What to do in Oregon in 2017

17_OECGet ready for an Oregon year to be remembered! Many travelers will visit Oregon for the very first time—particularly in late August when a Total Solar Eclipse will occur on the 21st. Oregon’s Willamette Valley is prime TSE viewing territory, and many locales along the eclipse route will feature special viewing activities, food, celebration, and drink, including Albany.

The new 2017 Oregon Events Calendar, published by Pamplin Media Group, can help you plan your vacation—whether you hail from New York or Newberg. The Albany Visitors Association will have a supply of the publication at their office soon, but until we do, check out the digital edition.

In addition to the eclipse, Oregon is home to numerous annual music festivals, cycling and paddling relays, brew smackdowns, winery and culinary tours, and other venues to taste and experience our state in an entirely new way throughout the year. So come on, join us this year in Albany, Oregon.

*For print copies, please contact AVA at 541-9288-0911. Copies can be mailed, or you can stop by the office at 3rd and Lyon Streets in Downtown Albany, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

6 things you didn’t know you could do at the NW Art and Air Festival

16006210374_acd1569050_mAs one of Albany’s largest and most unique events, the ATI Northwest Art and Air Festival boasts countless activities for all ages to enjoy.  From the famous hot air balloons, to the rows of arts and crafts vendors, the festival packs Timber-Linn Park full of fun from corner to corner.

If you’ve never attended this spectacular event, you probably haven’t heard of all the things you can do there. We’ve compiled a list to show you why the Art and Air Festival is a can’t miss experience.

1) Concerts

With two stages featuring daily performances, the NW Art and Air concerts fill the festival with great music from incredible artists, including Bret Michaels, Kathy Boyd and Phoenix Rising, and many many more. All concerts are free with festival admission.

2) Night Glow

Watch a spectacular display of lights as hot air balloons are illuminated in a series of patterns lighting up the night sky. Children and adults alike will enjoy the show. Photographers, this is a great opportunity to take some incredible shots, so bring your tripods! Night Glow begins at dusk on Friday, August 26th.

3) Young Eagle Flights

This is a great opportunity for your kids to ride in a perfectly maintained vintage airplane, and it’s free! Registration begins at 9 am Saturday and Sunday, and spots are limited.  For a downloadable registration form (required) and more info, please make sure that you link to the registration information web page. Get there early to ensure that your child gets to take part in this one-of-a-kind experience.

4) All Ages Flights IMG_9464A

Kids aren’t the only ones able to take flight at the NW Art and Air Festival.  Adults can signup for rides from Infinite Air Center, a bi-plane, and even a helicopter.  Registration will be available at the show, and will require a fee.

5) Car Show

If you have a classic car and are eager to show it off, bring it to the festival’s Art of Cars show on Sunday, August 28th.  The show begins at 9 am. and gates open for registration at 8:00 a.m. Registration is $20. Awards will be presented at 3:00 p.m.

6) Hot Air Balloon Rides

You probably already knew that the Art and Air Festival is a great place to get close to hot air balloons, but did you know you can sign up to ride them? Reserve your spot online, and be ready to take off into the sunrise. You’ll never forget the incredible sights as you mingle with other balloons in the sky over Albany.

There is so much to do at the Northwest Art and Air Festival, so clear your calendars for August 26th through August 28th, and enjoy the fun!  More information about the Art and Air Festival is available here.

Photos by Stephanie Low (top) and Cathy Web (bottom).

Exploring the Seven Wondrous Trails – 1

Finding magic in Albany, Oregon

*The following article is the first installment in a series of seven, that will focus on local restaurants, events and unique businesses in Albany. The “Seven Trails” posts are written by AVA Executive Director Jimmie Lucht.


Melissa Babcock Saylor

TRAIL #1 – Albany and The Arts

Starting out on our trail, you will be amazed, entertained, surprised and enlightened by beautiful pieces of art at the Gallery Calapooia, 222 1st Ave W., Suite 100, 541.971.5701. The gallery makes shopping for that perfect home accent or gift easy, as the works of 20 regional artists display their works in oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings, jewelry, pen and ink drawings, layered vinyl images, fabrics, collage, felted art, photography, glass and ceramics.

Paint your own pottery or create a special ceramic piece, and the fine folks at Sure Fire Design will help glaze and fire it for you, 210 SW 2nd Ave, 542-1.928.7339.

When the pottery is wrapped and ready to go, the gentlemen (and ladies too!) can try their hand at fly-tying and get the scoop on the latest and greatest places to fish in Oregon. Mitch Smith, owner of Two Rivers Fly Shop is bound to fill your ears with big fish tales, 204 1st Ave W., 541.967.9800.

After tying a few flies, it’s time for a round of golf at the Albany Golf and Event Center, 155 Country Club Lane, 541.926.6059.

Next up? Take a leisurely afternoon stroll through the Talking Water Gardens, 577 Waverly Drive NE.  And if you crave even more rest and relaxation, what about a pampering spa treatment at the Level Three Salon and Spa, 317 1st Ave W, 541.905.4158.

On Friday evenings during the summer months at Albany’s Monteith River Park, enjoy the Movies At Monteith. The movies are free and concessions are available. Showtimes are at dusk, which varies, so please refer to the online schedule.

Since you’ve worked up an appetite, try one of Albany’s unique restaurants featuring award winning chefs. Visit Sybaris Bistro or Frankie’s Restaurant to enjoy a glass of local wine and an in- season, farm-to-table dining experience. Then back to your hotel so you will be rested and ready for another adventure in the morning—stay tuned for the next installment of the Seven Wondrous Trails.

An evening cemetery tour

Masonic Cemetery Albany, Oregon

Masonic Cemetery Albany, Oregon

On Wednesday, July 27th, at 7:00 p.m., the Albany Regional Museum and St. John’s Masonic Lodge #17 will host a memorable evening tour of a historic pioneer cemetery—the Albany Masonic Cemetery.

Featured headstones include nine prominent Albany pioneers—the Wheeler, Ross, Hale, Hudson, Meade, Althouse, and Parker families. Hear their stories and learn about their contributions to our city.

Admission is free, however parking is extremely limited. You are welcome to board the trolley at Two Rivers Market downtown at 6:30 p.m., where continuous free rides will ferry tour participants until dusk.

For more information, telephone 541-967-7122.

2016 Guided Historic Home Trolley Tour

pfiefier cottage inn

Albany’s Annual Summer Tour of Historic Homes 2016 will be a guided exterior trolley tour as part of the VIP experience at the Monteith House Museum.

In lieu of the interior tour for Summer 2016, the Monteith Historical Society will host a VIP tour which includes a narrated Trolley Tour (trolley tours leave on the hour from 11am-4pm), refreshments, and Monteith House Museum tour on Saturday, July 30, 2016. The trolley tour will highlight Albany homes, families and their history.

Tickets are available for sale the Albany Visitors Association and reservations are recommended.  The tour will be limited to 168 people total (28 people per tour). Ticket price is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Saturday, July 30, 2016 the Monteith House will be open for VIP tours only. 

Tour committee members are also working on the Annual Christmas Parlour Tour which will be held on Sunday, December 11, 2016. Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Albany’s Annual Interior Tours were created by a group of friends and neighbors to share the past through the architecture of historic dwellings. They are coordinated by Albany’s Historical Interior Tour Committee and sponsored by the Monteith Historical Society. Proceeds are dedicated to the Monteith Historical Society which is charged with preserving and sharing Albany’s Monteith House Museum.

For more information on the July 30th VIP Tour, Historic Home Tours or the Monteith House Museum please contact the Albany Visitors Association, (541) 928-0911.

Celebrate 4th of July in the mid-valley


 4th of July Cathy Flowers

Fun, Fireworks and Food in Albany and Beyond

Time to unfurl your flags and wave your sparklers — Independence Day is almost here, and mid-valley communities are pulling out all the stops to celebrate America’s birthday. Read all about the fun events and fireworks displays in the area and start planning your holiday now.


Lumberjack Breakfast, 6-11 a.m., July 1-3. Be a part of an Albany tradition when you head to Timber-Linn Park for an all-you-can eat breakfast. Sponsored by the East Albany Lions Club, the Lumberjack Breakfast is a fundraiser for the Lions Club’s charities. The breakfast is in Timber-Linn Park, 900 Price Rd. SE, and cost for the breakfast is $7 adults, $4 children.


Pancake Breakfast, 7-10 a.m. July 4: Support the Brownsville Fire Department at their annual pancake breakfast in Pioneer Park. $8 for adults and $5 for kids will buy you an all-you-can-eat breakfast–the antics of the firefighters serving your breakfast are free of charge.

Barbecue Beer Garden and Live Music, 3-7 p.m. July 4: Continue the celebration with delicious barbecue and live music at by the Main St. band.

Fireworks in the Park, just after dark, July 4: As night falls, spread out a blanket in Pioneer Park and watch the free fireworks show above the banks of the Calapooia River.


Red, White and Blue Riverfront Festival, All day, July 3-4: Celebrate our nation’s birthday in downtown Corvallis with live music, kids’ activities, craft booths, food vendors, and Oregon wine and microbrews.

Firecracker 5000, Join in on the Firecracker 5000, a 5K run/walk to celebrate the 4th of July. Wear red, white and blue to show your patriotic spirit! The Firecracker 5000 happens Monday at 9am and the race starts at the corner of Jackson Avenue and First Street. It’s $10 to join in. Learn more and sign up bgccorvallis.org/


Old-Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration, All day, July 4: Fourth of July is the biggest celebration of the year in Harrisburg. Events include face-painting, a chicken barbecue, craft and food vendors, a bounce house for kids, and live music.

Parade, 11 a.m. July 4: This year’s parade theme is “Past & Present.” No registration or entry form is needed to join the parade. Visitors can sit back and enjoy the patriotic spectacle.

Fireworks, after dusk, July 4: Head to Riverfront Park at dusk and enjoy a fireworks show on the banks of the Willamette River.


Star-Spangled Celebration, 6-10:30 p.m., July 4: Held on the grounds of Lebanon’s Cheadle Lake Park, the Star-Spangled Celebration features food, games, live dance music and more. Entry fee is $10 per carload of visitors, or $3 for walk-ins.

Fire in the Sky fireworks show, 10-10:30 p.m., July 4: The “Fire in the Sky” fireworks show caps off the evening at 10 p.m. and is included with admission.

Do you know of a Fourth of July event we didn’t mention? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Healthy Living Fair and Gorgeous Gardens to Visit this June

Summer is finally here and the sunshine is upon us. It’s a great time of year to get outdoors to enjoy the bounty and beauty of Oregon.

Mother Earth News Fair comes to Albany


There’ll be a whole lot of sustainable goodness packed into one weekend when the Mother Earth News Fair brings national experts on self-sufficiency to the Linn County Fair & Expo Center June 4-5, 2016, 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.

Great Gardens to Explore

Albany Garden Tour 2013Linn County Master Gardeners’ June Garden Tour

Saturday, June 18, 2016 is this year’s date for “Through the Garden Gate” – Linn County Master Gardeners’ Annual June Garden Tour, featuring six unique gardens showcasing local gardens at their best. Tour hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the suggested donation for tickets is $15.

This year’s array of gardens feature everything from outdoor wedding-worthy expanses, to small scale gardens packed with surprises, as well as edible and permaculture techniques sure to please every palate.

All the gardens will have Master Gardeners present, as well as garden owners, to answer your gardening questions. Bring a camera and notepad to document ideas you will want to take home for your own garden.Come with questions, get ideas, and enjoy the beauty of this year’s gardens.

Photo: A scene from the 2013 Garden Tour. Content help from Lynn Welp, a master gardener and former garden columnist for the Albany Democrat-Herald and Corvallis Gazette-Times.

BrownsvilleGarden image2016 Brownsville Garden Tour

Explore the garden path less taken and celebrate Brownsville gardens and those who create them. The tour, on Saturday June 25th, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. includes five local gardens, a community garden, Kirk Walnut trees, a Moyer Wisteria tree and a Brownsville walking tour map.

$15 per person. Tickets on sale at the Brownsville Senior Center, 345 N. Main

Proceeds benefit the Brownsville Garden Club and the Calapooia Food Alliance.

Other events and happenings in June:
Lebanon Strawberry Festival
Located at Cheadle Lake in Lebanon, this event includes parades, fireworks, entertainment, food and the World’s Largest Strawberry Shortcake!

2nd Annual Lamb & Wool Fair Auction
Don’t miss this annual fundraising event that hopes to ensure the continuation of the Linn Co. Lamb & Wool Fair in Scio, Oregon. Dinner tickets can be purchased in advance at the Linn Co. Lamb & Wool Fair at www.lambfair.com. There will be a BBQ Dinner catered by GameTime Sports Bar & Grill beginning 5 p.m. and a silent auction.

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 www.historicbrownsville.com


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.

Travel Advisory for Albany and Linn County
- Albany Restaurants and Businesses, Road Condition reports
16th Annual Photo Contest
- See the winning photos for 2023