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.

Cherished Traditions in a New Light

A historic home in Albany Oregon lit with Christmas lights and decorations on the exterior

33rd Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest

The Albany Visitors Association is helping to make the season bright by coordinating the 33rd Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest, which kicks off December 7. Burcham’s Metals, Robyn vanRossmann, Broker from Town & Country Realty, and Hospitality Vision are proud to be the premier sponsors agreeing that this year, perhaps more than ever, people are in need of a little more light to brighten the dark days of winter and lift their spirits. Residents are encouraged to enter the contest for the best use of lights in decorating the exterior of their homes for everyone to enjoy. The winners will be entitled to bragging rights for the entire year and will receive some great prizes.

This year’s theme is “Cherished Traditions in a New Light” and participants are encouraged 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.

Judging this year will be open to our community. Pictures of entries will be posted on the AVA Facebook page and addresses will be included for people to drive by. A holiday light drive will be posted on the Albany Explorer App via Google Map and community members can vote for their favorites via Facebook or by contacting the Albany Visitors Association. Voting will open on December 10 and continue through December 20, 2020. Prizes will include a Party Room Rental provided by the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, A night stay at a local hotel, pizza from Southpaws Pizza & Sports bar, and gift certificates from local businesses like Midway Farms and Bodhi Bakery.

RULES:

  1. Entries must be within the City limits of Albany.
  2. To enter, email a picture of your completed lights to info@albanyvisitors.com, by 5pm Monday, December 7th, (photo not required for entry but greatly increases the chances of winning based on FB likes)
  3. Entries must include:  Participants name, Commercial or Residential, Full street address, Title (inspiration for your light creation is encouraged), Email and Phone number
  4. Lights need to be on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. December 7– January 1. (or longer!)

That’s all it will take to be a part of Albany’s “Magic” this year!

Winners will be announced by December 22nd.

People wishing to drive the route to look at the participating locations can pick up a list of participants at AlbanyVisitors.com beginning December 10 or download the Albany Explorer App.

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

Photo of Albany Oregon lit with multi-colored Christmas lights in the shape of Santa Claus

Christmas In Albany by Dina Ratzlaff

Entry forms

Entry forms can be downloaded here or you can email or call us and we will email you a form. The deadline for the 2020 submissions is  5 p.m. Monday, December 7th*The contest is open to Albany city-limits residents only. Telephone us if you have any questions: 541-928-0911.

*Large photo at top of page by Cathy Webb.

Holiday Weekend Road Trip To Albany

Photo of horse-drawn wagons decorated for Christmas Carling in Albany, OR. Photo by Anthony Shelar

Searching for a jolly weekend getaway? Look no more — visit Albany from October through January and discover a unique blend of history and hip. Create a new family tradition this holiday season by exploring some of our favorite ideas below.

The essentials

Our lodging partners recognize holidays can be exhausting — especially if you’re away from home. Have no fear, the world will appear much brighter after a little pampering! Sink into a deep and comfy oversized chair next to a crackling fire in a festive lobby. Enjoy a complimentary hot breakfast, free WiFi, free parking, fluffy pillows and hot coffee. 

Several Albany hoteliers have partnered with Albany Visitors Association to bring you cozy accommodations for the holidays. From November to January, the Phoenix Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn, Quality Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Best Western Plus Prairie Inn usually offer holiday specials. Book direct and mention AVA to take advantage of great rates.

Photo of a room at the Historic 206 and 1/2 Hotel in Albany Oregon.For history and architecture buffs, the newly restored Historic 206 ½ Hotel provides a satisfying immersion into Albany’s downtown roots. Its proximity to restaurants, shops, coffee houses and bakeries and the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum make it an explorer’s dream.

Find your own good night’s sleep; view AVA’s lodging directory.

 

The entertainment

Trolley of Terror Climb aboard a spookily decorated trolley and be treated to a candlelit tour of the historic (and reportedly haunted) Monteith House. This is a family-friendly event and is appropriate (not too scary) for all ages. Each tour takes about an hour. Be forewarned: tickets generally sell out weeks before the tours, so reserve your spot today: 541-928-0911. AVA can securely process your payment over the phone. Tours begin on October 18th, at 6:00 p.m. (and hourly up to 9:00 p.m.) over two consecutive weekends. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. 

VIP Ghost Hunt Join a group of professional and amateur ghostbusters as they set up monitoring equipment inside the Monteith House and search for spectral evidence. Adults only please, as the hunt extends into the “witching hour.” Cost is $55 per person and event admission is by reservation and pre-payment only, 541-928-0911.There are two dates set for the hunt: October 19th and 20th, 10:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m.

Albany Veterans Day Parade

Albany is famous for the size and scope of its historic Veterans Day Parade — it is the biggest memorial parade in the state and has the distinction of being the largest parade of its kind west of the Mississippi River. Traditionally held on the actual holiday, the 67th annual parade begins at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, Nov 11, 2019. 

Marching bands, bagpipes, living history re-enactment brigades, horses, llamas, canines, troops, veterans, floats and military vehicles make their way up Lyon Street and through downtown Albany. You’ll want to find a place to watch early as this is one of the highest attended events in our city. For more information, visit the event website.

Thanksgiving in Wine (and libations) Country Although the grapes were harvested earlier in the year, there’s still plenty of ways to sample the area’s bounty. Take your time — the Willamette Valley is a prize-winning international wine-growing region. We are also part of the craft-brew revolution. Plan several days in Albany and visit some of the best distilleries, breweries, ale-houses, tap houses and meaderies in the valley.

Start with a short drive from your hotel to the picturesque countryside. As you cross the Willamette River, you’re two miles from Springhill Cellars Winery. Over Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 29th – Dec 1st) the winery hosts its annual Federweisser Festival. Federweisser is a young, newly fermented varietal. Accompanying it (and Springhill’s French-method Pinot Noir), you’ll enjoy German music, handcrafted sausages and sauerkraut and a barn dance on Friday night. Visit Springhill’s website for more information.

Following your Springhill adventure, visit Deluxe Brewing and Sinister Distilling Company. The tasting room is open seven days per week and the flights they are a-flying! Take a free tour of the brewery and enjoy some of the best limited-edition whiskey in Oregon. Check their website for tasting hours.

A short walk from Deluxe and Sinister, enjoy brew pub gourmet grub and live music at Calapooia Brewery. And within close proximity, Three Sheets Brewery, No Rails Ale House, Growler Garage, The Barn at Hickory Station, and Vagabond serve up excellent brews, ciders and meads.

If you crave vibrant cocktails and a lively atmosphere, sample local wines and a charcuterie plate at Sweet Red Bistro; cocktails and tapas at the sophisticated Vault 244; or happy hour drinks and famous pork belly fries at Frankie’s.

Small Business Saturday – Shop Small

Photo of small shops along First Ave. in downtown Albany, OregonIf you’re visiting Oregon from a neighboring state, you know we are one of the best places to shop small and unique on the West Coast—our entire state is sales-tax free!

Stroll through our Downtown Historic District and visit galleries, hip clothing boutiques, gift, garden and pet stores, a men’s haberdashery, and shops that feature antiques and vintage furnishings, jewelry and books, and even fly-fishing paraphernalia. Most downtown businesses participate in Shop Small 2019 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov 29th) with special sales.

You should have enough change left in your wallet to splurge on a first-run movie at the historic Pix Theater or enjoy a live theatrical performance at the Albany Civic Theater.

Christmas Storybook Land Bring the family to an enchanted “forest” of trees, miniature buildings, holiday lights, snowy scenery, mechanized displays, and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Costumed characters roam the aisles, mesmerizing both toddlers and school-aged children. This enormous seasonal village is built by volunteers and is open Dec 6th – 20th at the Linn County Expo Center. All ages will love this activity and we think you’ll want to make it part of your new holiday tradition. This is a free event, although you are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for a local food pantry.  Hours vary, so visit the event website for admission information.

Christmas Parlour Tour

Photo of historic house with lights.Albany’s historic homeowners typically celebrate the holidays by hanging cedar swags, colorful lights and other seasonal regalia along porches and eaves. However, the Christmas Parlour Tour is an “insider’s” peek into the past. 

Participating historic homes and buildings throughout the Hackleman, Monteith, and Downtown Commercial Districts open their doors to tour participants. Meet the owners and learn about the architecture, the original occupants, and the ins and outs of restoring historic structures. 

You can opt to ride a vintage trolley or horse-drawn wagon to the various stops, or drive, walk, bike or hike the tour on your own. Tickets will be available online in mid-November. Tour proceeds benefit the non-profit Monteith House Museum. This year (2019) the tour will be held on Sunday, Dec 8th, from 2:00 to 7:00 p.m. Telephone 541-928-0911 for more information.

Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade Looking for family fun and a traditional Christmas event? Enjoy an evening parade in Downtown Albany, as decorated floats and vintage vehicles usher Santa and Mrs. Claus to the community tree lighting — after circling “twice around” downtown. This year (2019), the event is held on Dec 1st, from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Visit the organizer website.

Christmas Caroling Wagon Ride  Another affordable family event is Monteith House Society’s Christmas Caroling By Wagon. Beautiful draft horses are decked out in sleigh bell harnesses and vintage trolley and wagons are draped in colorful lights. After shouting “Jingle jingle all the way” through downtown, the ride ends at Monteith House Museum for holiday refreshments.

Caroling will be held this year (2019) on Dec 14, 15, 20th, 21st, and 22nd, in hourly slots between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Ticket prices to be announced closer to the event. Telephone AVA 541-928-0911 for more information.

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

History, Holidays, and Horses

Image of large draft horses hitched to wagon and wearing Christmas harnesses in front of the Monteith House Museum in Albany, Oregon. A sunset shines pink behind the silhouette of trees.

Are you a romantic soul yearning for a Victorian Christmas? If so, you really need to know about the Albany Annual Christmas Parlour Tour of Historic Homes and Buildings. Coming up on Sunday, December 9, 2018, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., the 39th annual 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 interiors of historic homes.

(*Win tickets to this event; see below in the “Win free tickets” section!)

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.

While the tour is considered “self-guided,” you can ride either the trolley or the horse and wagon around to each stop (this is included in the ticket price) or drive your own car, trek by bike or two legs, or any other mode of alternative transportation. A map will be provided the day of the tour.

This jolly holiday event includes 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. 

Win free tickets

We will be giving away three pairs of tickets ($30 value) to the tour! Simply subscribe to our monthly events e-newsletter between November 20th and December 1st to be entered in the drawing. Current subscribers are included. We will contact winners on December 4th.

A Dickens Christmas Dinner Benefit at Sybaris

An antique engraving with hand-colored pencil depicting a scene from the Charles Dickens novel "A Christmas Carol"After the Parlour Tour, you have an opportunity to attend an absolutely divine benefit supper. Sybaris Bistro will host a “historic” dinner at their restaurant on December 9th at 5:00 p.m. This dinner is the fourth “Let Kids be Kids,” event, and will raise funds for local underprivileged children to ride the Albany Historic Carousel.  

The menu includes chilled pheasant pie with wassail jelly, goose “ham,” pease porridge, mock turtle soup, smoked trout kedgeree, roasted pork loin with sugar plum gravy, roasted potatoes, plum pudding with hard sauce, real English Stilton, fruits and nuts, and oat biscuits.

The cost is $50 per person, $75 with wine pairing; gratuity not included.  Please, don’t be a Scrooge, raise your glasses for kids who need passes! Telephone Sybaris for the all important reservation: 541-928-8157.

Unearthing Christmas in summer 

Albany Visitors Association blog post about Willamette National Forest 2018 US Capitol Christmas TreeWith summer fast approaching, Christmas arrives early at the Willamette National Forest (WNF) in the Sweet Home Ranger District. Not only is there a special contest to find the US Capitol Christmas Tree (see instructions in the “how to nominate” section below), but the Willamette Valley Visitors Association has hidden 200 glass ornaments along the forest hiking trails for you to find.

If you discover one of the special keepsake ornaments, make sure to register to win one of over 120 prizes. All entrants who submit their ornament tag ID will also be entered into a sweepstakes with a spectacular grand prize: A round trip for two to Washington DC to attend the US Capitol Christmas Tree lighting and festivities.

The ornament treasure-hunt runs now through October 2, 2018.

The theme for the 2018 Capitol Christmas Tree is “Find Your Trail!” in recognition of two 2018 anniversaries: the 50th anniversary of the National Trails Systems Act, and the 175th commemoration of the Oregon Trail. For more information on trails where you can find your ornament, visit the WNF website.

Be the one to find the big tree

Do you want to find the 2018 US Capitol Christmas Tree? You still have time to enter the contest, but the deadline is coming up fast on June 30th. 

Visit the Willamette National Forest and look for a tree 65 to 85 feet in height with conical shape. The tree must reside on US Forest Service land in the Sweet Home Ranger District, preferably close to a road that will accommodate a semi-truck and cranes necessary for harvest. 

The selected tree will be cut in early November and prepared for the 3,000-mile coast-to-coast journey that will trace the Oregon Trail in reverse. The tree’s journey will culminate with its lighting on the west lawn of the US Capitol Building in early December. Seventy smaller companion trees will also be sent from the forest to decorate DC government buildings and public spaces. Additionally, Oregonians will contribute 10,000 handmade ornaments, to be created throughout 2018.

How to nominate your candidate

To nominate a tree, obtain the GPS the location, snap a photo, and send your submission to capitolchristmastree2018@gmail.com, or deliver the information to the Sweet Home Ranger District Office, 4431 Hwy 20, Sweet Home OR 97386.

The 2017 Night Time Magic Holiday Light Winners

The Albany Visitors Association is proud to announce the winners of  The 2017 Night Time Magic Holiday Light & Decorating Contest

And the winners are …

 

  • Piedmont Christmas Cul-de-sac, 6127 Piedmont Pl SW, Albany, OR 97321

 

 

 

 

  • It’s the Most Magical Time of the Year, 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322

 

 

 

 

  • Let there be light, 797 Fairmont Drive NE, Albany, OR 97322

 

 

 

 

  • Candy Cane Colored Cape Cod Colonial, 1122 11th Ave SW Albany, Oregon 97321

 

 

 

 

  • Holiday Greetings in Downtown Albany, No Dinx Inc., 139 SE 1st Ave, Albany, OR 97321

 

 

 

Winners will receive a Winner Award Certificate and a $50 gift card to Albany’s downtown first-run movie house: The Pix Theatre. Photos of the winning homes will be on display at the Pix Theatre and on the Albany Visitors Association website along with a list of locations to see. Winners will also be entitled to bragging rights for the entire year! Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program. Without your efforts, this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.

Get your map

Want to take a drive with the family and see the lights in person? Download the PDF of the winners’ map, or pick one up from our office at Third and Lyon.

What to do in Albany for the holidays – Part 1

Have you been naughty or nice? Why nice is the best of course, so make plans to participate in all of Albany’s Christmas and Holiday magic! We think the following events will get you in the holly-jolly spirit.

Horses, Horses, Carriages, Wagons and Rides

Albany’s Heritage Mall is hosting holiday horse-drawn carriage rides with Chafin Farms’ gorgeous draft horses. The rides run though December 22nd, so come get in the spirit! Use the link below to connect with the mall on their Facebook page, and learn more about how your entire family can ride the carriage and visit Santa. https://www.facebook.com/heritagemall/

Albany Christmas Parlour Tour On Sunday, December 10th, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., enjoy the sights and sounds of an old fashioned holiday celebration in Historic Albany, Oregon. This year the tour will feature six historic homes decorated for the holidays. Ride in Chafin Farms’ beautiful horse drawn carriage through downtown Albany. Special shopping events, light refreshments, and entertainment await. Get your online tickets ahead and avoid the lines! Tickets: https://albanyvisitors.com/2017/10/09/tickets-for-2017-christmas-parlour-tour/

Christmas Caroling by Horse-Drawn Wagon The Monteith Historical Society and Chafin Farms are offering Christmas caroling by horse-drawn wagon through the Monteith Historic District. The tours take place on Saturday and Sunday December 16th and 17th, beginning at 5:00 p.m. and leaving every 45 minutes. Song leaders, books and bells will be provided. Proceeds are dedicated to the Monteith House Museum. Telephone the Albany Visitors Association at 541-928-0911 for more information. Or, stop by our office, M-F, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and pay for your tickets ahead of time with check or cash.

Song and Dance

Singing Christmas Tree Love traditional Christmas carols? Then don’t miss the 36th Annual Sweet Home Singing Christmas Tree performances. The show runs from Friday, December 1st through Sunday, December 3rd at the Sweet Home High School auditorium. Friday and Saturday, the show starts at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday,the performance begins at 3:00 p.m. For more info, use the link: https://www.facebook.com/Sweet-Home-Singing-Christmas-Tree-189693289088/

Nutcracker Ballet tickets make a wonderful holiday gift! Get yours today before they sell out. Legacy Ballet returns to the Russell Tripp Performance Center for “The Nutcracker” ballet, Dec. 7, 8, 9 at 7pm, Dec. 9 at 2pm. Tickets available anytime online with the more info link: http://linnbenton.edu/current-students/involvement/performing-arts/buy-tickets

Families and Children

The Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade rolls through Downtown Albany on Sunday, Dec. 3rd, 2017. The parade starts promptly at 5 p.m. The parade route starts at the corner of Broadalbin Street and First Avenue, heads west down First to Calapooia Street, heads south on Calapooia to Second Avenue, heads east on Second to Broadalbin, heads north on Broadalbin to First, and then around again, ending at the Two Rivers Market parking lot at the corner of Second and Ferry. Immediately following the parade is the Community Tree Lighting Ceremony. If you have any questions please call the Downtown Albany office at 541-928-2469 or visit the Albany Downtown Association: http://www.albanydowntown.com/ada-event/twice-around-parade-and-community-tree-lighting/

Children’s Pioneer Christmas Party Celebrate the Christmas season the way the pioneers would have done in the 1800s by joining the festivities at the Monteith House. Children ages 5-16 are invited to join the Monteith Historical Society for a Christmas party on Sunday, December 3rd at 3:00 p.m. Children will make pioneer Christmas crafts to decorate the House tree, sing carols, eat Christmas cookies, and have the option to ride on the horse drawn wagon in the Twice Around Downtown Christmas Parade at 5:00 p.m. The cost is $15 per child, and $10 per additional sibling. Reserve your child’s spot today by calling the Albany Visitors Association at 541-928-0911. Space is limited and fills up fast!

Free Holiday Movie On Saturday, December 9th,  Downtown Albany and the Pix Theatre partner to show a classic Christmas movie for the whole family. This year we’re showing “White Christmas.” 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, so first come-first seated.  Please bring a non-perishable food item if you can for our local food pantry. Call the ADA, 541-928-2469, if you have any questions.

Christmas Storybook Land welcomes families to enjoy its free 41st year presentation. See an enormous indoor Christmas forest wonderland with over 100 scenes of characters from Mother Goose rhymes, children’s fairy tales and family movies, two elaborate model train displays, a Victorian Village and the North Pole with Santa & Mrs. Claus. Canned food donation is gladly accepted for local food bank. Learn more at: http://christmasstorybookland.org

Shop Small ’til You Drop

YMCA Holiday Market On Saturday, December 2nd from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. enjoy our one stop shop. Find holiday gifts, enjoy great company, and support small business. Admission: $1 per adult or 2 cans of food. A portion of the proceeds from sales will benefit the Y’s scholarship fund. For more information, contact Kim at resourcedirector@ymcaalbany.org

Morning Star Grange Holiday Crafts Bazaar On December 8th through the 9th, head to Millersburg for home baked goodies, seasonal and hand-crafted products and gifts. The sale begins at 10:00 a.m and runs util 4:00 p.m. Lunch is available both days. 38794 Morningstar Rd NE, Millersburg. For more information, contact Sandy at dshdeck@aol.com

Santa’s Bag Located at Roddy Ranch, this holiday sale on December 8th and 9th features unique hand-made gifts and decorations, homemade breads and candies, antiques and fun finds! Hours are 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. both days. For more information, contact Mary Beth at roddyranch@gmail.com The ranch is located at 33281 Dever-Conner Dr NE, Albany.

Travel Alerts and Current Happenings for Albany & Linn County, Oregon
COVID-19 - See updates for AVA, Albany businesses including restaurants, hotels and retail shops, and local events
Safe and Festive Holidays- Our Top Ten Picks *** Night Time Magic- Holiday Light Contest
+