Author: Olga Karavaeva
If you wish to experience Old World without leaving Oregon, Mount Angel is the place to be. Owing its Germanic flavor to settlers from Bavaria and Benedictine monks from Switzerland, the city of Mt Angel is also home to Oktoberfest, the largest folk festival in the Pacific Northwest that brings together over 300,000 people each year. The four-day festival has been held every September since 1966.
The butte overlooking the city was once a center of worship for the Native Americans who called it Tapalamaho, which means "the mount of communion". In 1881, a group of Benedictine monks from Engelberg, Switzerland, arrived in Oregon looking for a suitable location to for their new home. They settled in the area with a large group of Bavarian immigrants who arrived approximately at the same time. In 1883, the monks established a school for boys and the Mt. Angel Abbey. The area itself became known as Mount Angel (an anglicized version of Engelberg), and was incorporated as the city of Mt Angel on April 3, 1893.
Nowadays, Mt Angel is a small community of approximately 3,700 people. Nestled between Oktoberfest to its north and Silverton to the south, 18 miles northeast of Salem and 45 miles south of Portland on Highway 214, the city lies in the fertile Willamette Valley between the Cascade Mountains and the Coastal Range. Mt Angel’s economy is based on both agriculture and industry. Farmers grow berries, Christmas trees, and crops, while several businesses operate in the industrial zone close to the Southern Pacific line.
When visiting Mt Angel, enjoy the Bavarian-style storefronts, delicious food and novelty shops. Among the Mt Angel attractions are St. Mary Church, Elaine Annen Doll Museum, the Glockenspiel (the largest in the United States), Benedictine Sisters Monastery, Mount Angel Abbey, the Maibaum – Tree of Trades, Wurstfest, Hazelnut Fest and German Holiday Market.