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!

The AVA lobby is open by calling or knocking 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Closed July 3, 2020 to honor Independence Day). For information regarding COVID-19 or to reach us click here.See updates for AVA, Albany businesses, and local events →