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.
Sharing a roof with its parent organization, The Salvation Army, the Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center's fine arts and education program nurtures the dramatic arts with a focus on bringing family-friendly productions to the stage of its Kroc Theater. Big River takes a musical theater approach to Mark Twain's beloved The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and the community-minded cast and crew works hard on their year’s biggest production, giving Mr. Clements his due by putting on a show as thrilling as hitching a ride on the beard of a passing giant. Accompanied by the original award-winning score by Roger Miller, the all-local troupe passionately enacts lively Huck Finn and his valiant effort to help his friend Jim, a slave, reach independence at the mouth of the Ohio River.
Cinebarre combines a slate of first-run movies with a courteous, alcohol-enhanced atmosphere and crave-worthy kitchen concoctions. The menu features items with movie-inspired names, allowing cinephiles to pick a dish that aligns with their preferred genre or favorite Bill Paxton performance. Take teeth to the made-from-scratch pizza playground with the Chicken Run, topped with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce ($13). The Blue Velvet Burger––ground in-house––piles a juicy half-pounder with blue cheese, buffalo hot sauce, burger toppings, and a kick of chipotle mayo ($10). Appetizers, such as Some Like It Hot Wings ($9) and Lord of the Onion Rings ($7), make arduous journeys to melt into a copious selection of wine and local craft beers, as well as mixed drinks, including the Lolita Margarita ($6).
West Fest 2011, an outdoor music festival nestled in Wallace Marine Park, entertains concertgoers with a brimming lineup of classic and contemporary rock performers. Headlining musician Chuck Prophet—known for recording alongside Warren Zevon, sharing stage space with Lucinda Williams, and living up to his last name by predicting future events—takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his band The Mission Express. Session guitarist Jeff Pevar from David Crosby side-project CPR opens the night at 6:30 p.m. with a solo performance and three-handed ventriloquist-dummy quartet.
Building a strong community bond is as important to Salem Sabres’ owner, Rhonda Alexander, as is forming an elite basketball squad. For the team's first season in the American Basketball Association, Rhonda recruited young players who shared her enthusiasm for the sport, but also a passion for helping others. Between practices and games against Pacific Northwest Division foes, Sabres players take time to host community events and volunteer at local schools, performing in anti-bullying skits, playing pickup games with the students, and giving kids expert tips on how to spell "horse" both on and off the court.
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.