random drawing and will have until December 14th to pick up their tickets from our office. We will notify the winners on our Facebook page. This is a pretty cool prize because the event is sold out every year. Click here for our Facebook page.

Image of child looking at cute animal figurines dressed in Christmas hats and scarves at Albany Oregon's Christmas Storybook LandDecember 1st through 14th Christmas Storybook Land is Albany’s best family Christmas show. Held at the Linn County Fair & Exposition Center on Knox Butte Rd, this fantasy world is an enormous Christmas forest wonderland with over 110 scenes of characters from nursery rhymes, children’s stories, and family movies, two elaborate model train displays, a Victorian village, plus the North Pole with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Visit the event website for complete hours and more information at www.ChristmasStorybookLand.org

December 1st, 8th, and 15th Pictures with Santa at the Albany Carousel UPDATED, ADDITIONAL DAYS ADDED: Three Sundays, Dec 2nd, 9th, and 16th have been added to this event!! (All times are from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) On three Saturdays this month, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., bring your own camera and snag a family photo with Santa at this free event. All are invited. Although this event is free, donations to the non-profit carousel are welcome!

December 1st Sick Town Derby This family-friendly event at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center is for all ages. There will be food vendors, a beer garden, Sick Town merchandise, half-time fun and more! Tickets cost $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Doors open at 5 p.m. for Live Roller Derby Action at 6:00 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit the Derby Dames website https://www.sicktownderbydames.com

SOLD OUT!!!! December 2nd Pioneer Children’s Christmas Party at Monteith House Celebrate the Christmas season the way the pioneers would have done in the 1800s by attending this children’s party at the Monteith House. Ages 5 though 16 can make pioneer Christmas crafts, decorate the Christmas tree at the Monteith House, sing carols, eat cookies, and ride on a horse-drawn wagon in the “Twice Around Downtown Christmas Parade” at 5:00 p.m. The cost is $15 per child and $10 for additional siblings. Reserve your child’s spot today by calling the Albany Visitors Association at 541-928-0911. Space is limited.

Photo of horses with carriage and trolley with Christmas decorations.December 2nd Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade The Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade winds its way through the streets of Historic Downtown Albany on Sunday at 5 p.m. rain or shine. Santa often arrives on an antique firetruck! The parade starts at the corner of Broadalbin and First, heads west down First to Calapooia, heads south on Calapooia to Second, heads east on Second to Broadalbin, heads north on Broadalbin to First, and then around again—ending up at Two Rivers Market parking lot on the corner of Second and Ferry. Immediately following the parade, the Community Tree is lit. Telephone the Albany Downtown Association at 541-928-2469 for more information.

December 6th Festival of Wreaths and Auction Catch the perfect holiday wreath at the Albany Carousel; this great fundraiser runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This is an adult event. Admission price includes wine, a special carousel wine glass, hors d’oeuvres, and live music; plus silent and live auctions—all part of the $20 package. Tickets available at the Carousel Gift Shop or telephone 541-497-2934.

December 7th First Friday in Downtown Albany  Get your art on and do a little holiday shopping in downtown Albany. Gallery Calapooia will be filled with wonderful gift ideas, plus you can meet the artists and enjoy complimentary wine and appetizers from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm. Telephone the gallery at 541-971-5701 for more information. At Urban Ag, shop their extended First Friday hours until 8:00 p.m. They’ll have plenty of tools and other gear waiting to be plucked for your picky gardening friends. Gift cards are available as well. Visit Urban Ag at 124 SW Ellsworth. As you make your way through downtown, be sure to visit other participating shops and restaurants, including The Natty Dresser and Sweet Red Bistro.

December 7th (other dates: 8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 22nd) The Albany Community Theater presents the live performance of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” This new dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ classic, set in the land of Narnia, faithfully recreates the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the exciting, never-to-be-forgotten Narnia. This story of love, faith, courage and giving, with its triumph of good over evil, is a true celebration of life. Visit ACT’s website for performance times and ticket information at http://www.albanycivic.org/shows/the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe/

Image of cast from original classic movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."December 8th Free Christmas Movie Albany Downtown Association (ADA) and the Pix Theatre will partner to show a free classic Christmas movie for the whole family. (Movie title will be announced closer to the date.) Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and the movie starts at 10:00 a.m. Come early, especially if you are a large group, as the theater fills up quickly! This is a free event and first come first seated. Please bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Salvation Army Food Drive if you can. For questions, telephone the ADA at 541-928-2469.

December 9th Annual Christmas Parlour Tour of Historic Homes and Buildings From 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. the 39th year of the tour will feature beautifully decorated historic houses, museums, churches, historic library, and a downtown loft. This is one of only two tours offered per year that include the interiors of historic homes. Father Christmas will be out with an enormous bag of treats and the Monteith House and Museum will be lit by oil lamp and fire-light, warming your spirit. Chafin Farms’ beautiful draft horses will merrily transport you around the historic districts with sleigh bells jingling, and the antique trolley will transport you back to a different era. Tour participants will be encouraged to ring the church bell at Whitespires Church and the fireplace will be crackling at the Carnegie Library. This jolly holiday event includes light refreshments and loads of happiness all for the ticket price of $15. Tickets can be purchased ahead of the tour online or the day of the tour, at Albany Visitors Association. Telephone 541-928-0911 for more information.

Image of two large draft horses pulling a covered wagon through the snowy streets of Albany, Oregon at night.December 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd Christmas Caroling by Horse-Drawn Wagon If you didn’t win tickets during our Facebook contest, don’t worry, you still might be able to snag tickets by calling our office at 541-928-0911. There are several time slots throughout the event evenings to join in this wonderful Albany tradition. The family-friendly event costs $10 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 12. Call soon, as we expect this event to sell out.

December 15th Monster Truck Thunder For the first time ever, the Linn County Fairgrounds will host ground-pounding Monster Trucks. This wild action auto show is perfect for kids (both adult and actual kiddos) who love things that go “zoom-zoom, boom-boom!” Two show-times are available on the 15th: 2:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. All advance tickets receive a free Pit Party pass ($10 Value). For tickets visit https://monstertruckthunder.ticketleap.com/.

December 15th Shop ’Til You Drop Still have important Santa duties to attend to? Why not let the kids go to a safe Christmas pajama party with movie, crafts, games and treats while you finish your holiday shopping, wrapping, or enjoy a rare parents’ evening out. The Mid-Willamette Family YMCA is hosting this activity from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The cost is $15 for Y members and $17 for non-members. For information telephone 541-928-0071.

December 22nd (and other dates throughout December and other months) Live Music at Calapooia Brewing Company The guest artist for the 22nd is Mikael.  Born and raised in Oregon, Mikael creates music with hints of soul and blues driven guitar riffs, and adds vivid story telling to create a compelling performance. For more information about other musical guests and dates and times, visit: Calapooia Brewing

Photo of historic Whitespires Church exterior against a blue skyDecember 24th Whitespires Church Christmas Caroling Sing-along Come and celebrate the Christmas Eve spirit with family and friends singing along to classic carols inside historic Whitespires Church. All are welcome to attend. The sing-along starts at 7:00 p.m. and lasts until 8:00 p.m. The church is located at 510 SW 5th Ave in Albany. Telephone 541-928-2469 for more information.

December 31st New Year’s Eve Hoof N’ Holler Bullriding and Dance Wild West Events & Sweeney Promotions invites you to the biggest New Year’s Eve Event of its kind. Come on out to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center to enjoy this fun event. Complete with pyrotechnics, special effects, heated arena, concert sound and lighting. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29 pre-paid or $35 at the door (cash only at door). Online tickets: http://hoofnholler.com. Stay at one of Albany’s newly remodeled hotel properties nearby, and you won’t have to worry about driving. (See below!)

Bonus: Hotel Special Rate! Get ready for the holidays! The Phoenix Inn Suites is running their “Winter Special” from November 25th through January 10th. Your suite of choice is $79 (plus applicable taxes) per night. Book direct and mention the “Winter Special” to receive these rates: 541-926-5696, or visit AVAs “Sweet Dreams” web page for information about other Albany hotels.