Holiday Happenings In Salem and the Mid-Willamette Valley
The most wonderful time of the year is here, and with it comes a bevy of holiday happenings—some of which are returning after scaling back in 2019 or taking the season off altogether.
Silverton Christmas Market
November 26 – January 9
The onetime Christmas in the Garden celebration, long a popular holiday attraction at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton, is getting a new name in 2021: the Silverton Christmas Market.
The name might be new, but much remains the same at the European-inspired attraction, running Nov. 26, 2021-Jan. 9, 2022.
Roughly one million lights will twinkle in the garden’s wooded area, with themed displays illuminating all manner of family festivities—including a snowless tubing hill, an artisan vendor market (complete with imported German nutcrackers and ornaments), photos with Santa Claus, live music, and more. Visitors can warm up with hot cocoa, nosh on seasonal fare, and relax around outdoor, wood-burning fire pits throughout the event—and those of age can unwind with a cold one in the market’s biergarten.
GLOW Holiday Market & Light Display
November 27 – January 9
Head to Riverview Park in historic Independence for the GLOW Holiday Market and Light Display. Twinkling lights are on display every evening starting at dusk and you can pick up unique gifts for friends and family while supporting local artisans at this special holiday market, happening December 11 and 18, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The market includes live music, local makers and tasty treats for your holiday enjoyment!
Salem Holiday Market
December 10 - 12
Salem and the mid-Willamette Valley are home to a thriving community of artists—and, every winter, that creative group comes together for the Salem Holiday Market.
The annual market—happening Dec. 10-12, 2021, at the Oregon State Fair & Expo Center in Salem—brings together more than 250 vendors selling high-quality, handmade items for everyone on your list (even your pets!). This year, visitors will find creative crochet items, small-batch pastries, dog treats, paintings, handcrafted jewelry, metalwork, artisan chocolates, and much more.
Other attractions include door prizes, children’s activities, a gingerbread house contest, a tree-decorating contest, and even interactive robotics activities (presented by the robotics program at Salem’s Chemeketa Community College).
Holiday Lights Parade
Every winter, holiday cheer hits the road in Keizer—River Road, to be exact—for the annual Holiday Lights Parade.
Happening at 7 p.m. Dec. 11, the parade marches south on River Road between Lockhaven Drive NE and Glynbrook Street N—a distance of just under two miles. The parade includes colorful lighted entries from local businesses, fire districts, civic groups, and car clubs—not to mention marching bands belting out holiday hits and an appearance from Santa Claus himself.
If you can’t make it in-person, the parade will be broadcast live by 1490 AM KBZY Radio.
American Ballet Academy performances of “A Children’s Nutcracker”
December 11 - 12
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic upended our lives in early 2020, the Salem-born American Ballet Academy has seemingly done it all to retain its momentum: The group held classes over Zoom, staged outdoor performances, and more. So it’s welcome news that the academy will enjoy a return to normalcy with its upcoming production of “A Children’s Nutcracker” on Dec. 11-12, 2021, at the Elsinore Theatre in downtown Salem.
Scores of young ballet dancers will bring the holiday production to life—complete with beautiful costumes, Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, and (of course) the magical Sugarplum Fairy. And by attending, you’re even helping those in need this year: Profits from both performances will be donated to the Marion Polk Food Share, dedicated to ending hunger in Oregon.
Magic at the Mill
There’s plenty of space at the five-acre Willamette Heritage Center site—and the much-loved Magic at the Mill celebration takes full advantage with a festive celebration that also showcases a dash of regional history.
Happening Dec. 19-23, 2021, at the Willamette Heritage Center, Magic at the Mill returns this year with a wide range of activities. The family-friendly fun includes numerous light displays, live music, historical demonstrations, short walking tours, children’s activities, miniature train displays, appearances from Santa Claus, a holiday market (featuring everything from baked goods to one-of-a-kind artworks), and more.
WILLAMETTE HERITAGE CENTER
1313 Mill St. SE,
Salem, Oregon 97301 (503) 585-7012
WILLAMETTE HERITAGE CENTER1313 Mill St. SE,
Salem, Oregon 97301
170 High St. SE,
Salem, Oregon 97301 (503) 375-3574
ELSINORE THEATRE170 High St. SE,
Salem, Oregon 97301
OREGON GARDEN RESORT
895 W Main St.,
Silverton, Oregon 97381 (503) 874-2500
OREGON GARDEN RESORT895 W Main St.,
Silverton, Oregon 97381