EVENTS: Celebrate Oregon history with logging and heavy machinery

Events this weekend include a festival celebrating craftsmanship machinery, and Oregon history, a movie in the park and education about the impact of nuclear weapons.

Here’s your guide to Salem’s weekend events, from Friday, July 28, to Sunday, July 30.

Celebrate Oregon’s mechanical history

This weekend, the 53rd Great Oregon Steam-Up comes to Salem, with demonstrations of blacksmithing, logging and other crafts, along with a parade of heavy equipment.

The festival, which is recognized as an “Oregon Heritage Tradition” takes place at the Powerland Heritage Park, at 3995 Brooklake Rd. N.E.

The festival will be Saturday, July 29, and Sunday, July 30, and will also take place Aug. 5 and 6, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The all-ages event has plenty of things to do, including rides on miniature trains, pins to collect, a flea market and 14 on-site museums.

The demonstrations will show old farming methods, blacksmithing, flour milling, steam-powered saw-milling and a logging competition.

The parade of machinery at 1:30 p.m. each day of the event will feature steam engines, fire engines, trucks and tractors. A full schedule of the festival is online.

Tickets are $17 for adults, $12 for students and free for kids 12 and younger. The August dates will be free for veterans in uniform or with military I.D. Parking is $5.

See a movie at the park

Movies in the Park returns Friday, July 28, with a screening of “Wakanda Forever” at the Gerry Frank | Salem Rotary Amphitheater at Riverfront Park, 200 Water St. N.E.

The Marvel movie is the sequel to 2018’s “Black Panther,” and stars Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira and Angela Bassett. The plot follows the Wakandan royal family’s fight against a new aquatic rival in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. 

Showtime is at dusk, around 8:30 p.m., and admission is free, with a suggested donation. Bring a blanket or a low-back chair. Alcohol is not allowed.


It’s the 24th year of Hoopla, Salem’s week-long 3×3 street basketball tournament which draws over 1,000 teams to play around the Oregon Capitol building.

The games continue this weekend, with special events.

Friday, there will be a free kid’s clinic from 10 a.m. to noon.

Preliminary contests in free throw and three-point shots take place Saturday at the YMCA, 685 Court St. N.E., with finals on Sunday, July 30.

All events are free and open to spectators. People are encouraged to park in the state parking garage at 900 Chemeketa St. N.E. The schedule for the tournament is available on the Hoopla website.

Peace walk

Salem advocates will gather to walk a leg of the Northwest Interfaith Peace Walk for a Nuclear-Free Future, which recognizes those impacted by nuclear testing and the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Participants walk through communities in Oregon and Washington, ending in the Seattle area and walkers often visit sites significant in U.S. nuclear history and policy.

Salem’s portion is a 12-mile walk starting at 8 a.m. Friday, July 28, at the fountains on the north side of the Oregon Capitol grounds. Walkers will stop for lunch at Geer Park and finish at Salem Mission Faith Ministries, a church at 4308 Hillrose St. S.E.

Drinks, lunch and car transportation for people needing it are provided.

Salem’s walk will conclude at 5 p.m. with a program at the church featuring two Marshallese Salemites from Bikini Atoll, a group of islands that endured decades of nuclear testing. The program will also discuss nuclear weapons policy and the history of the peace walk.

Blues performance at Salem Public Library, downtown salsa dance 

Blues and gospel singer LaRhonda Steele, who has been dubbed “the “First Lady of Portland Blues,” will be playing at the Salem Public Library on Saturday, July 29.

The free show starts at 1 p.m. at the Loucks Auditorium, 585 Liberty St. S.E.

Along with leading a band, Steele is also the music director at the music director of both the non-profit Portland Interfaith Gospel Choir and the Portland Center for Spiritual Living.

During Salsa Sunday, lLearn to dance salsa and bachata at Fork Forty Food Hall, with a lesson at 6:30 p.m., and a dance party at 7:30 p.m. 

The event is for people 18 and over, with a $5 cover charge. The food hall is located downtown, at 440 State St. S.E.

Gilbert House for Grown-Ups

Gilbert House Children’s Museum invites people over 21 to celebrate their inner child with an evening of entertainment, food and drinks, and the opportunity to enjoy the exhibits.

The event is Saturday, July 29, from 7-9 p.m. at the museum, 116 Marion St. N.E.

Free parking is available in front of the Gilbert House or in the nearby Riverfront Park main parking lot.

Tickets are available online for $20 through Friday, or $25 Saturday and at the gate.

Art shows in Salem

For the art on display this weekend, check out our roundup of gallery exhibitions throughout the city this month:

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.