Albany’s Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest 2015

Albany Christmas pix

Once again, the Albany Visitors Association is helping to make the holiday season bright by sponsoring the 28th Annual Night Time Magic Holiday Light Program. Residents are encouraged to enter a contest (or submit your friends and neighbors) for best use of lights in decorating the exterior of their homes.

Three winners will be selected to win great prizes and one 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 theme is “Holiday Night Time Magic.”
Participants are encouraged to share the source for their inspiration such as:

  • A family tradition…
  •  A favorite holiday book, movie or special…
  • Music, dance or art as inspiration…
  • A special collection…
  • Just Lights, Lights and more Lights…
  • Or another favorite idea or inspiration.

Contest Rules:

  1.  Entries must be within the city limits of Albany.
  2. Homeowners are encouraged to use lights to illuminate their decorations.
  3. Lights need to be on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. December 1 – January 1st
  4. Entries for “Best Neighborly Effort” must have three or more partners in a concentrated area.
  5. Entry/Nomination Deadline: 5:00 pm on December 7, 2015.
  6. Decorations can be any style and lights can be white, clear or colored.

How to enter: Entry forms can be picked up and turned in at the Albany Visitors Association: 110 3rd Ave SE, Albany, OR 97321. You can also click here to request an entry form by e-mail.

Deadlines: Entry/nomination deadline is 5 p.m. Dec. 7, 2015. Winners will be announced by December 15th and presentations made soon after.

Touring Albany’s lights: People wishing to drive or walk through the town to look at the participating locations can pick up a list of participants and a map at the Albany Visitors Association beginning December 15. Lights will be on through January 1, 2015.

A special thanks to Burcham’s Metals for helping to make the season bright. Thank you to all the homeowners who participate in this program, without your efforts this wonderful community tradition would not be possible.

Photo: by Dan Bateman

Ghost touring in historic Albany

small-Halloween-Faces-by-Kathy-HawthorneLooking for a fun and spooky historical experience? Choose from two options this October: a ride on the Trolley of Terror followed by a candlelit ghost tour of the Monteith House Museum; or a VIP ghost-hunting experience at the Monteith House. Both are sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society.

Trolley of Terror and candlelit ghost tour: The Monteith House is the oldest building in Albany, and was built in 1849. Through the years, ghost stories have been shared about this building, but very few people have had a chance to hear the stories from the inside of its walls, and even fewer have had a chance to seek out the spirits that dwell within. Take a ride on the Trolley of Terror followed by a candlelit ghost tour to hear the ghost stories of downtown Albany and those of the Monteith House that have chilled its inhabitants to the bone.

Ghost hunting: A separate tour — a VIP ghost hunt experience — will take place on Friday, October 30, from 9 p.m. to midnight. The VIP experience is limited to 10 people. VIPs will be joined by experienced paranormal investigators and learn how to use various pieces of ghost hunting equipment. VIPs will then get to help conduct a paranormal investigation of the Monteith House.

Details: The Trolley of Terror will take place on October 23, 24, and 30. Tours on October 23 and 24 will begin at 6 p.m., 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Tours on October 30 will begin at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., with the VIP experience beginning at 9 p.m. and running until midnight.

Tickets: The cost of the Trolley of Terror and candlelit ghost tour is $10 per adult and $5 per child. The VIP experience is $25 per person. Reservations are highly recommended as space is limited. Call the Albany Visitors Association at 541-928-0911 to reserve your seats today.

Photo: “Halloween Faces” by Kathy Hawthorne

Mid-valley 4th of July Celebrations

Photo by Cathy Flowers

Have a fun-filled Fourth of July by attending any of these events being held in Albany and its surrounding areas.


River Rhythms Concert and Fireworks Show, Thursday, July 2

Start your 4th of July celebrations a little early this year by attending the first River Rhythms Concert of the season.  The concert features the soulful-rock band, Jelly Bread, and is followed by a spectacular fireworks show over the river.  The music starts at 7 p.m., and is free for everyone.

Lumberjack Breakfast, 6-11 a.m., July 2-5

Get ready for your 4th of July festivities with an all-you-can-eat breakfast in Timber-Linn Park, hosted by the East Albany Lions Club. Entry costs $7 per adult, and $4 for children 12 and under.  All proceeds benefit Lions Club charities.


Pancake Breakfast, 7-10 a.m., July 4

Hosted by the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, the annual Pancake Breakfast is a 4th of July tradition you don’t want to miss. For just $7 per adult, or $4 per child, you can eat as much food as possible, and spend the day exploring historic Brownsville.

BBQ, Beer Garden, and Music, 5:30 p.m., July 4

In the afternoon, head to Randy’s Main Street Coffee for a delicious BBQ and live music.  There will be a beer garden, hosted by Kirk’s Ferry Trading Post, opening at 4 p.m., followed by the BBQ at 5:30.  Music starts at 6 p.m., and is free to all customers.

Fireworks in the Park, after dusk, July 4

Just after sunset, pay a visit to Pioneer Park to watch a spectacular fireworks show over the Calapooia River. The show is one of the best around, and is completely free.

Find details about Brownsville at


Red, White, and Blue Riverfront Festival, all day, July 3-4

This downtown Corvallis festival is a great way to spend Independence Day. With live music, crafts, kids’ activities, great food, and local wine and microbrews, there is something for everyone to take part in as they wait for the sun to set.

Corvallis Jaycees Fireworks Show, after dusk, July 4

Watch beautiful fireworks burst over the Willamette River from your seat at the downtown riverfront.  The show is free for everyone.


Harrisburg July 4th CelebrationJuly 4

Harrisburg puts on its biggest event of the year on the 4th of July, and this year’s celebration is no exception! Events include food, games, a parade and fireworks over the Willamette River. Parade begins at 11 a.m., and fireworks are at dusk (about 9:30 p.m.) in Riverside Park. (Click the link above for schedule and details).

LebanonFireworks at Cheadle Lake by Nancy Hunt

Star-Spangled Celebration, 6-10:30 p.m., July 4

Pack your picnic basket and pay a visit to Lebanon’s Cheadle Lake Park for a family-friendly 4th of July event. There will be plenty to do, including great food, games, live performances, and more.The firework show starts at 10 p.m., and the entry fee is $10 per carload, or $3 for walk-in groups.

Photos by Cathy Flowers(upper) and Nancy Hunt(lower).

Do you know of any events we haven’t mentioned? Let us know by commenting below! 





Grow a greener life: National Sustainability Fair comes to Albany

Mother Earth News Fair Albany Oregon

There’ll be a whole lot of sustainable goodness packed into one place next month when the Mother Earth News Fair brings national experts on self-sufficiency to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center. It’s planned for June 6-7, 2015, from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.

Interested in organic gardening and farming? They’ve got workshops on everything from suburban farmsteads to backyard bees and chickens.

Love cooking? You can learn to make your own cheese, butter and jams.

Are craft beer and spirits your thing? Take a class on home brewing, distilling, and fermenting.

Got kids? Attend hands-on classes with experts who can show them how to grow garden, churn butter, make bath salts, and more.

Even more workshops include talks on the tiny house movement, making your own biodiesel, poultry-processing, herbal remedies, foraging, and more.

Speakers from around the nation and around the valley include:

  • organic farmer and author Joel Salatin, who will define the characteristics shared by successful farmers, and give attendees a road map to success.
  • Portland forager John Kallas, who will teach how to identify, harvest and prepare wild plants found in your backyard.
  • Stephanie Tourles, licensed holistic aesthetician, certified aromatherapist and author, who will discuss organic body care and how to use natural oils in everyday body and facial products.
  • Portland-based cheesemaker Claudio Lucero, who will demonstrate how to make a simple farmers’ cheese with herbs and edible flowers in 30 minutes.
  • Jean-Martin Fortier, market gardener and author, who shares details, tools and technology he’s used to create a profitable, small-scale market garden.
  • Lyle Estill and Bob Armantrout, co-authors of Backyard Biodiesel, who will show how to make small-scale biodiesel form used fryer oil and how to put it into use in your home or on the farm.

In addition to workshops, you’ll find children’s activities; country skills, livestock and vendor demonstrations; hundreds of vendors; and local and organic food options. Check out the full list of workshops at the Oregon event.

The Oregon fair is the only Mother Earth News Fair in the Western U.S.; the highly popular series continues in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Kansas later this year.

Weekend wristband passes cost $25 in advance, or $30 at the gate. Children 17 and younger get in free. The event also offers a limited number of VIP tickets, which get you priority seating at workshops, catered meals, and other perks.

Need a place to stay while you’re in town for the Mother Earth News Fair? Click here to find a hotel near the fair.

For more info, check out

Albany Christmas Favorites: Week 1

Christmas blog collage

Chances to get into the holiday spirit abound in Albany, Oregon! Here are some of this week’s top holiday events:

Tuesday, Dec. 2:

  • Storytime with Santa: Heritage Mall kicks off December with the first in their series of Storytime with Santa events. Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., from Dec. 2-16, bring kids to Santa’s workshop in Heritage Mall for a chance to meet the big guy in red and hear a holiday story. Storytime is free; photos with Santa are available for purchase.

Thursday, Dec. 4:

  • “Peace and Wonder” Choral Concert: Hear Linn-Benton Community College’s award-winning choirs in concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 4 at the Russell Tripp Performance Center. Call 541-917-4531 for tickets and info.

Friday, Dec. 5:

  • Christmas Storybook Land: This annual hand-crafted winter wonderland opens its doors on Friday, Dec. 5. Take the family out to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center to wander past dozens of storybook scenes, detailed doll houses and exquisite model trains. Stop at the end to get a candy cane and visit with Santa. Free. Open Dec. 5-19, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on weeknights and 10-8:30 p.m. on weekends. Don’t miss this classic Albany family tradition.
  • “Trails, Tribulations and Christmas Decorations” at Albany Civic Theater: Go see opening night of this Christmas comedy at the Albany Civic Theater downtown. 541-967-8140 for tickets and info.

Saturday, Dec. 6:

  • Free Family Movie at The Pix: The Albany Downtown Association and the Pix Theatre are teaming up to offer a free holiday movie this Saturday, Dec. 6. Grab your loved ones and some tissues and head downtown to see the classic, heartwarming 1947 version of “Miracle on 34th Street,” about a little girl who doesn’t believe in Santa Claus and the real Kris Kringle who sets out to change her mind. Doors open at 1:30 p.m., showtime is 2 p.m. Free.

Sunday, Dec. 7:

  • Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade: Bring the whole family to Albany’s fun and quirky downtown Christmas parade this Sunday evening, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. Anyone who wants to can join in the parade, which loops around Albany’s historic downtown twice. Expect to see drill teams in Santa hats dancing with umbrellas, floats decked out in holiday lights, and Santa himself at the end of the parade.
  • Albany Community Tree Lighting: Immediately after the parade, gather with the community at the corner of Ferry and Second streets, in the parking lot of the Two Rivers Market, for the lighting of the giant fir tree on the corner.

For even more holiday events–yes, there are even more what’s described above!–check out the Albany Visitors Association’s full events calendar. It’s the best place to find out everything happening in our community. Don’t see your favorite holiday event? Comment and let us know! Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll give you a second edition of Albany Christmas Favorites.

Did you know? 10 Quirky facts and figures about Albany’s ATI Northwest Art & Air Festival

Northwest Art & Air Festival

Photo credit: Oliver J. Anderson

Albany’s ATI Northwest Art & Air Festival is a feast for the eyes and ears, with hot air balloons filling the skies each day at sunrise, artists displaying their colorful creations under the trees at Timber-Linn park all day, and free concerts on the lakeshore at night. The 2014 festival is Aug. 22-24 at Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany.

But there’s a lot more going on at the annual festival than just pretty balloons and popular music. Test your knowledge with these 10 little-known facts and figures about Albany’s annual Art & Air Festival.

1. It’s big.

In fact, it’s one of the biggest annual events in Albany, bringing more than 50,000 people to town in 2013.

2. It’s historic.

The Albany Airport, where many of the festival events take place, is the oldest airport west of the Mississippi and the second-oldest airport in the U.S. (established in 1909, just six years after the Wright Brothers’ flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.)

3. It’s kid-friendly.

More than 200 kids got completely free airplane rides in 2013 as part of the Young Eagles program, sponsored by Remax Integrity-Doug Hall and Team Pendley.

4. It’s record-setting.

The oldest Oregonian ever to ride in a hot air balloon took his flight at the N.W. Art & Air Festival. Erman Johnston, 102 at the time of his record-setting ride, went up in a balloon at the 2013 festival.

5. It’s creative.

The festival is home to one of the biggest art shows in the mid-valley, with more than 75 artists from around the Northwest displaying works that range from paintings to pottery, wood sculpture to glass works.

6. It’s award-winning.

The free Foreigner concert at the 2013 NW Art & Air Festival took home the state’s top award this year. It was named best music program within a festival or event by the Oregon Festivals and Events Association.

7. It’s all-ability accessible.

The 2014 event will feature “The Three Little Bees,”–whimsical hot air balloons shaped like bumblebees, with baskets that are wheelchair-accessible.

8. It’s for car-lovers.

The festival isn’t just about balloons and airplanes. It’s also home to the “Art of Cars” show, featuring classic Studebakers, Corvairs, Corvettes and more.

9. It’s hands-on.

It’s not just about looking and listening. The Family Zone, sponsored by Red Robin, includes free hands-on crafts, active play, and a visit by The Reptile Man.

10. It’s for foodies.

International foods, northwest wines, and microbrews are available all three days, and there’s a beer garden sponsored by Gilgamesh Brewing.

Want to know even more about the ATI NW Art & Air Festival? Explore information about all the events going on this year at the Art & Air Festival website.

Summer fun for kids in Albany


Looking for things to do in Albany this summer with your family? We've created a summertime challenge to put an end to summer boredom for kids and parents alike. For third year in a row, kids can pick up a free "Journey to the Center of Albany" passport full of ideas for fun activities and the chance to win big prizes.

How to Play: Kids can grab a passport and a map to lead them on their quest for summertime treasure. Passports will be available starting Saturday, June 14th from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at a kick-off event at the Downtown Carnegie Library, and will also be available all summer long at the Albany Visitors Association, 110 3rd Ave. SE, while supplies last.

Once you have a passport, open it up to find dozens of places to visit this summer. Whether it's taking a hike, creating a craft, or discovering hidden secrets from the past, each stop on the journey will get you out of the house and into the community. At each stop, kids can present their passport, complete a secret task, and receive a stamp. No purchase or entry fee is necessary at any stop to receive a passport stamp–the program is 100 percent free.

How to Win: At the end of the summer, stop by the Albany Visitors Association (110 3rd Ave SE) to report on your adventures and receive raffle tickets that will give you chances to win fun prizes. The more stamps in your passport, the more chances to win you'll receive! It 's not necessary to complete the entire passport to be entered in the drawings. The deadline to turn in passports is Aug. 29, 2014.

What you might Win:

  • The grand prize winner will receive two round-trip tickets to Portland on the Amtrak Cascades
  • A certificate for a ride in a fire truck from the Albany Fire Department
  • gift certificates from the Albany Community Pool, Pizza King, Surefire Design, Red Daisy Cafe, A Step Above Hobbies, water bottles, toys, games and more.

Who's involved:

The passport program was developed by the Albany Visitors Association, the Albany Regional Museum, and the Monteith House Museum. Other sponsors include More Ink and the Downtown Carnegie Library. Grant funds from the Linn County Cultural Coalition have helped make the program available free.

The passport adventures are geared toward elementary-age children, but kids, parents, babysitters and grandparents of all ages are welcome to participate.

Got questions? Call 541-928-0911 or e-mail, and we'll find the answers!

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