We are looking forward to seeing you again next year!
Explorers, are you ready?
It’s time again to head out into the wilds of Albany for the 2020 Albany Summer Explorer/Passport Program, beginning Monday, July 6.
The program is free and offered through a partnership with the Albany Visitors Association (AVA), City of Albany, Albany Regional Museum, Albany Downtown Association and the Monteith Historical Society.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we will be taking a new physically distanced approach to the old program. All of our Explorer/Passport sponsors are following state and federal guidelines about re-opening businesses, parks and keeping children safe.
With that in mind, some changes have been made. In past years, the program started at the beginning of summer with a kick-off party and concluded at the end of August with a party to draw for the grand prizes. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, those parties will not take place. And passports will not be handed out at the Albany Visitors Association. Instead, kids can download and print a form to create their own passport (more on that later). And they will not be asked to enter businesses in order to retrieve information or have their passports stamped.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of adventure and weekly treasure to be had. Here’s how it will work:
The Passport: Kids can download and print a passport form here: 2020 Passport. Follow the directions to create and color the passport (this is part of the first-week challenge: more on that later!), then email the AVA at email@example.com to register: please include each child’s first and last name, age, and an emergency contact phone #. If you don’t have a way to print a passport, one can be picked up at the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum. Then, let the adventure begin!
The Hunt: Participating businesses and locations will each display a poster with a picture of a carousel animal. In the passport, find the corresponding location and write down the name of the animal. There are 28 locations and they do not have to be done in order. Take your time and have fun! When finished, drop off your passport on or before August 25 in the drop slot at the AVA office, 110 3rd Ave. SE in downtown Albany. Include your address if you would like your passport returned.
The Challenges and Prizes: Watch the Albany Passport Program Facebook page and/or emails for weekly challenges to win prizes, donated by the participating businesses, all summer long. The first challenge is to post a photo of your completed passport on the Facebook page by Tuesday, July 14th, 5 p.m. At the end of the summer, participants’ names will also be entered into a drawing for more fabulous prizes. Passport holders do not have to visit every location to be entered in the final drawing. Good luck!
The Challenge #2 winners are Brooklyn Bodkin and August DeBolt. They will both receive a cool Talking Water Gardens beverage bottle. Big thanks to Talking Water Gardens/City of Albany for supporting the 2020 Albany Passport Program!
The Challenge # 1 winners are Presley Gibson and Cohen Salvatierra. Congratulations! They both will receive a Gift Card to Wicked Comics & Collectibles. Get all the details in the Passport Newsletter / Email. Thanks very much, Wicked Comics, for supporting the 2020 Albany Passport Program!
We hope to share these wonderful photos on the big screen at the Albany Pix Theatre soon. Please check back or call the AVA at 541-928-0911. Until then, you can see all the 2021 photos on the AVA Flickr site and enjoy the winning photos here:
CHAMPION, Victorian Splendor by Camron Settlemier
CHAMPION RESERVE, Life on 2nd Ave. by Melinda Martin
PEOPLE’S CHOICE, Sunrise at LBCC by Jill Weissbeck
1st Place Events, Lift Off Kiss by Cathy Webb
1st Place Student, Hackleman District by Erin Thomson
1st Place Life in the Community, Cleared for Takeoff by Dan Bateman
1st Place Culinary, Decadent Temptations by Dan Bateman
1st Place Historic Albany, Railroad Bridge by Shannon Cruz
1st Place People, Carousel Fun with GG by Lori Norton
1st Place Scenic, Cloudy Winter Afternoon by Lori Norton
1st Place Landmarks, Welcome to Albany by Stephanie Low
2nd Place Events, Porch Parade Passes by Camron Settlemier
2nd Place Life in the Community, Cedar Waxwing Takes on Photinia Berry by Camron Settlemier
2nd Place Culinary, A Pack of Peppers by Camron Settlemier
2nd Place Historic Albany, Cumberland by Melinda Martin
2nd Place People, Contemplating the Popcorn by Lori Norton
2nd Place Scenic, Santiam at Rest by David Maestas
2nd Place Landmarks, Christmas Carousel by Lori Norton
3rd Place Events, Pond Splash by Cathy Webb
3rd Place Life in the Community, Wheat in the Raw by David Maestas
3rd Place Scenic, Northern Pintail by Dan Bateman
3rd Place Landmarks, Ellsworth Bridge by Shannon Cruz
3rd Place Historic Albany, Historic Home by Melinda Martin
3rd Place People by Jolene Tomson
3rd Place Culinary, Saturday Market Treats by Cathy Webb
This activity is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust, investing in Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage and by the Linn County Cultural Coalition.
The purpose of this contest is to find images suitable for use in the AVA’s marketing program for Albany, Linn County and the Willamette Valley.
We ask that your work specifically feature Albany and surrounding Linn County. The images we most commonly use in our publications, advertisements and social media feature people enjoying life in our area.
We know visitors want to see images of people relishing fantastic food and drink (micro-breweries, distilleries, winemakers), participating in events (Art & Air, shows at the Expo Center), and having a great time outdoors (hiking, biking, and paddling in our parks and around town) and enjoying the beauty and majesty of our city’s historic architecture! PLEASE NOTE: all photos depicting water recreation must be compliant with life jacket laws.
Since it can be hard to get just the right shot with people, consider staging something with people you know. That way it’s easy to have them complete the model release form. Please be safe and abide by COVID safety guidelines.
Photograph image resolution, size & shape
Photos should be large file sizes (biggest size image setting on your camera, 300 dpi and 1MB minimum in size). Photos should be standard rectangular portrait or landscape; square, panoramic, or custom ratios are more difficult to place within our ads.
Images that have digitally applied effects (such as montages, double exposures or vignettes) cannot be used in AVA publications or national advertising.
Photograph Subject Categories
The following 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 represents the unique charm of our region: rustic barns, farm stands, wildflowers, the Willamette Valley with distant snow capped mountains. Amazing scenic shots are plentiful in our great outdoors.
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 and our Christmas horse-drawn wagon rides. AKC national dog shows at the Linn County Expo Center to National Historic Preservation Month, there’s never a shortage of things to do! Make sure to check our events calendar and find something fun to photograph (be sure to get people’s signed permission if you can clearly see their faces). Remember, you can use photos from 2019, 2020, or 2021.
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 workers 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.
People: Visitors love to see people enjoying themselves, but we know it can be hard to get the shot right and get strangers to sign release forms. Consider enlisting your family and friends at a picnic in your favorite Albany park or enjoying a meal from your favorite restaurant.
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. We need images from all seasons so consider revisiting your favorite place at different times of the year!
Culinary: We live in the proverbial bread basket of culinary delights: farm-to-table special dinners; farmers’ markets; renowned and award-winning chefs; cozy coffee houses and 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. Attend the farmers’ market and capture the bounty.
Student: For young photographers ages 18 and under.
A committee of judges will (anonymously) assess photos for subject and composition. Judges will consider some of the following criteria: is the subject appropriate for the category, is it a really good/unusual example of that subject, is the composition in focus, does it draw you in, is it original? Student photographs will be judged in their own category.
Champion, Reserve Champion, and People’s Choice awards will be $200, $100, and $50, respectively. Certificates and a small gift card to a local business will be awarded to the first-place winners in each category (except Student), and certificates will be awarded to second- and third-place winners in each category. Student first-place winners will receive a gift card for a SplatterBox party, second- and third-place winners will receive certificates. In order to access a large audience, a limited number of the photos will be eligible for the People’s Choice Award. You will be asked to identify which photo you would like entered in this category on your entry form. That image will be posted on our Flickr and Facebook pages for open voting. Winners will be announced in April 2021. If COVID safety guidelines permit, there will be an awards reception.
Who can enter?
The contest is open to all ages, all levels: from amateur to professional or hobbyist.
How to Enter:
Review the RULES and Required forms below and then email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you the online entry form through Survey Monkey– you do not need a subscription to use the survey.
All entries must be submitted to Albany Visitors Association’s online through the entry form on SurveyMonkey (or by pre-arranged appointment) by 5 pm Friday, March 19, 2021. Be sure to request your entry form before 5 p.m.!
33rd Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest
And the winners are …
“Santa’s Beat Shop” – 4195 Madrona Pl. SE, Albany, OR 97322
“The Tree of Lights” – 4203 Winners Circle Ave. SE, Albany, OR 97322
“Bringing Joy For All to See” – 3849 Oakmont Loop NE, Albany, OR 97322
“Historic Elegance” – 914 5th Ave SW, Albany, OR 97321
The 1st Place winning prize package includes a night stay at the Phoenix Hotel, Carousel party room reservation, dinner at Sybaris as well as gift certificates for Bodhi Bakery, Urban Ag Supply, Midway Farms and Southpaws/Shortstops.
Winners will be entitled to bragging rights for the entire year and will receive an Award Certificate and various gift cards that may include the following local businesses: Phoenix Inn, Historic Carousel & Museum, Sybaris Bistro, The Natty Dresser, Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant, The Pix Theatre, Bodhi Bakery, Urban Ag Supply, Midway Farms, and Shortstop/Southpaws Perfect Pizza.
Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program. Without your efforts, this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.
Thank you also to our sponsors Burcham’s Metals, Robyn vanRossmann, Broker from Town & Country Realty, and Hospitality Vision for helping to light up Albany!
How YOU can vote for your favorite:
The 2020 Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest is ON! 26 houses and businesses throughout Albany are decked out in holiday themes honoring “Cherished Traditions in a New Light.” You can marvel at the abundance of lights, the heights achieved and yes, a meme for this oh-so-special year 2020. YOU can help choose the winners! You can get a list of participants three ways:
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.
Entries must be within the City limits of Albany.
To enter, email a picture of your completed lights to email@example.com, by 5pm Monday, December 7th, (photo not required for entry but greatly increases the chances of winning based on FB likes)
Entries must include: Participants name, Commercial or Residential, Full street address, Title (inspiration for your light creation is encouraged), Email and Phone number
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
Christmas In Albany by Dina Ratzlaff
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.
3rd Christine Withers – “Garden Sun” – Downtown Albany
2nd James Williams – “Gateway to Albany” – Ellsworth Bridge, Albany
1st Barry Hoffman – “Light Up Train” – Albany Amtrak and Transportation Station
Life in the Community
3rd Melinda Martin – “September 11th” – Albany Courthouse
2nd Camron Settlemier – “July 4th Fireworks” – Downtown Albany
1st Dan Bateman – “Square-dance Shoes” – Heritage Mall, Albany
3rd Pavla Zakova-Laney – “Sunset at Scott Lake” – Three Sisters Wilderness, OR
2nd James Williams – “Autumn Splendor” – McDowell Creek Park, Lebanon, OR
1st Camron Settlemier – Switchback, Hood River, OR
3rd Melinda Martin – “Sheep” – Linn County, OR
2nd Dave Maestas – “Winter Sunset” – Waverly Lake, Albany
1st Stephanie Low – “Japanese Garden” – Lebanon, OR
Dan Bateman – “The Pizza’s THAT Good” – Albany Farmers’ Market
Here’s a great fun activity for your stay-home-stay-safe day: Help us select the winner of the People’s Choice Award in the 2020 Albany Visitors Association Photo Contest.
It’s easy: Just go to our Flickr accountand connect to our 2020 contest albums. You’ll find several categories to look through. As you make your way through, select your favorites by clicking on the “star” icon. (You can only vote once on any of the images.)
We will leave voting up for the entire month of April,so help share the news.
And why not make it a family activity that you can involve the kids in? Try and see if you can count the number of different animals in the photos or try and name the various sites you see. Feel free to post your totals here in the comments. And keep tuned to Facebook for more family online fun.
Do you pride yourself on being a trivia expert? Want to take an overnight road trip from Portland or Eugene and see the Willamette Valley from the air? Do you like wine tasting and good food? If you answered “yes,” there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy participating in our “Spring Giveaway Contest.”
Albany Visitors Association along with our partners at KEZI have launched another fab giveaway package and you have until March 5th to enter. Prizes include a demo flight at the Infinite Air Center, wine tasting for two at Springhill Cellars Winery, a gift certificate to the House of Noodle (can you say ramen?), rides on the Albany Historic Carousel, and an overnight stay at the Albany Phoenix Inn.
It’s free to enter, just make sure to beat the deadline (March 5th) and good luck! ENTER HERE (KEZI)
It’s not too early to plan ahead for the most popular winter quilt show in Oregon, as the Willamette Valley Quilt Festival arrives on January 31 and February 1, 2020, at the Linn County Expo Center.
A show patterned from innovation
As Americans, we possess a rich legacy of quilt-making and design, so it’s not surprising quilt festivals have become increasingly popular over the last decade. Quilts are complex works of colorful folk art, as mysterious as a corn-maze — and festivals are the perfect place to showcase local talent.
Several years ago, two Albany business owners teamed up to plan a winter quilt show. The Rich family (of Rich’s Sewing & Vacuum) and their staff, and the owners of Albany’s Bolts to Blocks (Barb and Pete Schoonover), launched the first Willamette Valley Quilt Festival in 2018. Their idea was to hold the event during the rainy season and provide quilt designers a creative outlet to counteract the mid-winter blues.
Last year’s quilt festival was a rousing success and attracted thousands of visitors to the Linn County Expo Center. There were over 300 quilts on display and a wide assortment of vendors, classes and demonstrations.
At the 2020 show (January 31st through February 1st) the number of vendors has once again increased and will include booths filled with tools, machines, handcrafted items such as handbags and scarves, quilting kits and templates, fabric, clothing, home decor and, of course, an amazing gallery of quilts.
The quilt contest portion of the show will interest art and craft lovers, whether they sew or not. Wide aisles beckon with a cornucopia of pattern. Quilts of all sizes reflect the imagination of their creators. You’lleven be able to vote for your favorite, if you can decide which you like best.
A $3,000 Babylock Soprano sewing machine will be awarded as the contest’s grand prize. The “Mayor’s Choice Award” from Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa and the Albany Visitors Association will be filled with goodies like wine from Springhill Cellars Winery and gift certificates to local restaurants and businesses.
Classes and demonstrations
Whether you are an experienced quilter or just starting out, workshops will be offered throughout Friday and Saturday at the main festival location (Linn County Expo Center). Instruction topics include using Oregon-made templates by Westalee, ruler work, embroidery, quilt design and laser-cut appliqué.
On Thursday, January 30, a special pre-show workshop will be taught by the festival’s 2020 Featured Quilter, Sheila Sinclair Snyder, owner of Licensed to Quilt in Junction City, Oregon. Snyder will guide participants in creating quilt paintings on rustic barn wood. The workshop will be held at Bolts to Blocks new location, 950 SE Geary, Suite C, in Albany.
All classes require pre-registration; 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 expo hall are free with paid admission.
What to know if you go
The 2020 Willamette Valley Quilt Festival will be held 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, January 31 and February 1. The event is inside the main exhibit hall at the Linn County Expo Center, 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, January 30th and workshops 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.
If you are traveling to the show and plan to spend the night, get a special Albany Visitors Association rate with our featured hotels, the Best Western Plus Prairie Inn or Quality Inn & Suites by asking for the “AVA Rate” when reserving your room.
While at the show, enjoy delicious food truck selections from Grindz Hawaiian, Natalie’s Mexi-Kart, Dajoy’s Kettle Korn and Double J BBQ. An onsite espresso bar and catered kitchen selections 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 help you find places for breakfast and brunch, desserts and more. Check our “Spirited Cuisine” page for a full list.
AVA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 AVA Photo Contest. We received over 250 stunning images, and although our judges struggled mightily to hone the honors down to just a few in each category, the end results are beautiful.
View the winners video
The Albany Visitors Association (AVA) is excited to announce the winners of our 12th Annual Photography Contest. The purpose of this contest is to find images suitable for use in marketing materials for Albany and the surrounding area. The contest is open to photographers of all skill levels, and this year 15 talented photographers entered 251 beautiful and creative photos.
Prizes this year included ribbons and gift cards for the winners of Champion, Reserve Champion, Staff Choice, and People’s Choice. All Photographers who earned a ribbon were entered into a drawing for $200, and Camron Settlemier was the talented and lucky winner this year.
The public is invited to a big party, Saturday, April 20, 2019, for the free AVA Photo Contest Awards at The Albany Pix Theatre, 321 SW 2nd Ave in Downtown Albany.
We can say that quite possibly, “You get a prize, she gets a prize, they get a prize – but not without showing up!” Door prize drawings will be awarded to several lucky attendees. We also hear that snacks will be served – – yum.
AVA received over 200 photos that our esteemed judges selected this year’s winners from. While we can’t reveal who won just yet, come and join us for the party and see all of the entries on the big screen.
“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
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