It’s that time of year, when Albany-area shutterbugs dust off their lenses and head out to find the perfect shot. Although it might be a bit cold and rainy, there’s still plenty of breaks where sunshine and majestic scenes reveal themselves. Join the fun and enter the 2020 AVA Photo Contest.
You can download entry forms (for both video and still photography), review the rules, and instructions for submitting your work in the “Download entry forms” section at the bottom of this page. All entries must be received by us on Friday, March 6, 2020, by 5:00 p.m.
Good luck. First- through third-place ribbons will be awarded in each of the eight categories; Scenic, Landmarks, Events, Life in the Community, Open, Historic Albany, Culinary and Student. Gift certificates and ribbons will also be awarded for overall Champion, Reserve Champion, People’s Choice and Staff Choice. All of the winning photographers will be entered in a special drawing for $200.
A reception for all contestants will be held 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at The Pix Theater, during which door prizes will be drawn.
We ask that your work specifically feature Albany. Your images of life in Albany and surrounding Linn County (Benton County for North Albany) are what we most commonly use in our publications, advertisements, and social media. Imagine what visitors might like to see—people enjoying themselves outdoors, fantastic food and drink (micro-breweries, distilleries, winemakers), events, hiking, biking, paddling, and the beauty and majesty of our city’s historic architecture.
We never get enough action shots of people out and about, so think about staging something with friends; just make sure you get their permission and a release form signed (see forms section below) if there are recognizable people in your work.
Image resolution and more
Special effects Images that have digitally applied effects (such as montages, double exposures or vignettes) cannot be used in AVA publications or national advertising. Images manipulated in photo apps with effects such as frames or special borders also cannot be used.
Signatures or watermarks Images that retain watermarks or photographer signatures cannot be used in publications or ads. We will always credit the photographer by name in any publication or online. If you wish to submit an image with your signature or watermark, please note it may be seen by a limited audience.
Resolution and size Additionally, image size and shape are very important. Photos should be large file sizes for print (biggest size image setting on your camera, 300 dpi or larger); smaller mobile phone images may be blurry when enlarged. Photos should be standard portrait or landscape since square, panoramic, or custom ratios are more difficult to place within ads.
AVA Annual Photo Contest Categories
The following defines our contest categories and gives you an idea of what we are looking for.
Scenic: Visit our parks, the Willamette River, hiking trails, vineyards, and surrounding rural vistas. Find something you think will make someone want to come visit us, and that represents the unique charm of our region. Rustic barns, farm- stands, wildflowers, the Willamette Valley with distant snow- capped mountains—our great outdoors is chock full of amazing scenic shots.
Landmarks: What is your landmark when you tell friends to meet you in Albany? Is it the Historic Carousel or maybe the clock tower at the Albany Train Station? A landmark is unique to Albany and lends itself to the quintessential identity of our city. Even an old building with a Victorian painted advertisement on a brick wall or a statue could be a landmark.
Events: Albany is an event-driven community. Think about our parades, our Christmas horse-drawn wagon rides. There’s always an event happening monthly—from AKC national dog shows at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center to National Historic Preservation Month, there’s never a shortage of what to do! Make sure to check our events calendar and find something fun to photograph.
Life in the community: What is the quality of life in Albany? We are farmers, we are vintners and craft-brewers, we are artists, we are blue-collar welders and white collar executives, we are teachers… and we know how to have a great time no matter what we do. Help tell a visual tale about how we practice our daily lives.
Historic Albany: If you live in Albany, you know that we have deep historical roots. Our city has four nationally recognized historic districts. Albany’s architectural styles vary from the mid- 1800s to the 1950s. Grab a copy of “Seems Like Old Times” and document your personal visual tour or join us on one of the seasonal guided tours.
Culinary: We live in the proverbial bread-basket of culinary delights: farm-to- table special dinners; farmer’s markets; renowned and award-winning chefs; cozy coffee houses, bakeries; wineries and breweries; German and Hungarian restaurants. Our city bubbles over with bounty. Visit a local restaurant or a unique foodie or drink venue and let people know what delicious rewards await them.
Student: For young photographers ages 17 and under.
Open: All things Oregon! All phases of life including nature at her finest—animals, waterfalls, rainbows, cycling, old kitchen sinks (wink wink)—you name it. If it doesn’t fit into one of the categories above, submit it under “open.”
Who can enter?
The contest is open to all ages, all skill levels—from amateur to professional or hobbyist. We encourage teachers to involve their students.
Winning photos will be on display at the Albany Visitors Association, the Amtrak Train Station, while all entries will be shown at the Pix Theater on the big screen at the awards ceremony on April 20th. Ribbons and prizes will be awarded for Overall and Reserve Champions, Individual Category winners, and People’s Choice. Those attending the Pix reception will have the opportunity to win door prizes. All winners will be entered into a special drawing for a Gift Card in the amount of $200—shop for a new lens, memory card, or whatever you like! (If you’d like to see the video of the 2019 contest winning photos, scroll to below the entry forms section.)
Download entry forms and all documents
You must fill out all required forms to complete your entry. Click on the link to download to your computer and print. Please submit all pertinent paper work with your entry. *Note: Remember to submit the model release form for entries with people in your photos and videos.
Download the photo contest rules PDF (*Please note, the “open” category was inadvertently left off this list of rules. Please see above categories for 2020. Confirm that you are entering in the open category when you fill out your entry form.) AVA Photo Contest Rules
Download the photo contest entry form PDF Entry Form
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.
First of all, congratulations to all of this year’s winners in this colorful display of community holiday spirit, and thanks to all of the participants. Below is a map and list of winners for this year’s contest. So, travel around at dusk and enjoy all of the submissions. Bundle up, pack the popcorn, a thermos of hot cocoa and warm up the car. It’s time to see the lights!
“Snowman Santa Christmas Lights,” 1350 NW Springhill Dr., Albany, OR 97321
“Candy Cane Come Back,” 3030 Lawnridge St. SW, Albany, OR 97321
“Christmas Dragster,” 2820 Lawnridge St. SW, Albany, OR 97321
“Best Dressed Historic Home,” 240 4th SE, Albany, OR 97321
“Santa, Stop Here!,” 4219 Winners Circle Ave. SE, Albany, OR 97322
“Christmas Spirit on Waverly Drive,” 1924 Waverly Dr. SE, Albany, OR 97322
And the runners-up are…
“Santa’s Landing,” 626 34th Ave. SE, Albany, OR 97322
“Lights, Lights & More Lights,” 1327 North Albany Rd. NW, 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.
The Contest Details for 2020
Are you the Albany neighbor whose fantastic yard decorations are on everyone’s holiday must-see list? Then make sure you enter the “33rd Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest” in 2020. Albany Visitors Association hosts this fun event for our community each December.
Christmas In Albany by Dina Ratzlaff
You can take inspiration for your display from a family tradition, a favorite holiday movie or book, music and other creative arts, or whatever strikes your fancy. Lights can be any color, as well as clear. If you have large exterior decorations, light them up!
Once all entries have been received and the judging is complete, we will publish a map of the participating addresses so that visitors can take a festive tour of the neighborhood.
Entry forms are available at the AVA office, M-F, 9 – 5, Sat 9 – 3, at 110 3rd Ave SE, Albany, OR or download a PDF entry form. Deadline for the 2020 submissions will be announced at a later date *The contest is open to Albany city-limits residents only.
Telephone us if you have any questions: 541-928-0911.
The Albany Passport Program for Children is almost here. This summer, your children can explore over 30 locations around town to learn more about the history of Albany. Grab your passport (starting on June 8th) at the Albany Fire Station No. 11 (611 Lyon St SE) and start visiting, collecting stamps, and possibly win prizes.
After the kickoff party, passports may be obtained at the Albany Visitors Association office, at 110 3rd St SE, on the corner of Lyon and 3rd. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, and Saturdays, 9 to 3.
*Note: this activity is aimed towards a minimum age (kindergarten) up to teens, as young toddlers may not understand or enjoy the experience.
The Albany Summer Passport is a free children’s program offered through a partnership of the City of Albany, Albany Visitors Association, Albany Downtown Association, Albany Regional Museum, and the Monteith Historical Society. This project is supported in part by a grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the Oregon Cultural Trust. For more info, contact AVA at 541.928.0911.
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
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.
Entries must be within the city limits of Albany.
Homeowners are encouraged to use lights to illuminate their yard decorations.
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.)
Entries for “Best Neighborly Effort” must have three or more partners in a concentrated area.
Entry/Nomination Deadline: 5:00 p.m. on December 9, 2018.
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
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
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.
We will be giving away three pairs of tickets ($30 value) to the tour! Simply subscribe to our monthly events e-newsletterbetween 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
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.
It’s time once again, to join a fun day of discovery through geocaching. Local geocacher and enthusiast Don Bacher has organized the 2018 Albany Coin Challenge that takes place for one day only, Saturday, August 25th.
This year’s event will start at 10:00 a.m. at Allann Bros warehouse, 1852 Fescue St. SE, Exit 233 going north or south on I-5 (N 44 37.497 W 123 03.645). There is plenty of parking.
A new series of Albany locations—homes from the National Historic Districts—have been added to this year’s challenge. As in previous years, the course has been determined, and each geocaching household will be issued a challenge passport. The course has been carefully laid out so that you will also have the opportunity to find caches in the area.
Completed passports can be brought to Ciddici’s Pizza, 133 SW 5th Street (N 44 38.066 W 123 06.229) between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. the day of the event. One-hundred and fifty coins have been ordered, so everyone who receives a passport is guaranteed a coin.
Along with the hunt, there will be great door prizes handed out during the coin distribution. These prizes are donated by local businesses, and drawings will be held on the half hour.
This is a family event and we encourage you to bring your kids and grandkids. There’s something for all ages.
The 2018 coin was created by Jessica Dilbone, and features a design that includes Mary’s Peak, the Willamette and Calapooia Rivers running through Albany, and the fir tree from Oregon’s license plates. Another one-of-a-kind coin that you will be delighted to add to your collection.
We hope to see you at Allan Bros. on the 25th. Happy hunting!