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Ike Box to host block party to thank community for saving historic building

Angel Wilson, center, a barista at IKE Box, works on a drink order alongside co-workers Alex Simmons, left, and Brandon Sanders, right, on May 12, 2020. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Ike Box wants to put on a party for you.

The central Salem coffee shop and community hub is hosting a block party, Rockin’ the Box, on Wednesday, Aug. 4 from 4-9 p.m.

The event will include live music, games and food trucks on Chemeketa Street Northeast outside Ike Box, located at 299 Cottage Street Northeast. The coffee shop is operated by Isaac’s Room, a Salem nonprofit organization serving young people with job training and apprenticeships.

The celebration is intended to thank donors and supporters who raised money allowing Isaac’s Room to buy the land the shop sits on from the Family YMCA of Marion and Polk Counties. Supporters cited the many community benefits of Ike Box, which for years has operated as a performance venue for local bands, meeting area for book clubs and 12 step programs and more.

The land deal, finalized in June 2020, allowed Ike Box to remain in place as the YMCA tore down its old building and began construction on a new center. The coffee shop operates in what was once a funeral home, and the large central parlor with angel motifs on the wall reminds guests of the building’s origins.

The block party will include musical performances by Rich Swanger & The Little Known Band from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and The FlexTones from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., according to a news release.

Salem teens enrolled in the city’s summer service program, CAREcorps, have landscaped around the Ike Box and helped spread word about the party to neighboring businesses in preparation, said Andrew Kalmen, who’s working with the CAREcorps program this summer.

Kalmen said the event will include a children’s entertainment area with a variety of games including giant Jenga, cornhole, tetherball, musical chairs, bingo, duck-duck goose, a rock-paper-scissors tournament, red-light green light, balloon-foot stomping, and limbo.

Food trucks including Uncle Troy’s Barbecue, Azul’s Taco House and Kona Ice will offer food for purchase, the release said. The IKE Box will also be open during the event serving drinks.

-Rachel Alexander