One of the best things about summer time in Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the plethora of festivals and fairs. If you want to watch colorful hot air balloons launch in the morning and then glow at night, admire vintage cars and airplanes, shop the wares of Northwest artisans, and listen to some great music, don’t miss the Northwest Air & Art Festival. Held at Timber Linn Memorial Park in Albany, Oregon August 21-23, 2015, this annual event (usually the fourth weekend in August) is family-friendly, free, and filled with fun.
The Northwest Art and Air Festival began in 2000 and is Albany’s signature event of the summer. With its pretty lake, picnic areas, playground, ball fields, disc golf, dog run, and open space, 100-acre Timber Linn Memorial Park is a popular destination on any summer day, and especially ideal for a three-day festival. It is adjacent to Albany Municipal Airport and the Blue Ox RV Park is close, too. Weather permitting, the festivities begin at 6:45 am each day when the south end of the park turns into a launchpad for some 35 hot air balloons (get there early to watch the crews inflate these kaleidoscopic giants). Once in the air, it’s like watching a floating art museum! If you don’t mind making advance reservations and getting up in the wee hours (check-in is 5:30 am), you can take a paid ride that lasts 45-90 minutes. Half a dozen balloons participate in the Night Glow on Friday at dusk. Balloon pilots and crews set up the colorful fabric envelopes in an open area on the east side of the park, inflate them while tethered to the ground, and illuminate the balloons in a series of patterns. Gorgeous!
More than 75 artists from throughout the Northwest sell their wares at the festival. Artwork includes wood, metal, jewelry, raku, pottery, porcelain, stained glass, fused glass, fiber, oil and watercolor paintings, and more. The Red Robin Family Zone features crafts, live demonstrations, active play, and the Reptile Man mobile unit to entertain kids. The car show on Saturday features hundreds of hot rods, vintage vehicles, and classic cars. Hop a free trolley over to the Albany Municipal Airport for sky diving demonstrations and to take a bi-plane or helicopter ride. Antique aircraft are also on display. Of course a variety of food and drink vendors will satisfy any craving you have for savory or sweet treats, and you’ll find musical talent performing on two stages. See you there!
IF YOU GO:
Timber Linn Memorial Park
900 Price Rd. SE
Albany, Oregon 97322
$5 per day parking fee at Timber Linn Memorial Park or the Linn County Expo Center.
Driving directions from I-5 South:
• Exit 234, towards Fair/Expo Center
• Turn right onto Knox Butte Rd.
• Turn right onto SE Timber St
• Turn right onto Dogwood Ave which becomes Price Rd SE
• Timber Linn Park will be on your left
Driving directions from I-5 North:
• Exit 233, towards US-20 / Lebanon
• Turn left onto Price Rd SE
• Timber Linn Park will be on your right
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In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com