Christmas Greetings from Oregon


The calendar said Sept. 28, but inside the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum, you could practically hear Santa's sleighbells.

Linn County Rocks and carousel staff members teamed up to offer four craft days this fall, two for rock-painting and two for visitors to paint Christmas ornaments for the Sweet Home Ranger Station.

The station is collecting some 10,000 ornaments for both the main Christmas tree and companion trees that will be put up in Washington, D.C., this holiday season. The deadline for submission was Oct. 1.

This year's Capitol tree hasn't yet been chosen but is coming from the Willamette National Forest, and likely from the Sweet Home Ranger District.

The winning tree will be announced at a ceremony on Nov. 2. It will then retrace the Oregon Trail in reverse on its way to Washington, traveling more than 3,000 miles and arriving Nov. 28. A formal lighting ceremony will be held in early December.

Jennifer Tyner said she's always looking for family activities. The idea of joining in a nationally recognized effort helped prompt her to travel from Stayton to visit her daughter, Kelcie Tyner, in Albany and bring everyone to the carousel.

"I got super excited and told them, you're all going. The whole family's going," she said. "I think it's really cool that Oregon has the tree and the ornaments."

Ornament painters could choose from three sizes of round wooden ornaments to paint. The largest will go on the Capitol tree and the smaller ones will go on companion trees. 

Artists were asked to follow an Oregon or Christmas theme. Cathy Rackham of Albany looked up Pinterest ideas before deciding on three small designs: a snowflake, an angel and a Nativity scene.

She smiled at the thought of maybe being able to see her artwork on national television if anyone at the Capitol pulls in for a closeup. "I think that's so amazing," she said. "Isn't that amazing?"

Artists turned in more than a hundred ornaments Sept. 28 and probably close to that many at the first painting party two weeks before, said Nisa McVay of Linn County Rocks. 

Using acrylic paints provided by the carousel, or sometimes taking ornaments home to provide their own touches, contributors expounded on a variety of Northwest and holiday themes: lighthouses, covered bridges, Douglas firs, sea stars, snowmen, wreaths, candy canes and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. At least two ornaments featured careful renderings of the carousel building itself.

Evie Baker, 12, of Corvallis outlined a stylized flower similar to a poinsettia, while Paul Napper, visiting family in Springfield from his home in Michigan, used his thumb to blend white foam into a seascape.

Timberlee Leslie of Albany outlined a mountain scene. "My 11-year-old painted it black and decided she was done, so I had to do something," she joked.

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Written by Jennifer Moody


Tuesday, October 9, 2018