Albany Holiday Events | Dec. 14-Dec. 20, 2015

500 px Christmas Storybookland by Ann Kinkley

Make some holiday memories in Albany, Oregon this week! It’s the final week of Christmas Storybook Land for 2015, plus a visit from Santa’s reindeer, a chance to ride the Candy Cane Express, and still 10 more days of holiday shopping before Christmas. Keep reading to find out what’s happening in Albany this week.

Here are our top picks for the third week of the holiday season, Dec. 14-20, 2015. For even more things to do in Albany, Oregon, visit our full event calendar.

Final week of Christmas Storybook Land 2015 | 5-8:30 p.m. Dec. 14-17, 1-8:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 2015. If you haven’t done it already, this week is the last week of 2015 to take your kids to this magical Albany tradition. Walk through a winter wonderland of storybook scenes, Christmas trees, model trains and dollhouses, including a chance to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Details: Christmas Storybook Land

Storytime with Santa | 9:30 a.m. Dec. 15, 2015. Come visit Santa at Heritage Mall and hear a classic Christmas story. Details: Storytime with Santa

Holiday Light Winners announcement | Dec. 15, 2015. Winners of the 2015 Night Time Magic Holiday Light Contest will be announced this week. Stay tuned for the winners and then plan an evening outing to visit Albany’s favorite Christmas light displays.

Meet Santa’s Reindeer | 3-7 p.m. Dec. 18, 2015. Come see live reindeer at Heritage Mall! Details: Live Reindeer Visit

Hoodoo Ski & Recreation Opens | 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 18, 2015. Hoodoo Ski & Recreation kicks off its 2015/16 season on Friday, Dec. 18, and will remain open until at least 4 p.m. every day through Jan. 4. Check the official website for updates and mountain status: Ski Hoodoo

Holiday Sleigh Rides | 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 19, 2015. Visitors to Heritage Mall can enjoy free sleigh rides around the parking lot in a beautiful horse-drawn carriage. Details: Sleigh Ride

Holiday Nosh Tour | 4-7 p.m. Dec. 19, 2015. Ride on a vintage trolley and taste your way through town, enjoying tasty bites from half-a-dozen chefs at stops along the way. UPDATE: Regular tickets are sold out for this event, but until Dec. 15 new subscribers to Albany Visitors Association’s e-newsletter are entered to win the final pair of tickets. Click to subscribe to the newsletter and be entered to win: E-newsletter sign-up

Willamette Valley Concert Band Christmas Concert | 2-4 p.m. Dec. 19, 2015. Treat your ears to a festive celebration featuring traditional and popular Christmas songs, at the Russell Tripp Performance Center at Linn-Benton Community College. Details: Willamette Valley Concert Band

Christmas Caroling Wagon | 5-8 p.m. Dec. 20, 2015. Ride through Albany’s historic districts in a horse-drawn wagon, singing Christmas carols along the way. Tours every 45 minutes between 5-8 p.m.; by reservation only. UPDATE: Spots on these tours are full; names are being added to a waiting list. 541-928-0911.

Candy Cane Express Train Ride | 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m., Dec. 19 and 20, 2015. Take your kids for a ride on the Candy Cane Express with Santiam Excursion Trains. Details: Candy Cane Express

Shopping: Find unique gifts for the folks on your list when you visit Albany! Browse through charming shops in downtown Albany, and find great seasonal specials at Heritage Mall throughout December.

Still to come: the Whitespires Christmas Eve Sing-a-Long and more! Check back for next week’s events and check our full event calendar for additional holiday happenings.

Photo: Christmas Storybook Land by Ann Kinkley

Need a place to stay in Albany for the holidays? Have friends and family coming to town? Check out Albany’s hotels, B&Bs, and RV Parks for holiday rates.


Albany Holiday Events: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2015


Albany is the perfect place to celebrate an Oregon Christmas. This friendly little town goes all-out during the holiday season, with historic homes decked in lights, great seasonal boutiques, community parades, and plenty of ways to experience the spirit of an old-fashioned Christmas.

Here are our top picks for the first week of the holiday season, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2015. For even more things to do in Albany, Oregon, visit our full event calendar.

Holiday Light Contest: Do you go all-out when it comes to Christmas decorating? Do you know someone who does? Nominate yourself (or your friends or neighbors) for a prize in our annual Night-Time Magic Holiday Light Contest. Nomination deadline: Dec. 7, 2015. Details: 2015 Albany Holiday Light Contest.

Christmas Storybook Land opens: This beloved holiday tradition transports visitors to a winter wonderland full of Christmas trees, toy trains, fairy tale scenes, and a chance to visit with Santa Claus himself. Storybook Land runs from Dec. 4-18, 2015.

Pioneer Christmas Party: Bring your kids to the Monteith House and celebrate like it’s 1859. Kids will learn what a pioneer Christmas in Albany would have been like, and will have a chance to ride in a horse-drawn wagon in the Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade at 5 p.m. Party starts at 3 p.m. and costs $15/child ($10 for additional siblings); call the Albany Visitors Association  at 541-928-0911 to reserve your child’s spot.

Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade: Anyone can join in this zany Christmas parade, which circles downtown Albany twice. Expect to see horse-drawn wagons, holiday lights, an umbrella-twirling brigade, and more. The only rule: the parade has just one Santa Claus, arriving at the end of the procession! Parade starts at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. Details: Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade.

Albany Community Tree Lighting: Immediately after the Christmas parade, gather in the parking lot at Two Rivers Mall (corner of second and Ferry) to sing carols and light the community Christmas tree. (Approximately 6 p.m., Dec. 6, 2015).

Shopping: Get your holiday shopping off to a good start this week with the Town & Country Christmas Bazaar, Dec. 4-6; Christmas at the Roost, Dec. 4-5 and 11-12, Pumpkin Hollow Christmas at the Mill, weekends through Dec. 20; charming shops in downtown Albany, and great seasonal specials at Heritage Mall throughout December.

Visits with Santa: The big guy in red will be at Heritage Mall every day throughout the holiday season for visits with children and Christmas photos. Special dates this week include kids’ storytimes with Santa Dec. 1 and pet photos with Santa Dec. 6 & 13.

Still to come: 36th Annual Christmas Parlour Tour on Dec. 13, the Holiday Nosh Tour Dec. 19, and more! Check back for next week’s events and check our full event calendar for additional holiday happenings.

Need a place to stay in Albany for the holidays? Have friends and family coming to town? Check out Albany’s hotels, B&Bs, and RV Parks for holiday rates.

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

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! 





Head for the Cascades this summer: Adventure Bus starts June 13

200px-Big-Lake,-Big-Sky,-Mt-Washington-by-Bill-Origer-2015-photo-contestThis summer, let someone else do the driving as you head to the Cascades for a day of adventure. Starting June 13, you can leave your car behind and hop on a bus for a day of hiking or biking in the mountains.

The All-Day Adventure Shuttle departs from the Sweet Home City Hall at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays during its seven weekends of operation, making stops at popular recreation sites and trailheads on its way up into the mountains. It arrives at Clear Lake by 10 a.m. You can return the same day with the shuttle departing Clear Lake at 5 p.m., or you can camp overnight and take the Sunday shuttle back to the valley.

The shuttle is equipped with a bike trailer for travelers who want to bring a bike and ride the trails from Tombstone Pass to Clear Lake. Other Cascade adventures include hiking through stunning wildflower meadows at Iron Mountain, renting a rowboat and paddling the pristine waters of Clear Lake, staying in a rustic cabin at the Clear Lake Resort, or tent camping at dozens of picturesque spots in the Willamette National Forest.

The shuttle is $3 per person for a one-way trip and $5 round-trip. Kids 12 and under ride free with a parent or legal guardian.

The 2015 weekends of operation are:

  • June 13-14
  • June 27-28
  • July 11-12
  • July 25-26
  • August 8-9
  • August 22-23
  • September 5-6

Reservations for the adventure bus are encouraged and will be taken starting June 1st. Call the Linn Shuttle Monday-Friday at 541-367-4775 between 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Need a place to stay overnight before you take off on your mountain adventure? Check out the comfortable hotels in the mid-valley area.

Photo: Big Lake and Mt. Washington in the Cascades of Linn County, by Bill Origer.

The Shuttle is an action of the Sweet Home Federal Lands Livability Initiative to improve the recreational opportunities along HWY 20 and is intended to increase accessibility for hikers and bikers by reducing vehicle pressure at trail heads and access points. Linn Shuttle, Linn County Parks, Anderson Automotive, Friends of Fish Lake, South Santiam All Lands Collaborative, & City of Sweet Home have worked to sponsor this project.

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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