Hazelnut Festival proves to be a popular draw
A woman with a couple of youngsters in tow was heading out of Mount Angel's Festhalle early Saturday afternoon and had a quick question.
"We're looking to have some good German food. Do you have any recommendations?"
Silverton Chamber of Commerce Director Stacy Palmer fielded that question, sending the family into town with directions to Mount Angel's Glockenspiel Restaurant and Pub.
Palmer wasn't pinch hitting for the Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce; she was on hand for the annual Hazelnut Festival, for which both cities' chambers teamed up to host this year.
"This is the first year that Silverton Chamber and the Mount Angel Chamber are partnering for this festival," Palmer said, noting that organizers are pleased to see a record number of vendors.
"It's been really successful," Palmer said.
Her remark was well illustrated behind her where scores of people sifted through the aisles, visiting an arrangement of vendors, most of whom hailed from the immediate mid-Willamette Valley region. Further testimony was visible just out the front doors where vehicles lined both sides of Wilco Highway, stretching north all the way into town.
"This has been a great opportunity to bring a lot of people into the area to explore Mount Angel and Silverton comfortably since it's not as crowded as events like Oktoberfest," Palmer said.
"We packed the Festhalle with vendors selling all kinds of products, most are local, many of the items are handmade," Mount Angel City Manager Amber Mathiesen said. "Many of the products have a hazelnut twist."
Among the most popular of those twists was a free scoop of hazelnut ice cream from Lochmead Dairy.
The two-chamber partnership was, in part, an expedient arrangement following the death of Maureen Ernst, a festival co-founder and longtime Mount Angel Chamber board member. Ernst worked tirelessly spearheading the event in previous years. Visitors could purchase a hazelnut cookbook near the Festhalle vestibule for $10; proceeds from sales benefit the Maureen Ernst Community Scholarship Fund, which benefits Kennedy High School students who show the spirit of volunteerism in the community.
Mathiesen said community members can contribute to the scholarship fund at Mount Angel Chamber ofCommerce, P.O. Box 221, Mount Angel, OR 97362.
The festivities weren't confined to the Festhalle, as the Glockenspiel served hot cocoa to kids downtown, a 5k "Nut Run" kicked around town Saturday morning, a glow walk set out at 5 p.m. to the "Tree of Trade," and the town's official tree lighting took place Saturday evening.
"We had great attendance both days," Mathiesen said Monday. "We thank our sponsors, vendors, visitors, and volunteers for making this our best Hazelnut Fest to date."