EVENTS: Ukrainian flower crowns, basketball and movies about nukes

The sun is out and Salem is hopping this weekend. Whether you’re looking for cosplay, drama in a nursing home, unique shopping or hoping to learn a new skill, there’s plenty to do.

Here’s our guide to Salem events from Friday, April 19, through Sunday, April 21.

Comics expo

The Mid-Valley Comic Art Expo returns to Salem, taking over Columbia Hall at the Oregon State Fairgrounds, 2330 17th St. N.E. Children and adults can enter cosplay contests, and panels feature comics artists speaking about their work

The expo runs Saturday and Sunday, opening at 10 a.m. Admission is $15 for adults on Saturday and $10 on Sunday. Active military and veterans are free, and children 12 and under get in free with a paying adult.

Log rolling competition

High school students will show off their logging skills this weekend at the Future Natural Resource Leaders statewide competition. Feats include ax throwing, first aid, pole climbing, fire hose laying and other skills. 

The competition will be on Saturday, April 20, at Powerland Heritage Park, 3995 Brooklake Rd. N.E. in Brooks. Over 18 high schools will have students competing, and there will be food vendors on site. 

Events start at 9 a.m., and will go until around 12:30 p.m. The log roll starts at 1 p.m., followed by the awards show. For more information, see the competition website.

Nuclear films

Salem is hosting the International Uranium Film Fest on Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20, with screenings of films about nuclear weapons both evenings at the Ike Box, 299 Cottage St. N.E. The event is sponsored by Nuclear Abolition Now and seeks to highlight the impact of atomic weapons and perspectives missing from the blockbuster film “Oppenheimer.” A schedule of films is here. Suggested donation of $5-20. Read more about the festival in our article here.

Craft like a Ukrainian

Make your own Ukrainian handicrafts at two Saturday classes at the Salem Multicultural Institute’s World Beat Gallery, 390 Liberty St. S.E. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., there’s a workshop on Ukrainian embroidery that includes a presentation and a small project. From 2-4 p.m., catch a workshop on Ukrainian flower crowns. Classes are $15 per person, and advance registration is required. Sign up here.

Live theater

Pentacle Theatre’s newest play, “Ripcord,” opens Friday, April 19.

“A sunny room on an upper floor is prime real estate in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility, so when the cantankerous Abby is forced to share her quarters with new arrival Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary,” the show description says. “A seemingly harmless bet between the old women quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship that reveals not just the tenacity of these worthy opponents, but also deeper truths that each would rather remain hidden.” 

Visit the theater website for showtimes and tickets.

This weekend only, the Brush Creek Playhouse is putting on “Miscast Cabaret,” a musical showcase featuring Willamette Valley performers. It will include Broadway classics and some “surprise treats.”

“Miscast Cabaret is a musical showcase full of theater people from all walks of life across the valley who are drawn to the theater to find their place. For many of them the songs they sing are from dream roles, performers, or shows that have inspired or shaped them,” the event description reads.

Performances start at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. The playhouse is located at 11535 Silverton Rd. N.E. General admission tickets are $12, and tickets are $10 for seniors, students and children. Tickets are available online or at the door.


Infinity Room hosts two comedy shows this weekend. On Friday, it’s “Slay ‘Em: A Comedy Showcase of Local Killers” at 8 p.m. Saturday’s show, “Blazed and Amused: A Stoner Comedy Extravaganza,” is sold out.

The venue is at 210 Liberty St. S.E. and advance tickets are $15. Learn more and buy tickets online.

Live music

The Oregon Opry brings Robert Henry & The Repeaters, Mac Cornish, and Woody Davidson to the stage at Salem’s Historic Grand Theatre, 191 High St. N.E. at 8 p.m. Friday. Tickets for the all-ages show are $15 online or $20 at the door.

On Saturday, The Doors tribute band Peace Frog performs at the Grand at 8 p.m. Tickets are $25.

Petty Fever, a Tom Petty tribute band, performs Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Elsinore Theatre, 170 High St. S.E. Tickets start at $25.

Salem Philharmonia plays “Brahms First Symphony” with cello soloist Jason Duckles with shows Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for students and seniors and free for youth 17 and under. Both shows have a pre-concert talk 45 minutes before showtime with a chance to ask the conductor questions. The concert is at East Salem Community Center, 1850 45th Ave N.E.


The Salem Capitals have two home basketball games this weekend at the Salem Armory, 2310 17th St. N.E. On Saturday, they’ll play the Emerald City Jaguars at 6:30 p.m., and on Sunday, they take on the Seattle Superhawks at 3 p.m. Tickets start at $6.

Cherry City Roller Derby has two action-packed bouts on skates Saturday at the Madhouse, 1335 Madison St. N.E. At 4:30 p.m. the Cherry City Renegades play Crow City, and at 7 p.m. the home team 8-Wheel Assassins go up against Bellingham Roller Betties. Tickets are $12 plus fees in advance or $15 at the door, with children 5 and under free.

Also on Saturday, the Oregon Blackbears will have their first game at the Oregon State Fair and Exposition. The brand new, local indoor Arena Football League team plays on a 50 by 33 yard field, a quarter of the size of a traditional football field, with less stoppage and more action, according to CEO Travelle Gaines who spoke to Salem Reporter in October.

Saturday’s game starts at 6:30 p.m., and is against the Wolfpack. Tickets start at $20.


Shop handmade items from local vendors at Moth and Flame’s “Gaia Festival” on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Reed Opera House, 189 Liberty St. N.E. Instead of an entry fee, organizers are asking people to bring period products and safe sex supplies to donate to Salem’s homeless community.

Get outside

An Earth Day celebration and afternoon of gardening for the whole family is scheduled Sunday at the Northgate Peace and Forgiveness Garden from 3-7 p.m.. The garden is next to Northgate Park, 3575 Fairhaven Ave N.E. There will be free pizza, art activities, dance and drumming performances and chances to help prepare the garden and weed. The event is hosted by Enlace and the Hallman Northgate Family Council.

The Northgate Peace and Forgiveness Garden in January 2024 (Rachel Alexander/Salem Reporter)


For what Salem’s galleries and museums are showing this month, see below:

Coming up

The Hallie Ford Museum of Art is hosting a demonstration by art conservator Tom Fuller, who will work with objects from the museum’s Native American collection. “Fuller’s skills as a conservator play a vital role at the museum, where he has worked as a consultant since the early 2000s,” according to an event listing. The demonstration will be from 1-3 p.m. on Tuesdays, April 23 and 30, at the museum, 700 State St.

Chemeketa Community College will host Boston Brass on Tuesday, April 23, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for students and $30 general admission. More information here.

Marion County’s Earth Day celebration will take place Friday, April 26, from 3-7 p.m. 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. Learn more here.

The Mission Street Parks Conservancy’s annual plant sale runs Friday, April 26, and Saturday, April 27, on the soapbox derby track at Bush’s Pasture Park. The sale features plants from multiple local nurseries. Learn more here.

Contact reporter Rachel Alexander: [email protected] or 503-575-1241.

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