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!
And the runners-up are…
Winners will receive a Winner Award Certificate and a $50 gift card to Albany’s downtown first-run movie house, The Pix Theatre.
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.
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.
*Large photo at top of page by Cathy Webb.
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.
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.
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.
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
If 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
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.
Back by popular demand, the Monteith Society is once again hosting a fun and spooky historical experience this October: a candlelit tour of the Monteith House Museum and ride on the 2019 Trolley of Terror; sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society.
Climb aboard the vintage spookily decorated trolley and hear stories from Albany’s past as you ride through the Historic District’s “haunted” places. Don’t miss this opportunity to get the inside story on Albany’s historic haunted homes and businesses. Tours begin at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm on October 18th,19th, 25th and 26th.
The Trolley of Terror sells out every year almost a month ahead so be ready to pounce on your preferred date. Telephone AVA, beginning Thursday, September 19th, at 541-928-0911 or stop by our office Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (110 3rd Ave SE) and pay for your tickets in person. Only pre-paid tickets will hold your reservation. You can securely pay over the phone with us using a credit or debit card. We use PayPal to process payment.
Ticket pricing Adults, $12. Children 12 and under, $6.
And for the adults only, don’t forget to ask about the VIP Ghost Hunt. Very limited availability, super popular. This is where you get to follow professional “ghostbusters” as they set up their equipment at Monteith House during the witching hours of the night!
Ticket pricing Adults, $55. There are no discounts for children as this may not be appropriate for most kids. It requires staying up late (past midnight), hunting ghosts, discussion on hauntings and over a four-hour activity.
It is without doubt, the absolute perfect time for a road trip in Linn County. Fields glow, swallows dive and swoop, white-tailed deer walk their fawns two by two, and puffy mashed-potato clouds float lazily in the skies. Happily, we can recommend several road trips that lead you from downtown Albany and transport you to more tranquil environs.
Let’s start with a visit to one of Linn County’s greatest historic treasures, Thompson’s Mills in Shedd, Oregon.
Travel to the late Victorian period, when draft horses pulled wagons filled with local wheat to the closest mill. Your trip to a working historic mill is less than a half-hour drive (by car, not horse) from Albany.
Thompson’s Mills State Heritage Site is run by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD). The land and surrounding mill buildings are all part of living history. Interactive exhibits include feeding the resident flock of chickens and a free interpretive tour of the mill where a water-powered turbine still runs and turns the flour-grinding mechanisms—a demonstration the entire family will enjoy.
Thompson’s Mills, built in 1858, was originally called Boston Mills, and co-existed with a town of the same name, platted alongside the Calapooia River. Although fire destroyed the mill in 1862, it reopened in 1864 following a complete rebuild. Boston’s population declined after the Oregon and California Railroad (O&C) built its track west of the mill property and Shedd became the primary residence for the area’s inhabitants.
Since O&C’s track crossed through the heart of the Willamette Valley, it was used to transport agricultural goods to Portland and points beyond. Shedd’s station expanded new markets for Thompson’s Mills. Oregon flour was appreciated around the world—and exported to China in the early 20th century and to Belgium during WW1.
As the US adapted to changing technologies and trade, so did Thompson’s Mills. Americans looked to a brighter future following WW2—and their desire for store-bought bread and gardens with green lawns affected local wheat production. Less wheat meant farmers replaced grain with grass seed for the Baby Boom generation.
When local flour production decreased, the mill adapted as well, and began producing animal feed. By the 1980s the mill realized the electrical energy it produced could be sold to a local utility, and help sustain mill operations.
In 2004 OPRD bought the mill, its water rights and associated buildings and acreage. In 2007 the department opened the 20 acre site to the public, free of charge.
Currently, OPRD continues its preservation efforts with restoring and refurbishing parts of the mill and grounds. Their work includes planting orchards for cider production, restoring the mill-keeper’s home and carriage house, and repainting the silo’s iconic logos—a giant peach and apple that can be seen for miles.
The mill is open seven days per week (excluding certain holidays) and holds special seasonal events to raise funds for preservation efforts. In the fall, an old-fashioned cider pressing brings families from across Oregon over a span of several weekends.
Make sure to ask the rangers for a tour of the mill while you’re there. That’s the special treat about making this road trip one of the great ones. The tour is free and you’ll get to see the inner working mechanisms—the enormous gears turn to raise a series of dam-gates in the millrace and the conveyor belts stir overhead.
Kids especially will enjoy a demo of the “man-lift,” a single-person, self-propelled elevator that zooms upwards to the top of the mill building. While the public can’t ride the man-lift, park rangers show how Victorian workers rode the lift to clear grain chutes descending to the grinding areas.
Once you’ve climbed the steep stairs from the mill’s bottom floors, you can wander through a number of interpretive exhibits that include original furnishings, grinding stones, gears, flour and feed sacks, and other mill memorabilia.
Be sure and stop at the gift shop run by the ‘Friends of Thompson’s Mills,’ a non-profit organization that helps fund the mill’s heritage site status. Souvenir T-shirts, feed shopping bags and other gifts can be had for donations that will help keep the mill open to all for many years to come.
Address: Thompson’s Mills is located in Shedd, Oregon. The easiest (and most delightful) route is to take Hwy. 99E from Albany and travel straight through to Boston Mill Drive. Signs along the highway will direct you to the mill. The address is 32655 Boston Mill Drive.
Hours: Monday though Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Open year-round (except for Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day).
Tours: If your group is under 10 people, no reservation is needed for a guided tour of the site and buildings. Just show up and a ranger or volunteer will escort you around with entertaining and historical facts. If your group has 10 participants or more, telephone the mill to ensure staff is available to meet you. 541-491-3611. All guided tours are free, including larger groups.
Accessibility: Most of the grounds, and the main level of the mill building are accessible. There is a ramp to the mill’s “street” level where the interpretive exhibits are, and two on-site wheelchairs are available for use. Please note the lower levels of the mill building (where the large water-driven gears operate) are not wheelchair accessible. It is possible to access this portion of the building if you ambulate with assistive devices and feel able to climb and descend several narrow steps. There are wide walkways suitable for wheelchair use along the millrace pond and grounds, and accessible restrooms. Those with state-issued placards can park in the closest designated spots.
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Have a safe and happy Fourth from all of us at Albany Visitors Association. For more great July activities, read our blog.
Become a pioneer for the day
The Monteith House is hosting day camp for kids grades K-8, July 15 -17, 2019 – 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Children will learn about pioneer life through stories and hands-on activities at this fun day camp. Kids will participate in living history and explore the responsibilities of pioneer children as they traveled the Oregon Trail and settled into Albany life. Partial costumes and snacks will be provided.
The cost of the three day camp is $50 per child. Register by July 9, 2019, by contacting the Albany Visitors Association at 541-928-0911. Pre-registration required. The Monteith House Museum is located at 518 2nd Ave. S.W., Albany, OR.
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.
Come gather in Albany and find your perfect comfort zone—whether its sipping wine at nearby Springhill Cellars Winery or a leisurely stroll along the river— June is a transitional month where local events move into high gear as we prep for sunny summer months. Come join us in Albany and Linn And Benton Counties for the following sensational events. (We always add other featured events as we discover them, so check back soon.)
May 30 – June 2nd Wrap up National Historic Preservation Month at the 110th Lebanon Strawberry Festival. This historical Linn County event has something for everyone, from a Saturday night fireworks display and the World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake to a parade and entertainment. Located at Cheadle Lake Park, 37919 Weirich Dr, Lebanon, OR. lebanonstrawberryfestival.com
June 1st What could be better than a new animal on the Albany Carousel? What about TWO new animals?! Come attend the big unveiling party on June 1st, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum. Welcome “Thunder the Bison” and “Sampson the Rooster” as they join the other animals on the carousel. It’s a wild west themed party, so wear your favorite cowboy boots, hats, and chaps… but please, leave the spurs at home.
June 7th Plan on celebrating First Friday in Downtown Albany with all the usual suspects, including the Albany Regional Museum, Urban Ag Supply, The Natty Dresser, Sweet Red Bistro, Gallery Calapooia and others. Check in on June’s featured artists at the free reception at Gallery Calapooia: Marilyn Lindsley’s polymer clay jewelry and Marjorie Kinch’s watercolors will be on display. Stop in to meet the artists and enjoy light refreshments and live music. The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum will be open for special family activities, from 5:30 to 8:00; a $5 admission gets you unlimited rides. Wander through downtown historic Albany and pop in to shops and restaurants featuring First Friday extended hours and specials.
June 8th The “Albany Passport Program for Kids” is coming! 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 Albany Fire Station No. 11 (611 Lyon St SE) and start visiting, collecting stamps, and possibly win prizes. 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.
June 12th Nothing better than the free lunchtime series at the Albany Regional Museum “History Bites.” Bring your lunch or nosh on light refreshments at the latest in the series, a history of Talking Water Gardens. The demonstration habitat shows how recycled wastewater can be used to create wildlife and botanical preserves—where insects, birds, wetland flora and fauna, are on view seasonally to hikers, photographers, and all who love and appreciate the outdoors. The presentation starts at noon in the community room.
June 13th Another one of our Linn County “food trail” destinations is the Thursday afternoon Brownsville Farmers’ Market. Hunt for sweet strawberries, crisp mesclun salad greens, root veggies, and other late spring selections to create your own perfect “farm to fork” experience. The outdoor market on Main St opens at 3:00 p.m. and runs until 6:00 p.m. Come earlier in the day and forage in unique small shops and have lunch at one of several restaurants and bakeries, or try a little Oregon wine tasting at Harpers Wine House.
June 14th – 21st What exactly is a “flat-coated retriever?” Why not come and find out as you watch this beautiful sporting breed perform in the show ring at Linn County Expo Center. The dog’s field trials will be held in nearby Scio. The 2019 Northwest Flat-Coated Retriever National Specialty will bring canines from across the US to Albany. Get the full schedule of events at https://fcrsa.org/2019specialty/
June 14th ( and various dates throughout June ) The Albany Civic Theater presents the “Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon,” starting the second week in June. Classic fairy tales are turned on their heads as two narrators and several actors attempt to combine all 209 Grimm stories ranging from classics like Snow White, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel to more bizarre, obscure stories like The Devil’s Grandmother and The Girl Without Hands. A wild, free-form comedy with lots of audience participation and madcap fun. Written by Don Zolidis and directed by Conner Riley. For information telephone 541-928-4603 or visit http://www.albanycivic.org
June 15th An annual event, the much beloved garden tour “Through the Garden Gate” takes place the Saturday before Father’s Day Sunday. Take your garden-loving dad on this tour featuring OSU Master Gardeners. Tour the private gardens in any order, on your own schedule. Tickets are $15.00 and all funds raised support gardening education for adults and youth in Linn County. Maps and tickets are available at Albany Visitors Association office and other garden centers in the area. Telephone 541-928-0911 for ticketing information.
June 22nd The Third Annual Albany Pride Parade. Albany joins with other communities in strengthening diversity and inclusiveness with this public event. Assemble at the 11:00 a.m. at the Linn County Courthouse, 300 Fourth St. The parade route and more details will be published as we receive more information from the event organizers and sponsors.
In 2019, the Albany Farmers’ Market enters its 42nd season. This delicious Albany tradition is Oregon’s longest continuously operating outdoor farmers’ market. Opening day’s musical forecast includes guitar licks by David Rogers.
Since this is the Year of the Pig in Chinese tradition, the market sought local pork producers. Three Linn County pork ranchers will now showcase their product to eager shoppers. Participating farms are Anchor Ranch, Gap Road Meat Company, and PK Pastures. Other producers sell a selection of locally-grown chicken, beef, and lamb.
Krakelen, another new vendor, will sell their made-on-the-spot wood-fired pizzas topped with many locally sourced ingredients.
Since the market requires that its products must be local and farm direct, the size of the farmers’ market expands and contracts over the outdoor market season. Some farmers grow inside large greenhouses called high tunnels that keep the soil a little drier and warmer, allowing them to bring vegetables a bit earlier in the season. Not all market vendors have access to this method, which is one reason why you might see see what you are looking for one week, but not another.
The Albany season begins with fewer than 20 vendors, depending on weather earlier in the year. As hot weather crops develop, the vendor count builds to about 30. Albany’s market is open for a 32-week long season. Early season offerings feature spring raab and many other greens, potatoes and other storage vegetables, radishes, fresh turnips, carrots, rhubarb, preserved foods, honey, eggs, meat, poultry, and cheese plus nursery plants and cut flowers. On the other extreme, the last market in November will feature much of what will be on Thanksgiving tables the next day.
The Albany Farmers’ Market and its community partners are supporting a 12-week “Power of Produce Club” (PoP) June 15th through August 31st. Children aged five through 12 will receive $4 in market tokens to spend each time they attend the market during the program dates. Club members can attend activities produced with support from community partners like the Albany YMCA and Linn County Master Gardeners.
The PoP Club is funded with local small business sponsorships and larger grants, including one from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, which has supported anti-hunger efforts in Linn and Benton County for many years. The Albany Elks Lodge #359, which is seeking to renew its national grant supporting PoP in Albany, will assist with cooking and planting activities.
Albany’s club is modeled after the Oregon City Farmers Market PoP Club, and has spread to other farmers’ markets across the country.
What to know if you go
The Albany Farmers’ Market is open on Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m, April to November. Located in the City Hall parking lot at 4th and Ellsworth Streets, it is within walking distance of historic downtown and unique shopping and dining experiences. And while at the market, fresh baked cookies, muffins, pies, pastries, and hot or iced beverages are available for a grazing brunch.
Don’t forget to check out other great events on our website at https://albanyvisitors.com/calendar-of-events/calendar/
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.
Watch this space for an updated video of the winners. In the meanwhile, head on over to our Flickr albums and catch a glimpse at what you’ll see at the party.