EVENTS: Meet sheep, shop for plants and catch a play

Ever wondered how to make a sweater out of alpaca wool? This weekend, you’ll get to see that in action.

There’s plenty to do in Salem, rain or shine this weekend from shopping for pollinator-friendly plants to catching a traditional lion dance performance.

Here’s your weekend roundup from the Salem Reporter crew, for Friday, May 5, through Sunday, May 7.

Treat your green thumb

Browse over 10,000 vegetables, trees, native plants and more at the Marion County Master Gardener Association’s annual plant sale. The sale is a collaboration with the Oregon State University Extension Service and the county at the Oregon State Fairgrounds’ Columbia Hall, 2330 17th St. N.E, Salem.

The sale is Friday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Parking and admission are free.

Gardeners will be there to host demonstrations and answer questions to help your garden thrive. They recommend you bring your own wagon to carry your haul.

The sale is the association’s biggest fundraiser, and pays for community education and outreach programs. Read more here.

Participate in some sheer awesomeness 

The Willamette Heritage Center’s Sheep to Shawl festival has celebrated all things wool since 1985. This Saturday, shearers will demonstrate how to remove wool from sheep, alpacas, llamas and even rabbits. Spinners and weavers will transform that into art and wearables.

The event features activities for the whole family, including live animals, games, blacksmiths, music, games and shopping for local goods.

Admission is free, and the event will be from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Willamette Heritage Center is located at 1313 Mill St S.E. in Salem.

For more information and for an event schedule, visit the center’s website.

Take a monster-sized bike ride

Salem’s biggest bike ride, the Monster Cookie Metric Century Bike Ride, returns this Sunday. The 62-mile course stretches from Keizer Rapids park to Champoeg State Park and back. It’s the ride’s 47th year, and organizers have purchased over 2,500 cookies — both monster and regular sized —  for participants.

The ride starts and ends at Keizer Rapids Park, 1900 Chemawa Rd. N., in Keizer.

There are options for a shorter 31-mile ride, and a 6.2-mile guided course for younger cyclists.

Registration is open through the start of the rides between 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Registration is $45 for adults who are bicycle club members and $55 for non-members. The mini race is $10 for people over 11 years old, and $7 for people 10 and older. For more day-of rates, see the registration form.

Watch a dance performance

The Salem Public Library is celebrating Chinese culture by hosting the White Lotus Dragon & Lion Dance team based in Portland.

Lion dance is traditionally used to scare away evil spirits and bring good luck, according to the troupe’s website. It’s a blend of art and sport, and the dancers will be in elaborate costumes and available to take photos after.

The dance and drum performance will  be on Saturday from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. in the Anderson Room at the Salem Public Library, 585 Liberty St. N.E. in Salem. For more information, see the Facebook event page.

Get inspired

Center 50+ invites women of all ages to join together for a day learning about confidence, fashion, health, finances and more.

Taking place Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., the Spring Chick Women’s Conference hopes to bring a fresh outlook on life to the new season. Participants will get prizes, and the event will close with a tea party.

Tickets are $15. For more information, visit the city of Salem’s event post.

Catch a show

Willamette University, the women’s vocal ensemble In Mulieribus and Portland Youth Philharmonic are hosting “Because I Will Not Despair,” a vocal performance backed by a string orchestra. The show will also include the West Coast premiere of composer Kareem Roustom’s “Hurry to the Light.”

The show starts at 7:30 p.m., at Willamette University’s Hudson Concert Hall, near The Quad at the center of the campus. Admission is $10.

The 2023 Mrs Oregon America & Miss Oregon for America Strong Pageant is this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Elsinore Theatre, 170 High St. S.E. in Salem. Tickets start at $29. For more information, see the Elsinore website.

The Pentacle Theatre’s performance of “Rabbit Hole” continues this weekend. The Pulitzer-winning play explores finding meaning amid grief.

The Pentacle Theatre is at 324 52nd Ave. N.W., off Highway 22.

Ticket prices range from $17 to $37, with 50% discounts available to students, frontline healthcare workers and Oregon Trail Card holders. Tickets are available online, by calling 503-485-4300 or at the box office 45 minutes before the performance. 

Have an event you’d like included in our weekly roundup? Reach out to Managing Editor Rachel Alexander at [email protected]. Please include the date, time, cost and a link to or information about buying tickets, if required.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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