Urban scavengers take to the streets of Salem to solve clues and complete challenges in The Great Salem Race. The third-annual scavenger hunt takes competitors through a 3- to 5-mile course—the length depends on the route competitors take and how efficiently they solve the clues—during which they will discover or re-discover some of Salem's finest sites and businesses. Most teams will complete the course by 1 p.m., after which they can enjoy food and drink specials at the official after-party.
The Willamette Heritage Center at the Mill preserves slices of valley history by word and deed, keeping up 14 historic structures and filling them with historical tours and living history displays. The Jason Lee house represents the oldest building on campus, built in 1841. The structure also boasts the title of oldest surviving wooden frame house in the Pacific Northwest, and its interior sports the period appropriate furnishings right down to an iron stove and a snoring, bonneted grandmother. Nearby stands the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill, and piece of the Industrial Revolution that has survived since 1896, earning recognition as an American Treasure by the National Park Service. Workers keep the buildings clean and sound for tours and rentals, while actors keep the ground vibrant with living historical portrayals.
Rapidly approaching their six-month anniversary, JoyRide Cycling Studio rides into the hearts of fitness fans with more than 10 indoor cycling classes per week, each conducted within a clean, state-of-the-art facility and led by one of three experienced and enthusiastic wheel wizards. Students strike up on Schwinn AC Sports Bikes—which use Virtual Contact Resistance technology to simulate the resistance of a real bike ride—to tunes pumped through a booming sound system. Like team-building retreats and meetings for Hot Dog Scarfers Anonymous, JoyRide fosters a supportive environment in which its clients can safely commit to catalyzing their metabolism.
Each noncompetitive Curves facility invites female fitness-seekers to move through a 30-minute circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed to promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Shunning cumbersome weight stacks, the hydraulic gadgets adapt to each exerciser's body weight and fitness level to complement her individual abilities, subsequently decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. And because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing unsuspecting grapefruit. Experienced trainers are always nearby to help clients manage their machine maneuvering, and a soundtrack of fun, upbeat music includes cues to let women know when it's time to move on to the next station or break for an air viola solo.
For nearly two decades, three-day festival The Bite & Brew of Salem has celebrated Northwest American summer through beers, food, and outdoor entertainment. Held on the grassy lawns of Riverfront Park, the annual event combines family-friendly entertainment with performances by 15 local and national bands on two outdoor stages. Meanwhile, local breweries such as Salem Ale Works, Hop Valley Brewing Co., and Gilgamesh Brewing pour more than 60 draft beers, including a few hard-to-find concoctions. To complement the suds, a plethora of Oregon food carts and restaurants serve sweet and savory fare under the blazing July sun.
Formerly the Oregon Wine, Food & Brew Fest, 2014's First Taste Oregon will showcase the same types of Oregon talent: winemakers, brewers, distillers, and chefs. On Friday, January 24, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday, January 25, from noon to 10 p.m., a fresh lineup of vendors will flood the Oregon State Fair & Exposition Center's Columbia Hall with their pours, suds, and cuisine. Though the final list of exhibitors remains a mystery, last year's bunch included Eastside Distilling—which led a special tasting of its bourbon, vodka, and coffee rum, among others—and demos by several Oregon chefs. Visitors can park in the free lot, and grab some taste tickets to enjoy similar activities this year.