Whiskers, candlelit music, queer comedy: what to do in Salem May 16-22

This weekend, enjoy iconic music in a candlelit setting at the Grand Theatre on Thursday, or take the kids up to Brooks for a day of fun and learning on Saturday. 

Here’s the lineup of Salem events for the week from Thursday, May 16 to Wednesday, May 22. Browse all of Salem Reporter’s events coverage here.

S.T.E.A.M.’d Up for Kids 

Families have a chance to spend time together learning on an interactive playground at Powerland Heritage Park Saturday, May 18. The annual STEAM’d Up for Kids event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the park, 3995 Brooklake Rd N.E. in Brooks. It blends elements of science, technology, engineering, art and math, as well as local history. 

Children will get a chance to create things, ride on miniature trains, learn how to make ice cream and to do old-fashioned skills like rope-making. Guests can also explore museums, climb tractors, and take part in other educational activities. Admission is $10 per person and free for kids under 12 years old.

Rainier Brownfield, 5, at the tractor pull during the Great Oregon Steam-Up at Powerland Heritage Park on Saturday, July 29, 2023 (Eric Schuman/Special to Salem Reporter)

Beer and kittens

Looking for the purrrfect thing to do? Santiam Brewing Company has you covered with the Beer & Kittens event on Thursday, May 16, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Come snuggle kittens and help them socialize before adoption. The event is in support of the nonprofit cat rescue Meow Village and there is a $5 suggested donation. The brewery is at 2544 19th St S.E. Nearby roadwork around Southeast McGilchrist Road may require detours.

Live theater and performance

The Grand Theatre, 191 High St. N.E.

Have you ever listened to music in a theater full of candles? You’ll have two chances at the Grand on Thursday, though tickets are selling fast.

At6:30 p.m., there’s a 60 minute concert by the Listeso string quartet, which will play a number of the Beatles’ greatest hits. Tickets start at $44 and are available online.

At 9 p.m. the quartet will play music by film score composer Hans Zimmer.  Tickets for the show start at $36.

Both events are open to guests 8 years or older. Anyone under 16 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets can be purchased on the Fever website. Fever is a global entertainment and events platform. More candlelight shows are scheduled in Salem for July.

The Elsinore Theatre, 170 High St. S.E.

On Saturday, watch an original ballet, The Veil & The Vortex, presented by Tippy Toe Dance Studio. The performance grapples with themes of darkness and the struggle to find one’s true essence. The show starts at 6:30 p.m. and doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from $19 to $26 and can be purchased on Elsinore’s website

Sunday at 7 p.m., catch a side-by-side orchestra concert presented by Salem Orchestra in collaboration with the Salem Youth Symphony. The event starts at 6 p.m. and doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $18 for students, and $35 to $41 for adults. 

Infinity Room, 210 Liberty St. S.E. #150

The Infinity Room has a full slate of events this weekend including drag, queer comedy and music. Tickets can be purchased online in advance, and groups are encouraged to purchase tickets under one name to ensure seating together.

The Drag Time! With Riri Calienté takes place Thursday starting at 8:30 p.m. with doors opening an hour before. Guests under the age of 21 must leave the Infinity Room by 10 p.m. Tickets are $12.

On Friday, the Infinity Room hosts a Gay Old Time: A Queer Comedy Show, starting at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. The show includes queer comedians from across the Pacific Northwest with food and drinks available during the show. Tickets cost $15.

On Saturday night, from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Rhythm & Flow presents: Summer Nights Featuring rapper CNG. Tickets cost $20. 

Shopping and markets

Stock up on baby gear and used kids clothes at the Baby’s Bottom Dollar consignment sale. From May 15 until May 18 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., shop in the Columbia Hall Building at the Oregon State Fair & Expo Center, 2330 17th Street N.E. Parking is $5.

A popular vendor is the flower bouquet stand at the Salem Saturday Market. Each bouquet is crafted by hand. (Laura Tesler/Special to Salem Reporter)

On Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. is the Salem Public Market at 1240 Rural Avenue S.E.

Salem Community Markets will bring local produce, food and products to various places throughout the city this week. 

The Wednesday Chemeketa Market runs from 3 p.m. until 7 p.m. and his held at the Chemeketa Community College Agricultural Hub at 4000 Lancaster Drive N.E.

The Thursday West Salem Farmers Market will be from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at 1260 Edgewater St. N.W.

The Saturday Market will be 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at 865 Marion St. N.E.

The Monday Hospital Market will be 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Salem Hospital’s campus, 875 Oak St., between building A & C.


A new independent film shot in Ashland and Medford featuring an all-local Oregon cast will screen at Salem Cinema on Friday at 7 p.m. The movie will play until Thursday, May 23.

“Above the Trees” is about a man who is assaulted and put into a serious coma. His best friend, a local boxer, is charged for the crime. The story follows five characters who are all linked to the events as a criminal trial proceeds in Jackson County.

Art shows

See what art exhibits are on display this month here:

Contact reporter Joe Siess: [email protected] or 503-335-7790.

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Joe Siess is a reporter for Salem Reporter. Joe joined Salem Reporter in 2024 and primarily covers city and county government but loves surprises. Joe previously reported for the Redmond Spokesman, the Bulletin in Bend, Klamath Falls Herald and News and the Malheur Enterprise. He was born in Independence, MO, where the Oregon Trail officially starts, and grew up in the Kansas City area.