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Silverton chamber is a partner with Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce this year

INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO - Salem residents and siblings, from left, Lillian, Henry and Rose Langen Swartzendruber take turns cracking hazelnuts with a wooden mallet at the Hazelnut Fest a few years ago.The Hazelnut Fest returns for 2018 with plans to make a nutty experience even better as the Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce partnered with Silverton Chamber of Commerce to hold its annual Mount Angel-Silverton Hazelnut Fest and German Holiday Market on Dec. 1-2. The festival celebrates one of the Willamette Valley's largest agricultural crops.

The Hazelnut Fest includes a German Holiday Market featuring regional arts and crafts, authentic and traditional German Christmas decorations and crafts, Oregon wineries and breweries, as well as foods that highlight hazelnuts.

The festival will be held in the Mount Angel Festhalle, 500 Wilco Highway from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Admission and parking is free.

Events include the Hazelnut Run 5K roadrace/walk at 10 a.m. Saturday. Runners and Walkers can register at www.racenorthwest.com.

Live entertainment, including the accordion talent of Joe Szabo, will take place both days. Santa will visit with children on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the "Kindergarten" area, where Mount Angel Public Library will host crafts, interactive science activities and book giveaways (children must remain accompanied at all times).

Guests can participate in a Cookie Crawl, in which they visit the more than two dozen vendors to collect as many stamps as possible.

This year, with the relationship between the Mount Angel and Silverton chambers of commerce, Mount Angel is participating in Silverton's Shop Hop. Having started on Black Friday and continuing through Dec. 11, anyone can shop in Mount Angel and Silverton stores for an opportunity to win prizes. For a map of participating businesses, stop by the Silverton Chamber of Commerce, 426 S. Water St., or inquire at Hazelnut Festival.

The event received the Ovation award for "2013 Best New Festival" by the Oregon Festival & Events Association.

The history of the Hazelnut in the Willamette Valley of Oregon dates back to the settlement of the valley by early French settlers. Today, more than 650 growers are located in Oregon, the prime growing region for hazelnuts in the United States.

The annual Hazelnut Fest and German Holiday Market is entirely volunteer run.

To learn more, visit http://www.mtangelchamber.org.

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