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.
North West Aquatics (NWA) is committed to making swimmers of all ages feel more confident in the water. Its swimming curriculum is designed to appeal to all sorts of swimmers, from habitual dog paddlers to seasoned athletes hoping to compete on the national level. As such, classes run the gamut from Parent & Me 100 classes, which are designed for ages 0?3, to advanced lessons where swimmers master the breaststroke and butterfly. Non-swimming-related pool activities like lifeguard training, water polo, and hydra wrestling are also taught, and swim teams welcome new members, even those who can only swim once or twice a week.
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. Proceeds to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Salem, Salem Leadership Foundation and the Inspire Foundation.
Valley Dance Academy teaches dances how to move with energy and grace in ballet, contemporary, hip-hop, and jazz classes. Over the course of the year, classes build upon technique lessons, gradually improving dancers' skills. Then, every dancer is invited to showcase his or her work at one of the semi-annual performances.