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

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

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

Here’s what’s happening in Salem over the week starting Thursday, April 25.

Awesome 3000

The annual fun run to benefit the Salem-Keizer School District begins the morning of Saturday, April 27, at McCulloch Stadium, 890 Mission St S.E., next to Bush’s Pasture Park.

Thousands of racers from preschool to high school will participate in the races. Runs begin at 8:15 a.m. for middle and high school students, and end with the 11:11 a.m. race for toddlers. Racers can sign up until the day of the event, and it’s free to spectate and cheer on students. See a schedule here.

Ag fest

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

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

Admission is free for children 15 and under, and $15 for age 16 and up. Parking is free. Get tickets here and see a full schedule here.

Arena football

Salem’s new football team, the Oregon Blackbears, will play the Wolfpack as its first season begins. 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.

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

An afterparty will be held at Side Hustle Bar, 145 Liberty St. N.E., starting at 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. Sunday. Artist Ilovemakonnen will perform at halftime during the game and at the after party. Presale tickets are $17 and available online.

Celebrate Earth Day with events, plant sales

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.

Come plant a tree at Stephens Yoshikai School Park Friday, April 26, at 9 a.m. at 4962 Hayesville Dr. N.E. The American Association of University Women’s Salem chapter and 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 clothes that can get dirty.

Live theater and performance

Pentacle Theatre’s nursing home comedy “Ripcord” continues with shows at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and a 2 p.m. matinee Sunday.

“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.” 

The show runs through May 11.

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

On Saturday, the Peking Acrobats will perform “daring maneuvers” accompanied by traditional Chinese music. The show includes “trick-cycling, precision tumbling, juggling, somersaulting, and gymnastics,” according to an event description. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $29 in advance, or $34 the day of the show.

Comedy and improv

Comedian Sheng Wang will perform at the Elsinore on Friday. His work includes a stand up special featured on “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 p.m. for a 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets start at $29 in advance, or $34 the day of the show. 

Infinity Room has multiple shows this weekend. On Friday, catch the Electric Baguette improv show at 7:30 p.m. At 9:30 p.m. Friday, catch  “Leave Your Troubles at the Door,” a special stand-up comedy showcase “where the audience’s problems are the topics of the jokes on stage.” 

The venue is at 210 Liberty St. S.E. and advance tickets are $10-15. Learn more and buy tickets online.


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

Coming up

Sheep to Shawl returns to Willamette Heritage Center, 1313 Mill St. S.E., on Saturday, May 4. Celebrate sheep, wool and fiber arts through a free day of activities for the whole family, running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s the 37th year of the festival.

Festival activities include watching sheep shearing, opportunities to visit with animals, and watching blacksmiths and woodworkers, and other artisan fiber work. Learn more online.

Taco Fest comes to Riverfront Park on Saturday, May 4. Sample tacos from 20 taco trucks and restaurants while enjoying live music, drinks and other entertainment all day. Activities include a bouncy house, face painting, live mural painting and a mobile wreck-it 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 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.

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.