17 ways to celebrate the holidays in Albany

Image of two large draft horses pulling a covered wagon through the snowy streets of Albany, Oregon at night.

Capturing the spirit of giving and sharing is what the holidays are all about. We’d love for you to visit us this season, and hope the following highlights from our best December events will help you plan your trip.

December 1st – 10th Win Free Tickets Facebook Contest – to Christmas Caroling by Horse-Drawn Wagon You have 10 days (starting on December 1st) to enter AVA’s Facebook contest and win a pair of tickets (up to $20 value) to the Christmas Caroling by Horse-Drawn Wagon event on the night of December 21st or 22nd at 8:00 p.m. The rules are easy! (1) Like our AVA Facebook page (not just the contest post), (2) like the contest post dated December 1st, and (3) tag a friend in the post comment section. Winners will be selected from the comments by random drawing and will have until December 14th to pick up their tickets from our office. We will notify the winners on our Facebook page. This is a pretty cool prize because the event is sold out every year. Click here for our Facebook page.

Image of child looking at cute animal figurines dressed in Christmas hats and scarves at Albany Oregon's Christmas Storybook LandDecember 1st through 14th Christmas Storybook Land is Albany’s best family Christmas show. Held at the Linn County Fair & Exposition Center on Knox Butte Rd, this fantasy world is an enormous Christmas forest wonderland with over 110 scenes of characters from nursery rhymes, children’s stories, and family movies, two elaborate model train displays, a Victorian village, plus the North Pole with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Visit the event website for complete hours and more information at www.ChristmasStorybookLand.org

December 1st, 8th, and 15th Pictures with Santa at the Albany Carousel UPDATED, ADDITIONAL DAYS ADDED: Three Sundays, Dec 2nd, 9th, and 16th have been added to this event!! (All times are from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) On three Saturdays this month, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., bring your own camera and snag a family photo with Santa at this free event. All are invited. Although this event is free, donations to the non-profit carousel are welcome!

December 1st Sick Town Derby This family-friendly event at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center is for all ages. There will be food vendors, a beer garden, Sick Town merchandise, half-time fun and more! Tickets cost $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Doors open at 5 p.m. for Live Roller Derby Action at 6:00 p.m. For more information and tickets, visit the Derby Dames website https://www.sicktownderbydames.com

SOLD OUT!!!! December 2nd Pioneer Children’s Christmas Party at Monteith House Celebrate the Christmas season the way the pioneers would have done in the 1800s by attending this children’s party at the Monteith House. Ages 5 though 16 can make pioneer Christmas crafts, decorate the Christmas tree at the Monteith House, sing carols, eat cookies, and ride on a horse-drawn wagon in the “Twice Around Downtown Christmas Parade” at 5:00 p.m. The cost is $15 per child and $10 for additional siblings. Reserve your child’s spot today by calling the Albany Visitors Association at 541-928-0911. Space is limited.

Photo of horses with carriage and trolley with Christmas decorations.December 2nd Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade The Downtown Twice Around Christmas Parade winds its way through the streets of Historic Downtown Albany on Sunday at 5 p.m. rain or shine. Santa often arrives on an antique firetruck! The parade starts at the corner of Broadalbin and First, heads west down First to Calapooia, heads south on Calapooia to Second, heads east on Second to Broadalbin, heads north on Broadalbin to First, and then around again—ending up at Two Rivers Market parking lot on the corner of Second and Ferry. Immediately following the parade, the Community Tree is lit. Telephone the Albany Downtown Association at 541-928-2469 for more information.

December 6th Festival of Wreaths and Auction Catch the perfect holiday wreath at the Albany Carousel; this great fundraiser runs from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This is an adult event. Admission price includes wine, a special carousel wine glass, hors d’oeuvres, and live music; plus silent and live auctions—all part of the $20 package. Tickets available at the Carousel Gift Shop or telephone 541-497-2934.

December 7th First Friday in Downtown Albany  Get your art on and do a little holiday shopping in downtown Albany. Gallery Calapooia will be filled with wonderful gift ideas, plus you can meet the artists and enjoy complimentary wine and appetizers from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 pm. Telephone the gallery at 541-971-5701 for more information. At Urban Ag, shop their extended First Friday hours until 8:00 p.m. They’ll have plenty of tools and other gear waiting to be plucked for your picky gardening friends. Gift cards are available as well. Visit Urban Ag at 124 SW Ellsworth. As you make your way through downtown, be sure to visit other participating shops and restaurants, including The Natty Dresser and Sweet Red Bistro.

December 7th (other dates: 8th, 9th, 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 20th, 21st, 22nd) The Albany Community Theater presents the live performance of “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.” This new dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ classic, set in the land of Narnia, faithfully recreates the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the exciting, never-to-be-forgotten Narnia. This story of love, faith, courage and giving, with its triumph of good over evil, is a true celebration of life. Visit ACT’s website for performance times and ticket information at http://www.albanycivic.org/shows/the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe/

Image of cast from original classic movie, "It's a Wonderful Life."December 8th Free Christmas Movie Albany Downtown Association (ADA) and the Pix Theatre will partner to show a free classic Christmas movie for the whole family. (Movie title will be announced closer to the date.) Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and the movie starts at 10:00 a.m. Come early, especially if you are a large group, as the theater fills up quickly! This is a free event and first come first seated. Please bring a non-perishable food item for donation to the Salvation Army Food Drive if you can. For questions, telephone the ADA at 541-928-2469.

December 9th Annual Christmas Parlour Tour of Historic Homes and Buildings From 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. the 39th year of the 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 the interiors of historic homes. 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. This jolly holiday event includes light refreshments and loads of happiness all for the ticket price of $15. Tickets can be purchased ahead of the tour online or the day of the tour, at Albany Visitors Association. Telephone 541-928-0911 for more information.

Image of two large draft horses pulling a covered wagon through the snowy streets of Albany, Oregon at night.December 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd Christmas Caroling by Horse-Drawn Wagon If you didn’t win tickets during our Facebook contest, don’t worry, you still might be able to snag tickets by calling our office at 541-928-0911. There are several time slots throughout the event evenings to join in this wonderful Albany tradition. The family-friendly event costs $10 for adults and $5 for children under the age of 12. Call soon, as we expect this event to sell out.

December 15th Monster Truck Thunder For the first time ever, the Linn County Fairgrounds will host ground-pounding Monster Trucks. This wild action auto show is perfect for kids (both adult and actual kiddos) who love things that go “zoom-zoom, boom-boom!” Two show-times are available on the 15th: 2:00 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. All advance tickets receive a free Pit Party pass ($10 Value). For tickets visit https://monstertruckthunder.ticketleap.com/.

December 15th Shop ’Til You Drop Still have important Santa duties to attend to? Why not let the kids go to a safe Christmas pajama party with movie, crafts, games and treats while you finish your holiday shopping, wrapping, or enjoy a rare parents’ evening out. The Mid-Willamette Family YMCA is hosting this activity from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The cost is $15 for Y members and $17 for non-members. For information telephone 541-928-0071.

December 22nd (and other dates throughout December and other months) Live Music at Calapooia Brewing Company The guest artist for the 22nd is Mikael.  Born and raised in Oregon, Mikael creates music with hints of soul and blues driven guitar riffs, and adds vivid story telling to create a compelling performance. For more information about other musical guests and dates and times, visit: Calapooia Brewing

Photo of historic Whitespires Church exterior against a blue skyDecember 24th Whitespires Church Christmas Caroling Sing-along Come and celebrate the Christmas Eve spirit with family and friends singing along to classic carols inside historic Whitespires Church. All are welcome to attend. The sing-along starts at 7:00 p.m. and lasts until 8:00 p.m. The church is located at 510 SW 5th Ave in Albany. Telephone 541-928-2469 for more information.

December 31st New Year’s Eve Hoof N’ Holler Bullriding and Dance Wild West Events & Sweeney Promotions invites you to the biggest New Year’s Eve Event of its kind. Come on out to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center to enjoy this fun event. Complete with pyrotechnics, special effects, heated arena, concert sound and lighting. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $29 pre-paid or $35 at the door (cash only at door). Online tickets: http://hoofnholler.com. Stay at one of Albany’s newly remodeled hotel properties nearby, and you won’t have to worry about driving. (See below!)

Bonus: Hotel Special Rate! Get ready for the holidays! The Phoenix Inn Suites is running their “Winter Special” from November 25th through January 10th. Your suite of choice is $79 (plus applicable taxes) per night. Book direct and mention the “Winter Special” to receive these rates: 541-926-5696, or visit AVAs “Sweet Dreams” web page for information about other Albany hotels.

New Year’s Eve local celebrations

new_years_at_cocoanut_grove_1957Holiday Night time Magic: It’s the last two days for Albany’s holiday light displays. Come on down to the AVA office (open Friday, 12/30 unit 5:00 p.m.) for a map of participating homes and winners, or connect to the blog post and download your own map.

Hoof n’ Holler New Years Eve Bulls, Broncos, and Dance: On New Year’s Eve, come on out to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany for a wild and wooly evening celebration. The fun starts at 6:00 p.m. A dance follows the show and a balloon drop occurs at midnight. Have fun and take a “designated driver” ride home. For ticket information visit http://hoofnholler.com

High Steppin’ Country New Year’s Eve Party: For a $10 cover charge, The Still, at 220 SW Second Avenue in Albany, is hosting a dance party featuring country and rock music by DJ Rockin’ Robin. The events starts at 8:00 p.m. and reservations are recommended. Telephone 971-404-9200 for more information.

Boulder Falls Inn New Years Eve Bash: Join the fun from 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. at the Boulder Falls Inn in Lebanon (505 Mullins Drive). The event includes a casino, raffle prizes, heavy appetizers and desserts, a performance by Fate 55, fun photo booth, and champagne toast at midnight. Ticket prices start at $75. For more information http://www.boulderfallsinn.com

New Year’s Eve 2015 and New Year’s Day 2016 in Albany

500 px Vault 244 Bar 1

It’s time to welcome 2016! Whether you’re looking to ring in the New Year with a cowboy party, a decadent multi-course meal, or something in between, you’ll find a fun celebration in Albany, Oregon this New Year’s Eve.

Don’t forget to make your plans for a place to stay after the party. Take a cab to one of Albany’s comfortable hotels for a safe and relaxing end to your evening. Best Western Prairie Plus Inn, Comfort Suites, and Holiday Inn Express are all offering discounts and special rates during the holiday season.

Keep reading for details on New Year’s Eve in Albany, and some ideas for what to do the first day of 2016 as well.


Albany 2015 New Year’s Eve Celebrations

New Years Cocktail Celebration | 7 p.m. Dec. 31, 2015. Enjoy live music, creative cocktails, appetizers and a dessert bar. The New Year’s Eve Cocktail Celebration is held at the Boys & Girls Club of Albany, 1215 Hill Street, and proceeds help support the club. Tickets may be purchased the day of the event. 21 and over only. Info: 541-905-4713

Hoof N Holler Bull Riding and Cowboy Party | 6 p.m. Dec. 31, 2015. Celebrate New Year’s Eve with bull riding and a cowboy party at the Linn County Fair and Expo Center on, Dec. 31 2015. Gates open at 6 p.m., bull riding starts at 7:30. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Info: 503-589-2999 or www.hoofnholler.com

New Year’s Eve Casino & Cocktails at Boulder Falls Inn | 8 p.m., Dec. 31, 2015. Dance the night away at the new Boulder Falls Inn in Lebanon. Enjoy live music from Fate 55, dancing, casino games, spectacular raffle prizes, specialty cocktails, plus mouthwatering appetizers and desserts. Tickets: Boulder Falls Inn New Year’s Eve

Cellar Cat New Year’s Eve | 1 p.m.-close, Dec. 31, 2015. Special bar menu beginning at 1 p.m., New Year’s Eve dinner from 5-midnight, with or without wine pairings; live music from 9-midnight. Info: 541-704-0304 or www.cellarcat.com

Frankie’s Restaurant New Years Eve | Dec. 31, 2015. Multi-course dinner, fine wine, and cocktails. Call for reservations: 541-248-3671. www.frankies-oregon.com 

Vault 244 Bistro | Lounge New Year’s Eve |  4 p.m.-close, Dec. 31, 2015. Four-course dinner featuring tapas, salad, entree and dessert, including sparkling Spanish cava or sparkling French cider. Info: 541-791-9511 or www.vault244.com 

Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant New Year’s Eve Buffet | Dec. 31, 2015. Experience Novak’s authentic Hungarian recipes at their New Year’s Eve Buffet Extravaganza; reservations strongly encouraged. Call: 541-967-9488 or www.novakshungarian.com 

Sweet Red Bistro Masquerade Banquet | Dec. 31, 2015. Ring in the New Year with a multi-course masquerade banquet at Sweet Red Bistro. Call: (541)704-0510

The Day After: New Year’s Day options in Albany

Sybaris Hangover Brunch | 11 a.m. Jan. 1, 2016. Start the new year by enjoying a unique take on the ultimate hangover foods. Info: 541-928-8157 or sybarisbistro.com/

New Years Day at Frankie’s | 3 p.m.-close, Jan. 1, 2016. Come watch college ball games on the big screen at Frankie’s Restaurant. 541-248-3671,  www.frankies-oregon.com.

First Day Hikes | Jan. 1, 2016. Start the new year off like a true Oregonian: with a hike. Oregon State Parks is offering free guided  First Day Hikes at 28 parks on Jan. 1, 2016, including seven different locations in the Willamette Valley. Click for details: First Day Hikes

We’ll add to this list as we learn of more! If you know of a public New Year’s dinner, event, or party to add to our guide, send details to info@albanyvisitors.com.

Photo: Vault 244 by W Design