Help save Albany’s iconic Waverly Duck

duck01Remember the giant Albany duck? For many of us, the Waverly Lake Duck is an Albany icon.

On a personal note, I always took visiting friends and family to see the duck… and if you have fond memories too, now is your opportunity to bring the duck “back to life.”

The City of Albany has started a Go Fund Me campaign to repair the duck and get her (or him) back on the water. If you can’t donate, Mayor Sharon Kanopa is organizing a volunteer work party.

You can sign up to volunteer or donate on the Go Fund Me Duck Campaign page. Let’s get the work done in time for summer!

AVA volunteers visit Linn County sites

March 2017 Tour photo8Earlier this week, Albany Visitors Association took our volunteer staff on a tour of Linn County. What you may not know about AVA volunteers is that they are the unsung ambassadors of many an Albany and Linn County business.

AVA volunteers are many times the first people travelers meet as they drive down the I-5 corridor. When visitors stop at the rest area closest to us (Santiam River), they see a scaled-down replica of one of Albany’s historic Victorian homes. And inside that little blue house? AVA volunteers serve coffee, hot chocolate and cookies, and help travelers find the perfect place to shop, and stay and play.

March 2017 Tour photo4Don Vance, AVA’s Volunteer Coordinator, organizes the annual tour as a way for volunteers to learn more about our city and surrounding area, as well as thank them for their service.

This year the volunteers toured Linn County and were treated to lunch at the Boulder Falls Resort in Lebanon, at the 1847 Bar & Grill. They also visited the Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary and Roaring River Fish Hatchery in Scio, the Mallard Creek Golf Course in Lebanon, Sankey Park in Sweet Home (the site of the wildly popular Oregon Jamboree), and ended their day at Sweet Home’s Marks Ridge Winery for a bit of wine tasting.

Marks Ridge 1Please join us in thanking our volunteers for their time, energy, and knowledge. We recognize that their contributions help fulfill AVA’s mission to serve Albany’s visitors. If you or someone you know are interested in volunteering for us, contact Don at the Albany Visitors Association in Downtown Albany.

2017 Albany Photo Contest Awards

dan_batemanWe invite you to join us this coming Friday the 17th (St. Paddy’s Day) to celebrate the winning entries in the 2017 AVA Photo Contest. The photographers will be awarded ribbons and their images on display on AVA’s walls. It promises to be a fun event, so please come and see the amazing work of your Albany neighbors. We will be here from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. with conversation and refreshments.

Party in the Path – Total Solar Eclipse

eclipse_series_top_webIn case you haven’t heard, a rare total solar eclipse (TSE) is scheduled to occur on Monday, August 21, 2017. Oregon is considered to be one of the premier viewing states as the TSE makes its path across the nation, and communities across the Willamette Valley are gearing up for amazing parties—and Albany, Oregon invites you to join us for the “Party in the Path.”

The Oregon TSE pathway

ISS006-E-5064_shadowOn the beach in Oregon, just north of Newport, the shadow will first touch land at about 10:15 a.m., and the coast will experience a full minute and fifty seconds of totality.  The actual centerline of the eclipse path will hit solid ground six seconds later, and plunge Lincoln Beach and Depoe Bay into darkness for one minute and 58 seconds!

It will take only two minutes for the shadow to race eastward toward its first date with a large population of folks who will be breathlessly awaiting its arrival. Salem, Dallas, Albany, Corvallis, Lebanon, Philomath, McMinnville, and Woodburn, will experience various lengths of totality based on their varying distances from the centerline.

Albany’s total darkness will last for one minute and 52 seconds, at approximately 10:17 a.m. However, the eclipse itself will take about two hours from start to finish. And it’s during this active phase of the sun obscuring the moon, that you will need eye protection. (More on that later!)

Important informational video from Governor Kate Brown

Watch this video produced by Travel Oregon. It is full of information from our emergency services providers, including Oregon State Patrol, Dept. of Forestry, Oregon Department of Transportation, and others. You may have your questions answered about some of Oregon’s laws in regards to parking for viewing or forest and state parks rules and regulations during our peak fire season. Stay safe!

Join Us in Albany For Viewing Parties

Linn Benton Community College
The Linn-Benton Community College is hosting “Totality Inspired,” a two day Solar Eclipse Festival. Tent camping, star gazing, entertainment and activities Sunday, with breakfast for campers and eclipse viewing Monday. Camping: $40 per site for LBCC students, $100 per site for public, up to 4 per site. Sunday activities only: $5 for non-campers. Eclipse viewing is open and free. Camping reservations and details at linnbenton.edu/eclipse.


Albany Airport American Legion Party
Albany’s American Legion Post 10 is hosting a viewing party at the Albany Regional Airport on August 21st, starting at 6:00 a.m. Ticket-holders will be treated to a hot burrito breakfast, a comparative T-shirt, eclipse viewing glasses, and other amenities. For more information on ticket prices and event details, telephone the Legion at 541-926-0127, or visit their event Facebook page.

Total Eclipse of the Mall
Heritage Mall, Albany’s premier shopping center, is hosting a two-night stay for RV’s and trailers. Your three-day pass includes parking adjacent to the TSE viewing area, up to four pairs of eclipse viewing glasses, live music concerts in the evenings, exclusive shopping discounts, Fun Zone activities for children, and more. For ticket sales and more information, telephone 541-967-8238 or visit Heritage Mall’s Eclipse website.

Scio “Sol Wink Out” celebration
The covered bridge capital of the west, Scio is putting together a great three day celebration. There are multiple campsite opportunities, activities and fun events that will run from August 18th to the 22nd. There’s a dinner and dance on Saturday the 19th, featuring vintage rock and bluegrass, and a Chicken Dinner and Dance on Sunday the 20th, featuring live western swing music.

Great Solar Eclipse connections

For other information about viewing sites and events taking place across Oregon, visit Travel Oregon’s solar eclipse web page for the most up-to-date happenings.

Eclipse Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I obtain lodging in Albany?
A: Over a year ago, when it became widely know that Oregon is prime viewing territory, hotel rooms were snapped up. State parks and other camping venues were also reserved. It is almost impossible to find RV camping and parking across the Valley, but we do have a few recommendations:Danielson_beadsTSE20021204

  • Camp and RV sites:
    Lebanon, Oregon has dry campsites with limited RV hook-ups. For more information, contact Ronn Passmore at 541-990-0240 or email Ronn. The Lebanon Chamber of Commerce is also accepting informational calls at 541-258-7164. Benton County: Benton County is providing 150 tent sites & 12 dry RV sites at Adair County Park. For more information visit their website.
    Albany, OR: Mighty Oaks Children’s Therapy 
    is opening up their grounds at 3615 Spicer Drive SE for dry tent camping. You must make a reservation. Telephone 541-967-7551. Linn County Fair & Expo Center has full RV hook-up sites. Please visit the RV Booking site operated by the fairgrounds for more information.
  • Other campsite information may be found on our “where to stay” web page.
  • Hotels:
    Although most of our Albany area hotels are reporting there are no vacancies for the eclipse, there may be cancellations, so don’t despair. Connect to local lodging properties on our hotel web page to find their contact information.
  • Albany area RV Parks:
  • Digital concierge:
    • Air BnB lists properties in the local Albany, Oregon vicinity. Some are within town, some in the countryside, and range from a single room to an entire house or cottage. Check it out.

Q: What other communities close to Albany are hosting events?
A: 
The list is quite extensive, as many of the prime viewing areas (regions where the view is unobstructed by trees and buildings) have planned to make an all-out celebration of the TSE. The best sources for the Willamette Valley are:

  • eclips7Travel Salem: Our tourism partners at Travel Salem have established a clearinghouse for all TSE related events and information. Need more thoughts on where to stay? Want to know where to find an amazing TSE morning brunch? And what about a cocktail after a hard day of moon watching? It’s all at Travel Salem’s TSE Headquarters.

  • Travel Oregon: The Oregon Tourism Commission, DBA Travel Oregon (TO) and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) have partnered to help residents and visitors prepare for the TSE experience. TO is producing an Eclipse Guidebook with helpful tips and resources, which will include a pair of eclipse viewing glasses. The guide is set to release in early April. Visit Travel Oregon’s website for more TSE information and connections.
  • Visit Corvallis: The folks at Visit Corvallis are helping to spread the word about TSE related events via their online calendar. If you have news that is TSE-related, visit their website for more information on how to submit your event.
  • City of Lebanon: Cheadle Lake Park will be the site of four-days of celebration with train excursions, a concert, food vendors, and TSE presentations by educators. The event is still in the planning stages so be sure to check back for more information as the summer approaches.
  • Historic Brownsville: Beautiful Historic Brownsville is home to the annual Bi-Mart Willamette Country Music Festival, featuring some of the biggest artists in country music. The festival is schedule over the weekend prior to the eclipse, and since the eclipse occurs on Monday morning following the festival’s final show, the WCMF organizers have planned a special extended campout for festival-goers, featuring an “Eclipse Breakfast.” The fee is $25 and you receive a pair of eclipse-viewing glasses, a fireman’s breakfast, and will be treated to music and entertainment. Contact the WCMF organizers for more information and to reserve your ticket. Telephone: 541-345-9263 or visit the WCMF website.
  • Sweet Home: The City of Sweet Home is sponsoring a “Solar Eclipse 3.5 Mile Run.” All ages are welcome to participate. Strollers are welcome, but we ask that pets remain at home. If you are unable to participate in person, we encourage you to join the “Virtual Run.” These simultaneous race events are $25, and include a commemorative medal, chip-timed results, event race bibs, solar eclipse glasses, and Sun Tea and Moon Pies at the finish line! Online registration is available. For more information telephone 541-367-5128.

Q: Where can I find out scientific information for the family?
A: 
We think the following are perfect for educational materials on eclipses, as well as other resources for helping children learn more about this rare Oregon TSE:

  • vin_eclipse4Oregon Museum of Science and Industry: The OMSI website hosts an interactive Google map for the eclipse. Connect to the map.
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Wow! NASA has really outdone themselves on their special 2017 TSE website. A full countdown clock, images, facts, eye safety, and just about everything you need science-wise is available right here.

We’ll be updating this page regularly,  so check back if you don’t see what you’re looking for. Information on Albany’s TSE “Party in the Path” will also be placed on our featured events calendar and in our blogroll. Stay tuned for information on what local restaurants and shops will offer TSE specials, and for collectable merchandise. We hope to see you in Historic Albany for our viewing party.

Q: Are there vineyards in the area that I can visit for wine and eclipse fun?
A: 
Absolutely! You can count on the Willamette Valley (the 2016 Wine Enthusiast #1 Wine Destination Region in the world) for sublime views and amazing varietals. We will update the list below, as information becomes available:

Winery and vineyard special eclipse events

Arcane Cellars ~ Total Eclipse Package
August 20 & 21
22350 Magness Rd. NW, Salem, OR 97304
503-868-7076
www.arcanecellars.com/eclipseevent2017

Brooks Winery Eclipse Event
August 20 & 21
21101 SE Cherry Blossom Lane, Amity, OR 97101
503-435-1278
www.brookswine.com/eclipse

Coria Estates ~ 2017 Solar Eclipse Festival
August 21
8252 Redstone Ave. SE, Salem, Oregon 97306
503-363-0525
www.coriaestates.com

Eola Hills Wine Cellars
August 19 & 21
501 S. Pacific Hwy 99W, Rickreall, OR 97371
503-623-2405 or 800-291-6730
www.eolahillswinery.com

Left Coast Vineyard Stroll Tasting Experience
August 19 & 20
4225 N Pacific Hwy. 99W, Salem, OR 97371
503-831-4916
www.leftcoastcellars.com/events

Solar Eclipse Open House Weekend ~ Willamette Valley Vineyards
August 19 & 20
8800 Enchanted Way, Turner, OR 97392
503-588-9463
www.wvv.com

St. Innocent Winery ~ Eclipse Extravaganza
August 21
Temperance Hill Vineyard
6020 Bethel Heights Rd. NW, Salem, OR 97304
503-378-1526
www.stinnocentwine.com

Vineyard Eclipse Party at Left Coast Cellars
August 21
4225 N Pacific Hwy. 99W, Salem, OR 97371
503-831-4916
www.leftcoastcellars.com/events

Places to take your Valentine

Romantic-Valentines-Dinner-014_thumb1It’s almost that time of year when Cupid visits our fair city. If you procrastinated on what to get your sweetie-pie, perhaps a romantic meal will do the trick. For those desperate to wow someone this Valentines Day, here’s a short list of places to enjoy a fab dinner for two.

BBQ: Does your better half enjoy tickling a rib with you? Do they prefer a quiet night at home with some down-home BBQ? You’ll find it easy to pick up meals to go from BoMack’s BBQ Express in Downtown Albany, complete with traditional sides such as mac ‘n’ cheese, green beans, corn bread, tater salad, and extra sauce. BoMack’s is located at 315 Lyons St. Telephone (541) 791-7058 to ask about their specials.

Wine and Dine: If your significant other loves kitties on the Internet (who doesn’t?) then Cellar Cat in Downtown Albany just might be the cat’s meow. Featuring a bistro atmosphere with “cattitude”—Cellar Cat boasts a unique wine list, seasonal entrees, appetizers, and house-made desserts. They might even light a candle for your big date. Located at 211 1st Avenue, telephone 541-704-0304.

Hungarian: Just tell your handsome hunk that “Momma” is holding a table for you! Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant is located in a historic building in Downtown Albany at 208 2nd Avenue, and the menu is guaranteed to knock your guy’s socks off. Don’t wait until the last minute though, telephone 541-967-9488 for reservations or to inquire about V-Day specials.

Flaming dates dessert and more wine: Granted, you’ll most likely want a little something more solid than dessert, and Sweet Red Bistro and you and your date will appreciate their delectable morsels prepared with love. Located at 208 1st Avenue in Downtown Albany, Sweet Red is cosy and romantically lit. Telephone 541-704-0510 to check on V-Day specialities.

Cocktails and small plates: If you really want to impress that special someone, the Vault 244 Bistro & Lounge in Downtown Albany will tell them you care. From its lush and cozy lounge with a fireplace and classy cocktail bar, your date will be mesmerized. A creative menu featuring locally sourced ingredients, tapas or full dinners, is sure to please event the most discerning palette. It could be the perfect spot to slip a ring box in front of her. Telephone 541-791-9511 for more info. The Vault is located in Historic Downtown Albany at 244 1st Avenue West.

Announcing the 2017 AVA Photo Contest

Bill_OrigerThe time has arrived for all our shutterbugs to polish their lenses and head on out to the great outdoors. It’s the 2017 Albany Visitors Association Photo Contest and you don’t want to miss this great opportunity to have your artistry shared with thousands.

This is your chance to enter your work into several categories that might end up gracing the cover of our largest annual publication, The 2018 Albany Visitors Guide. We also use contest submissions in other publications and advertising that is seen across the US and internationally.

Focus your work on Linn County, Albany (and its many outlaying areas), and the Willamette Valley. We have so much to capture and share with the world about our amazing community and landscape.

In the “technical resources” section below, we’ve provided downloadable forms that contain the rules, image and use release, model release, and the full application to submit with your work. The AVA 2017 Photo Contest also accepts video work, so be sure to fill in the right form.

The deadline for all submissions is February 17, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. Submissions will be accepted at any time before that date and time. Please read the complete list of rules to find out what formats are accepted.

The following categories frame the 2017 AVA Photo Contest

  • Scenic
  • Landmarks
  • Events
  • Life in our community
  • Open (does not fit the above categories)
  • Historic Albany districts
  • Culinary
  • Video
  • Best cover photo

Please make sure to read the full document entitled “2017 Contest categories and deadlines” in the Technical Resources section below for a full explanation of the categories.

Awards

On March 8, 2017, an awards reception will be hosted at the Albany Visitors Association. The contest is open to photographers of all skill levels. First through third place ribbons will be given to winners in each of nine categories. Overall winner will be awarded Champion and Reserve Champion Ribbons. There will also be a ribbon awarded for Peoples Choice, with a winner voted for by the general public. Prizes will be awarded to Champion, Reserve Champion, and Peoples Choice winners.

Technical Resources

Photo contest cover letter from AVA: Download a brief explanation of how to complete your submission packet (PDF)

2017 Contest categories and deadlines: Download the categories and information on deadlines and awards (PDF)

Rules: Download the rules for the photo contest, still shots (PDF) (*Rules for video submissions are listed separately.) 

Photo contest submission form: Download the form for still photo entries (PDF) (*Video submissions forms listed separately.)

Photographer’s release form: Download the image or video release form (PDF) (*This is different than the model release form, and MUST accompany your entry to be considered for use in our publications, digital or print use.)

Model release form: Download the model release form (PDF) (*No entries featuring children, teens, or adults with recognizable faces will be considered without the model release form.)

Video contest rules: Download the video contest rules (PDF)

Video contest submission form: Download the video submission form (PDF)

What to do in Oregon in 2017

17_OECGet ready for an Oregon year to be remembered! Many travelers will visit Oregon for the very first time—particularly in late August when a Total Solar Eclipse will occur on the 21st. Oregon’s Willamette Valley is prime TSE viewing territory, and many locales along the eclipse route will feature special viewing activities, food, celebration, and drink, including Albany.

The new 2017 Oregon Events Calendar, published by Pamplin Media Group, can help you plan your vacation—whether you hail from New York or Newberg. The Albany Visitors Association will have a supply of the publication at their office soon, but until we do, check out the digital edition.

In addition to the eclipse, Oregon is home to numerous annual music festivals, cycling and paddling relays, brew smackdowns, winery and culinary tours, and other venues to taste and experience our state in an entirely new way throughout the year. So come on, join us this year in Albany, Oregon.

*For print copies, please contact AVA at 541-9288-0911. Copies can be mailed, or you can stop by the office at 3rd and Lyon Streets in Downtown Albany, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Driving Oregon’s “Gut”

Presentation on the history of highway 99

Hwy_99_2Long before Interstate 5 was built, the Pacific Highway—later known as Highway 99—became our “Main Street,” not only through Oregon, but from Mexico to Canada. Unlike I-5, Highway 99 rambled through towns and small communities, bringing their residents the means to connect with the rest of the state and nation.

On Sunday, January 22, 2017, at 2:00 p.m., Oregon authors Jo-Brew and Pat Edwards will discuss Highway 99’s origins and stories during a free presentation at the Albany Mennonite Village’s Lakeside Center, at 2180 54th Ave.

Their research takes us on a trip beginning at the California – Oregon border, and along the highway as it continues its steep climb through the Siskiyou Mountains. We’ll follow with the authors along the route—through the connected valleys where economies were built on orchards, forests, and farmland.

Jo-Brew’s book “The Stories” is filled with the accounts of those who lived, worked, and played in the communities that intersected with Highway 99. Over 150 individuals shared their stories with her—some in the form of old letters and diaries, but most in first-person accounts.

Pat Edwards took the lead as co-author on Jo-Brew’s second book about Highway 99, “The Folk History.” The book highlights 94 Oregon communities along the route.

The Linn County Historical Society hopes you’ll climb aboard Jo’s little red Rambler and take a ride up Oregon’s “Gut.” If you are too young to remember driving “the Gut” in your own hometown, come take the trip with us down “Oregon’s Main Street.”

About the presenters

Jo_brew2Jo-Brew is an Ashland High School graduate and a long time Southern Oregon resident. Before starting her work on the Highway 99 project, she authored seven fictional novels. Jo-Brew spent four years traveling throughout the State of Oregon, interviewing people who grew up in the days prior to the construction of I-5 to complete her Highway 99 research. She is an active member of The Association of University Women and was a columnist for the Creswell Chronicle weekly newspaper for seven years.

Pat_Edwards2Patricia “Pat” Edwards is an author, editor, publisher and historian. She is the author of “Sawdust and Cider” as well as “A History of Lorane, Oregon and the Siuslaw Valley.” Edwards served as the managing editor and publisher for “Groundwaters,” a literary quarterly magazine distributed throughout Lane County. She is the current Lorane columnist for both the Fern Ridge Review and the Creswell Chronicle. For the past several years, Edwards worked alongside Jo-Brew, first as editor and collaborator for the initial Highway 99 book, then lead author on the second one.

New Year’s Eve local celebrations

new_years_at_cocoanut_grove_1957Holiday Night time Magic: It’s the last two days for Albany’s holiday light displays. Come on down to the AVA office (open Friday, 12/30 unit 5:00 p.m.) for a map of participating homes and winners, or connect to the blog post and download your own map.

Hoof n’ Holler New Years Eve Bulls, Broncos, and Dance: On New Year’s Eve, come on out to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany for a wild and wooly evening celebration. The fun starts at 6:00 p.m. A dance follows the show and a balloon drop occurs at midnight. Have fun and take a “designated driver” ride home. For ticket information visit http://hoofnholler.com

High Steppin’ Country New Year’s Eve Party: For a $10 cover charge, The Still, at 220 SW Second Avenue in Albany, is hosting a dance party featuring country and rock music by DJ Rockin’ Robin. The events starts at 8:00 p.m. and reservations are recommended. Telephone 971-404-9200 for more information.

Boulder Falls Inn New Years Eve Bash: Join the fun from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at the Boulder Falls Inn in Lebanon (505 Mullins Drive). The event includes a casino, raffle prizes, heavy appetizers and desserts, a performance by Fate 55, fun photo booth, and champagne toast at midnight. Ticket prices start at $75. For more information http://www.boulderfallsinn.com

Islands of serenity

Right after the holidays pass, Oregonians turn to outdoor activities that lift our spirits and affirm our love for the beauty that surrounds us in the Mid-Willamette Valley. Linn County possesses several gems within a short distance of Albany, Oregon—and this wonderful video by Grant McOmie highlights the astonishing beauty of McDowell Creek Park and its majestic falls. Plan on taking your family out there soon. You won’t be disappointed, and we promise that it will renew your energy level.

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