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Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce hosts annual festival that includes German holiday market

INDEPENDENT FILE PHOTO - Families can peruse the various stands of vendors at the Hazelnut Festival's German holiday market during the event Dec. 2-3 at the Mount Angel Festhalle.The sixth annual Hazelnut Festival returns to Mount Angel Dec. 2 and 3, providing a "nutty" experience and a German holiday market.

The festival, which is put on by the Mount Angel Chamber of Commerce, celebrates one of the Willamette Valley's largest agricultural crops.

"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 800 growers are located in Oregon," Maureen Ernst, co-chair of the event, said in a press release.

"There were more than 3,000 new acres of hazelnuts planted in 2016 for a total of 60,000 acres and 99 percent of the country's hazelnuts are grown right here in Oregon," Ernst continued. "Many of the farm families are third- and fourth-generation orchardists, working the same orchards as their pioneering predecessors. They are passionate about protecting the productivity of the land and trees for generations to come."

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 N.E.

Events for the weekend include the "Run For Your Nuts" 5K run/walk at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. Runners and walkers can register at www.racenorthwest.com.

Entertainment includes accordionist Joe Szabo, and Santa and his helpers will be on hand to visit with children from noon to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

The Children's Corner, presented by Mount Angel Public Library, is back this year. Every child receives a free book and a craft project to take home.

The "Cookie Crawl" is for young and old. Simply check in at the front table and receive a map that includes the locations for all the vendors that have cookies to enjoy.

Admission to the festival is free.

The Hazelnut Festival has received the Ovation Award for "Best New Festival" by the Oregon Festival & Events Association, whose members represent more than 1,200 festivals and events in Oregon.

For more information, visit www.mtangelchamber.com.

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