By Carol Reeves
Our first Winter’s Eve Corvallis was in 2004. Assistance League needed a new event to fund our programs. We had a brain storming session and came up with 101 ideas. During the first years, it seemed like we tried to incorporate 99 of those ideas into one event. We started out with two large tents on Madison Ave. Special Occasions (party rentals) put the tents up in the middle of the night. Unsure of how long the heaters would last, we didn’t turn them on during setup the first year and were frozen by the time we got the tents up and going. The first several years we tried a tree auction, made custom wreaths for sale, and had live entertainment. We have slowly but surely shaped it into the event it is today. The tree & wreath sales have gone by the wayside and we have condensed our event into one, block size tent which Special Occasions purchased for this event. In looking through the pictures I noticed a lot of restaurants and businesses have come and gone. It was fun to see the Gables, Michael’s Landing & Burtons (all gone now) participating in our first event. In 2004 we had 22 restaurants in the tent and this year we have 35 restaurants! Stores have come & gone too. We always try to get new merchants involved each year–It is a great way to showcase your store. We have 15 stores that have been with us the last 16 years.
Local artist Jan Roberts-Dominguez has created all the artwork for our event. Each year she creates a new design which we make into cards & ornaments.
Our most exciting year was in 2013. We had 9 inches of snow in downtown Corvallis. It was the most snow in 20 years. The tent goes up Thursday night and it hadn’t snowed yet. Once the tent was up, we were all in. A few stores had to close but most of them stayed open. Several members were snowed in and couldn’t make it but we covered our bases. Everyone was in a festive mood and those who made it downtown had a great time. There was really nothing else in town that night, so we had extra sales at the door. Each year we try & add something new. The last 3 years we have had an exciting raffle. The first year we had a Keith Urban Guitar, the second year we had an electric bicycle and this year we had a $1000 gift card to Market of Choice and an inflatable paddle board.