St. Patricks Day

Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), who was the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official Christian feast day in the early 17th century and is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland), the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Lutheran Church. The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilís, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks. Christians who belong to liturgical denominations also attend church services and historically the Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol were lifted for the day, which has encouraged and propagated the holiday’s tradition of alcohol consumption.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador (for provincial government employees), and the British Overseas Territory of Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora around the world, especially in the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. Modern celebrations have been greatly influenced by those of the Irish diaspora, particularly those that developed in North America. In recent years, there has been criticism of Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations for having become too commercialized and for fostering negative stereotypes of the Irish people.

Cross Creek Golf Course

An exquisite and challenging eighteen hole layout, Cross Creek combines traditional as well as links style golf.

This eighteen hole track is located in the Mid-Willamette Valley just thirteen miles west of Salem on Highway 22. Cross Creek is becoming one of the most popular courses in the Mid-Willamette Valley. At 6,900 yards, the course features a relaxing and pleasurable experience for any caliber of player. Cross Creek Golf Course has always been known as a family-friendly oriented golf course, and is the perfect setting for special events and golf tournaments.

Cross Creek Golf Course is quickly building a reputation as one of the premier, daily fee golf experiences in the Willamette Valley. This is truly a must play golf course.

Ken’s Tip of the Month:

Controlling the speed of your putts.

Putting looks so simple, but once you are on a real-life golf course the putting greens take on a whole new dimension. The cup looks smaller and the target a lot farther away. There is no magic tip that will get you stroking every putt just right, but practicing and playing regularly will help you develop feel in relatively short order. Every time you practice, set aside at least tent to fifteen minutes for putting. Start from close range to long range, getting each putt within 2 or 3 feet should be your primary goal. Don’t worry about making putts from this distance. Practice putting uphill, downhill, and side hill. You will quickly learn to trust your mind to gauge the effect of slopes on the speed of your putts.

Good Luck and remember, the purpose of this game is to have fun!

http://www.crosscreekgc.com/

8 Reasons to Visit Dallas, Oregon

An idyllic town with history, trails and wineries. Set among vineyards and rolling hills, Dallas is located about 25 minutes outside of Salem, Oregon. Its owner-operated businesses, small-town charm and walkable downtown square will have you feeling like you’re in Mayberry – for all the right reasons.

  1. Walk the historic downtown.

Although only one building in the core of downtown Dallas is on the National Register of Historic Places, almost every building was built between 1880 and 1910. The town itself is centered around the Polk County Courthouse, which was completed in 1900 and is one of the oldest courthouses still in use in the state. With a 95-foot clock tower, the building is hard to miss.

Surrounding the courthouse, rows of historically-significant buildings house restaurants, antique shops and murals depicting the town’s history.

  1. Peruse antique stores and more.

In downtown Dallas, you won’t find big-name stores. Instead, you’ll find locally-owned shops selling one-of-a-kind items. For antique and vintage treasures, visit Some Things and the Dallas Antique Mall. Right down the street, Main Street Emporium of Dallas has a variety of new and upcycled home goods, children’’ toys and clothing.

Quilters come from all over the country and world to visit Grandma’s Attic Quilt Shop. From fabrics and patterns to quilting lessons and advice, the store offers a little bit of everything and has been a staple in the community for more than 20 years.

  1. Coffee bars, restaurants and taphouses.

For a small town, Dallas boasts a handful of appetizing restaurants, including Pressed Coffee & Wine Bar. Often referred to as the hub of the community, Pressed is a great place to grab a coffee in the morning, order a light lunch in the afternoon and enjoy live music and trivia in the evenings.

If you’re looking for fine dining with farm-to-table food, look no further than Latitude One. Owned by a longtime Dallas resident, the seasonal menu features locally-harvested ingredients in dishes such as steamed clams, mushroom fettuccine and prime rib sliders.

With 65 different taps, West Valley Taphouse is sure to have something to quench your thirst. Most of the taps are dedicated beers, ciders, and Kombucha from the Pacific Northwest, but there are also beers available from around the world.

  1. Plan a day in the parks.

Dallas has an extensive system of parks. At 35 acres, Dallas City Park is the largest park in town. Among its amenities are an 18-hole disc golf course, a suspension bridge, Japanese garden and swimming hole.

On the other side of town, you’ll find Central Bark, an off-leash dog park, and Roger Jordan Community Park, which has a skate park and the only pickleball courts in the area.

Several of the town’s 11 parks are connected through the Rickreall Creek Trail, a multi-use trail for pedestrians, bicyclists and bird-watchers that runs along the creek it’s named after. Once completed, the 4.2-mile trail will connect the west end of Dallas to the east end.

  1. Explore the Delbert Hunter Arboretum.

The Delbert Hunter Arboretum and Botanic Garden is one of Dallas’ hidden gems. Nestled against Rickreall Creek, the arboretum serves as a living museum of native plants. It showcases many species of plants and trees, including high-desert plants, rare shrubs, and flowers. With several walking paths and benches throughout, the arboretum is a perfect place to connect with nature.

  1. Visit Oregon Wine Country.

Polk County is known for expansive vineyards and delicious wines, and Dallas is no exception. There are a handful of wineries located just minutes outside of the downtown area. Take in sweeping valley views at Van Duzer Vineyards, visit one of Namaste Vineyards’ tow tasting rooms or taste wine (and grapeseed oil) at Chateau Bianca Winery.

For a truly unique wine experience, schedule a visit at Illahe Vineyards. The winery strives to make wine as naturally as possible and uses many historical winemaking techniques. Some of the wines are made entirely by hand, without electricity or modern machines!

  1. Bring the kids.

If you’re traveling with children, you’ll want to see what is playing at the Dallas Cinema. Although its undergone a series of name changes, the theater first opened in 1949. It only has one screen, but it shows affordable movies throughout the week.

The entire family can also enjoy the Dallas Aquatic Center. Open for lap and recreational swimming, it features five pools, a waterslide and a spray fountain. The center also offers dedicated times for individuals with special needs, toddlers and adults-only swims.

  1. Learn about nature at the wildlife refuge.

Just shy of 2,500 acres, Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge is home to a wide variety of wildlife and plants. The refuge features extensive croplands, wetlands and woodlands, making it an ideal habitat for wintering Canada geese, black-tailed deer and the rare, endangered butterfly known as Fender’s blue.

There are also miles of dirt trails for visitors to hike, viewing platforms and information kiosks.

Chinese New Years

This February 3rd is the Chinese Year of the Pig! The Pig is the twelfth of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Pig was late because he overslept. Another story says that a wolf destroyed his house. He had to rebuild his home before he could set off. When he arrived, he was the last one and could only take twelfth place.

The Pig is also associated with the Earthly Branch and the hours 9 through 11 in the night. In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth. Their chubby faces, and big ears are signs of fortune as well. Pigs have a beautiful personality and are blessed with good fortune in life.

Famous People Born in Year of the Pig:

  • Ronald Reagan: February 6th, 1911
  • Alexander the Great: July 21st, 256 B.C
  • Thomas Jefferson: April 13th, 1743
  • Michael Jackson: August 29th, 1958
  • Elton John: March 25th, 1947
  • Hillary Clinton: October 26th, 1947
  • Andrew Jackson: March 15th, 1767
  • Ernest Hemingway: July 21st, 1899
  • Alfred Hitchcock: August 13th, 1899
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger: July 30th,1947
  • Mitt Romney: March 12th, 1947
  • Snoop Dogg: October 20th, 1971
  • Stephen King: September 21st, 1947

World Cup Avicii Mac Miller Stan Lee “Black Panther” Meghan Markle AnthonyBourdain Stephen Hawking

Spirit Mountain Casino

Up Coming Events:

February 9th Egelbert Humbperdinck will be performing at Spirit Mountain Casino as part of his The Angel on My Shoulder Tour! Engelbert’s music has transcended time and his voice still continues to reach out to people now – serving to transport and inspire, to embrace and to provoke feelings and emotions… ingredients that are no doubt the essence of his long-lasting success.

Purchase your tickets at: https://www.spiritmountain.com/events/engelbert-humperdinck


Kevin and Caruso’s Magique brings illusion to life March 9th! On the heels of touring some of the world’s biggest stages, the talented illusionists will astonish audiences with their signature illusions, glamourous handmade costumes, glorious gimmicks, and fantastic surprises.

Purchase your tickets at:  https://www.spiritmountain.com/events/kevin-carusos-magique


Comedian Ron “Tater Salad” is a classic storyteller; relaying tales from his real life ranging from growing up in a small town in Texas to sharing stories of his daily life, to becoming one of the most successful comedians in America. Ron rose to fame as the cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour phenomenon, but since 2004 has established himself as a star in his own right. Over the past nine years he has been one of the top three grossing stand-up comedians on tour in America. During this time, all four of his comedy albums have charted #1 on the BillboardTM Comedy Charts. He is a three time Grammy-nominated comedian, and has sold over 10 million albums.

Purchase your tickets at: https://www.spiritmountain.com/events/ron-white

World Cup Avicii Mac Miller Stan Lee “Black Panther” Meghan Markle AnthonyBourdain Stephen Hawking

National Plan For Vacation Day

Did you know that over half of Americans report having unused vacation time at the end of the year? Don’t let that be you!

National Plan for Vacation Day, celebrated on the last Tuesday of January, is a day to encourage Americans to plan their time off. You don’t have to go to exotic places, or half way across the country to relax. Take a staycation and learn about the area you live in.

Steps for planning your vacation time:

  1. Confirm your time off benefits with your employer. Determine how much time off you earn. Don’t forget to make note of any office closures, weekends, and major holidays. Americans who plan out their vacation days are more likely to use all their time off, and the best planners know the key to success is blocking the calendar early.
  2. Create your own itinerary for your visit to the Mid-Willamette Valley! Check out some sample itineraries based on travel styles to get some ideas!
  3. Share your dates with your manager, and share your trip with your family and friends! Americans who plan out their vacation days are more likely to use all their time off, and the best planners know the key to success is blocking the calendar early.
  4. Don’t forget to share your photos on social media, tagging the places and businesses you visited.

Have fun!

World Cup Avicii Mac Miller Stan Lee “Black Panther” Meghan Markle AnthonyBourdain Stephen Hawking

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve is a major social holiday for many people in the United States. Many people hold parties at home or attend special celebrations to celebrate the upcoming New Year. In many cities, large scale public events are held. These often attract thousands of people.

A particularly striking aspect of the New Year’s Eve festivities is the ball drop in Time Square in Manhattan, New York City. The ball is made of crystal and electric lights and is placed on top of a pole, which is 77 feet high. At one minute before midnight the ball is lowered slowly down the pole. It comes to rest at the bottom of the pole at exactly midnight. The event is shown on television across the United States and around the world. The event has been held every year since 1907, except during World War II.

Across the United States a range of cities and towns hold their own version of the ball drop. A variety of objects are lowered or raised during the last minute of the year. The objects are usually linked to an aspect of local history or industry. Examples include a variety of live and modeled domestic and wild animals, fruit, vegetables, automobiles, industrial machinery, a giant replica of a peach (Atlanta, Georgia), an acorn made of brass and weighing 900 pounds (Raleigh, North Carolina) and ping pong balls (Strasburg, Pennsylvania).

December 31st is not a federal holiday, but it does fall in the holiday season at the end of the year. It is a holiday in some states like Kentucky, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Most schools and other educational institutions throughout the United States are closed. Some organizations are closed, and others are open but offer limited services. Many stores are open on New Year’s Ever, but may close early. Many theaters, clubs and other entertainment venues have special programs. It may be necessary to reserve tickets many weeks in advance.

Public transit systems may operate normal or reduced services. Some companies extend their schedules into the early hours of January 1st to enable people who have attended New Year’s Eve parties to return home safely. If you need to use public transit on December 31st, it is wise to check the appropriate timetables carefully before you travel. Below we have included a link to our local bus system. You can also contact Squirrels Taxi Service at (917) 240-1208.

There may be some traffic or diversions around large scale events. Diversions may be in effect in the days before New Year’s Eve so that stands can be built. It is wise to check the local media if you wish to drive to or near large scale events.

Curious as to what events are going on in our local area? Click on the Chamber link to see what people are doing this New Year’s Eve.

Have fun, and be safe!

 

https://www.cherriots.org/services/

http://business.dallasoregon.org/events/

A Christmas History Part 2

It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. Americans re-invented Christmas, and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia. But what about the 1800s peaked American interest in the holiday?

The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot. This catalyzed certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated in America.

In 1818, best-selling author Washington Irving wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. The sketches feature a squire who invited the peasants into his home for the holiday. In contrast to the problems faced in American society, the two groups mingled effortlessly. In Irving’s mind, Christmas should be a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status. Irving’s fictitious celebrants enjoyed “ancient customs,” including the crowning of a Lord of Misrule. Irving’s book, however, was not based on any holiday celebration he had attended – in fact, many historians say that Irving’s account actually “invented” tradition by implying that it described the true customs of the season.

Also around this time, English author Charles Dickens created the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol. The story’s message – the importance of charity and good will towards all humankind – struck a powerful chord in the United States and England, and showed members of Victorian society the benefits of celebrating the holiday.

The family was also becoming less disciplined and more sensitive to the emotional needs of children during the early 1800s. Christmas provided families with a day when they could lavish attention – and gifts – on their children without appearing to “spoil” them.

As Americans began to embrace Christmas as a perfect family holiday, old customs were unearthed. People looked toward recent immigrants and Catholic and Episcopalian churches to see how the day should be celebrated. In the next 100 years, Americans build a Christmas tradition all their own that included pieces of many other customs, including decorating trees, sending holiday cards, and gift-giving.

Although most families quickly bought into the idea that they were celebrating Christmas how it had been done for centuries, Americans had really re-invented a holiday to fill the cultural needs of a growing nation.

Christmas Facts:

  • Each year, 30-35 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States alone. There are 21,000 Christmas tree growers in the United States, and trees usually grow for about 15 years before they are sold.
  • The first eggnog made in the United States was consumed in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement.
  • Poinsettia plants are named after Joel R. Poinsett, an American minister to Mexico, who brought the red-and-green plant from Mexico to America in 1828.
  • The Salvation Army has been sending Santa Claus-clad donation collectors into the streets since the 1890s.
  • Rudolph, “the most famous reindeer of all,” was the product of Robert L. May’s imagination in 1939. They copywriter wrote a poem about the reindeer to help lure customers into the Montgomery Ward department store.
  • Construction workers started the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree tradition in 1931.

A Christmas History Part 1

Christmas is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of Jesus. Early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days, and extended hours of sunlight.

In the early years of Christianity, Easter was the main holiday; the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth. Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring, Pope Julius I chose December 25th. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century. By the end of the eighth century, the celebration of Christmas had spread all the way to Scandinavia. Today, in Greek and Russian orthodox churches, Christmas is celebrated 13 days after the 25th, which is also referred to as the Epiphany or Three Kings Day. This is the day it is believed that the three wise men finally found Jesus in the manger.

By holding Christmas at the same time as traditional winter solstice festivals, church leaders increased the chances that Christmas would be popularly embraced, but gave up the ability to dictate how it was celebrated. By the Middle Ages, Christianity had, for the most part, replaced pagan religion. On Christmas, believers attended church, then celebrated raucously in a drunken, carnival-like atmosphere similar to today’s Mardi Gras. Each year, a beggar or student would be crowned the “lord of misrule” and eager celebrants played the part of his subjects. The poor would go to the houses of the rich and demand their best food and drink. If owners failed to comply, their visitors would most likely terrorized them with mischief. Christmas became the time of the year when the upper classes could repay their real or imagined “debt” to society by entertaining less fortunate citizens.

In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.

The pilgrims, English separatists that come to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26th, 1870.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Feeling bored? Uninspired by life? Do you need four cups of coffee just to break the monotony of the 9 to 5? Fortunately, there is one special day in December that will alleviate these common maladies. That day, my friend is National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day on Friday, December 21st!

Lurking in the murky depths of many people’s wardrobe is a colorful, brash and in most cases, highly embarrassing novelty Christmas sweater which, were it not for Ugly Christmas Sweater Day would probably never see the light of day. When Ugly Christmas Sweater Day comes along, it is time to stop being ashamed of the contents of your wardrobe and start busting out the ugly. There is such a thing as “so awful you can’t really hate it’, and Ugly Christmas Sweaters fit the bill.

Launched in 2011, this annual celebration, which is growing in popularity every year among adults and children, is not simply an excuse to parade humiliatingly-unfashionable seasonal knitwear featuring Rudolph, Christmas puddings and Frosty the Snowman; it is a light-hearted and enjoyable fundraising event with a serious aim in aid of Save the Children.

Since then it has been used as an important event to help drive charity funds for organizations that help children around the world deal with illnesses that should be anything more than a minor inconvenience. The firm belief that children should not die from easily treated diseases is what brings this holiday to the fore. It is often speculated that we subject ourselves to a minor harmless ailment, the sight of these hideous sweaters, to help save the children from medically similar situations.

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is about proudly sporting your favorite ugly Christmas sweater for the entire day… regardless of the circumstances. Wear it to school, to work, to your sister’s wedding. Got an important interview on Friday? Oops, tough luck. Worried the judge will increase your sentence if you show up to court in an ugly Christmas sweater? Sorry, no exception.

Share this special day with your friends and spread the word. Also, please send us pictures strutting your stuff in an ugly Christmas sweater.  We can’t leave Dallas out of the awesomeness that is, Ugly Christmas Sweater Day. Let’s rock this!

 

https://www.savethechildren.org