EVENTS: Awesome 3000, ag fest and Earth Day events in Salem

Salem’s new football team plays this weekend, Oregon Ag Fest comes to the fairgrounds and the Awesome 3000 fun run takes over McCulloch Stadium.

Additionally, a free Earth Day celebration for all ages is coming to Keizer on Friday.

Here’s what’s happening in Salem during the week beginning Thursday, April 25.

Awesome 3000

The annual fun run to benefit the Salem-Keizer School District kicks off on Saturday morning, April 27, at McCulloch Stadium, 890 Mission St SE, next to Bush’s Pasture Park.

Thousands of racers from kindergarten through high school will participate in the races. The runs start at 8:15 a.m. for middle schoolers and end with the race at 11:11 a.m. for toddlers. Racers can register until the day of the event, and it’s free to watch and cheer on students. View a schedule here.

Ag party

A celebration of the state’s agricultural industry, Oregon Ag Fest features a petting zoo, pony rides, seed planting and more for the whole family. The event takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. NE

“We strive to bridge the gap between urban and rural life and share the wonder and bounty of Oregon’s bountiful and diverse harvest,” the event said.

Admission is free for children 15 and under and $15 for children 16 and over. Parking is free. Buy tickets here and view the full program here.

Arena football

Salem’s new football team, the Oregon Blackbears, will play the Wolfpack when its inaugural season begins. The brand new local indoor Arena Football League team plays on a 50-by-33-yard field, a quarter the size of a traditional football field, with fewer downtimes and more action, according to CEO Travelle Gaines, who spoke to the Salem Reporter in October.

The action starts Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at the Oregon State Fair and Expo Center, 2330 17th St. NE. Tickets start at $20 and are available online.

An afterparty will be held at Side Hustle Bar, 145 Liberty St., NE, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Sunday. Artist Ilovemakonnen will perform at halftime during the match and at the afterparty. Pre-sale tickets cost €17 and are available online.

Celebrate Earth Day with events and plant sales

Earth Day in Marion County The celebration will take place on Friday, April 26 from 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Spong’s Landing County Park, 6525 22nd Ave N. in Keizer. The free event includes face painting, baby goats, a scavenger hunt, guided walks and seed bomb building. Read more here.

The Mission Street Parks Conservancies annual plant sale runs Friday April 26 and Saturday April 27 at the soapbox derby track at Bush’s Pasture Park. The auction features plants from several local nurseries. Read more here.

Come plant a tree at Stephens Yoshikai School Park Friday, April 26 at 9 a.m. at 4962 Hayesville Dr. NE The Salem Chapter of the American Association of University Women’s and the city Parks Department are teaming up to plant 38 trees in the park. Volunteers are welcome and can contact Peggy at (email protected) with any questions. Volunteers should bring sturdy shoes, gloves and clothing that can get dirty.

Live theater and performance

Pentacle Theatre’s Nursing Home Comedy ‘Ripcord’ continues with shows at 7:30 PM on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and a 2:00 PM matinee on Sunday.

“A sunny upstairs room is prime real estate in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, so when grumpy Abby is forced to share her room with newcomer Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the angrily screeching woman by all possible means,” the show description reads. “A seemingly innocent bet between the old women quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship that reveals not only the tenacity of these worthy adversaries, but also deeper truths that each would rather remain hidden.”

The show runs until May 11.

Visit the theater website for showtimes and tickets, which start at $19. The theater is located at 352 52nd Ave. NW

Saturday is the Beijing acrobats will perform “daring maneuvers” accompanied by traditional Chinese music. The show includes “trick cycling, precision tumbling, juggling, somersaults and gymnastics,” according to a description of the event. Doors open at 6:30 PM for a show at 7:30 PM. Tickets cost $29 in advance, or $34 on the day of the show.

Comedy and improvisation

Comedian Sheng Wang performs Friday at the Elsinore. His work includes a stand-up special for ‘2 Dope Queens’, writing for the show ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and a Netflix special produced and directed by Ali Wong. Doors open at 6:30 PM for a show at 7:30 PM. Tickets start at $29 in advance, or $34 on the day of the show.

Infinity room has several shows this weekend. On Friday you can attend the Electric Baguette improvisation show at 7:30 PM. On Fridays at 9:30 p.m., watch “Leave Your Troubles at the Door,” a special stand-up comedy showcase “where the audience’s problems are the subjects of the on-stage jokes.”

The location is at 210 Liberty St. SE and advance tickets cost $10-15. Read more and buy tickets online.


Below, see what Salem’s galleries and museums are showing this month.


Sheep to scarf returns to Willamette Heritage Center, 1313 Mill St. SE, on Saturday, May 4. Celebrate sheep, wool and fiber arts with a free day of activities for all the family, from 10am to 4pm. It is the 37th year of the festival.

Festival activities include watching sheep shearing, opportunities to visit animals, and watching blacksmiths and woodworkers, and other fiber crafts. More information online.

Taco party comes to Riverfront Park on Saturday, May 4. Sample tacos from 20 taco trucks and restaurants while enjoying live music, drinks and other entertainment throughout the day. Activities include a bounce house, face painting, live murals and a mobile wreck room, according to the event website.

Tickets required, children under 10 free. More information and tickets here.

See our full list of major Salem events through September here.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: (email protected) or 503-575-1241.

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Rachel Alexander is the editor-in-chief of the Salem Reporter. She joined Salem Reporter when it was founded in 2018 and covers city news, education, nonprofits and a little bit of everything else. She has been a journalist in Oregon and Washington for ten years. Outside of work, she is a skater and board member at Salem’s Cherry City Roller Derby and can often be found with her nose buried in a book.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as a business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A graduate of the University of Oregon, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.