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Monday, December 20, 2004
Seeing that it's the Christmastime, things will slow down around here until after the New Year. This week I'll be posting random Christmastime tidbits from around Portland. First up, Alpenrose's Dairyville. It's Christmastime-elicious.
Here's a random Trivial Pursuit question for you: how many teats does a cow have?
This one came up during a game a few months ago. Only two of us could answer the question*. Why? Probably because we both grew up in SW Portland and attended an elementary school two blocks from the Alpenrose Dairy. The highlight of a 3rd grade field trip was the opportunity to a milk a dairy cow. I distinctly recall a huge bovine trotting up onto a stainless steel girder and indifferently waiting as a line of 30 preadolescents yanked on her teets. All things considered, the trip to OMSI was much more enjoyable.
Despite being engulfed by the city over the course of the past 40 years, Alpenrose still lives on. Along with being a fully operational dairy, it's a sort of pastoral Disneyland. [INSERT BANAL NEVERLAND RANCH JOKE HERE]. During the summer months, its sprawling acreage plays host to BMX races, mincart derbies and an annual Little League world series. In the center of the property lies Dairyville, a psuedo-Frontireland that contains an ice cream parlor, a doll museum, a music box museum and an opera house with a 4,000 pipe organ.
During the holiday season, Dairyville receives a seasonal overlay. The opera house plays cartoons along with special showings of It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th Street. Antique cars and horse carriages carry visitors around the property. The highlight is Storybook Lane Housed inside a converted barn, the attraction leads visitors past pint-sized buildings and scenes from Mother Goose. In one, a wooden wolf "bangs" on the door of a tiny, snow-covered cottage. Typically the live piglets inside are asleep and completely oblivious. In another, baby chicks bop around in a futile attempt to reenact Chicken Little.
A trip to Dairyville was an annual tradition throughout childhood. Once a year, waited in line for an hour to speak with Santa Claus and watch the same Popeye cartoons and Laurel and Hardy shorts in the opera house. As a kid, it was always a welcome break from endless trips to the mall and dull pilgrimages to the Festival of Lights at the Grotto.
To have a look at one of the city's most unique and widely forgotten attractions, Dairyville will be open through the 23rd, 11 AM - 5 PM.
* It's B.