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Nuts! Fest returns to Festhalle

By Stephen Floyd

Hazelnut Fest is returning to the Festhalle this year in Mount Angel, along with a renewed emphasis on local hazelnut producers and vendors.

Scheduled for Dec. 1 – 3, the event is free to attend. It will feature food, specialty beers, live entertainment and Christmas shopping opportunities.

Sarah Bauman, president of the Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce, which organized the event, said the Hazelnut Festival is an opportunity to celebrate an important part of local agriculture.

“The [Chamber] made a point this year to bring the hazelnut back into focus and offer more hazelnut vendors and incorporate local hazelnut farmers,” said Bauman. “On a bigger scale, it brings people to Mount Angel and hopefully, in turn, to the small businesses in our town.”

Hazelnut Fest was founded in 2012 to celebrate the prominent role of the Willamette Valley in the hazelnut industry, as well as to offer a German-style Christmas market. 

It was declared “Best New Festival” by the Oregon Festival & Events Association in 2014 and is now a staple in the Mount Angel festival firmament.

The festival honors these early years by funding a scholarship named for original co-organizer Maureen Earnst, who died in 2018. The Maureen Ernst Memorial Scholarship is given annually to a Kennedy High School senior who exemplifies volunteerism. Festival proceeds also support Mount Angel’s 4th of July parade and firework show.

In 2022 the festival moved to downtown and was held in conjunction with Discover Mount Angel’s Christkindlmarkt, which showcases local businesses. This year the Christkindlmarkt is the same weekend as Hazelnut Festival and Bauman said she hopes attendees will take advantage of the easy walk between downtown and the Festhalle to visit both events.

Also scheduled that weekend is the Christmas tree lighting Dec. 2, 6 p.m., downtown at near city hall. Families can visit Santa and enjoy hot chocolate. Adults can try Gluhwein, a warm mulled Christmas wine.

Buddy the Elf,  Giggle Britches the clown, and perhaps even Santa will make appearances at times, Bauman said.

Hazelnut Festival
Mount Angel Festhalle
500 Wilco Hwy. NE
Friday, Dec. 1, 4 – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 2, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. hazelnutfest.com

Tree Lighting
5 N. Garfield, Mount Angel
Saturday, Dec. 2, 6 p.m.

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