Salem iFest is Saturday

SALEM – The finalized schedule of events for the Salem iFest on Saturday includes a little bit of rock’n’roll, dancing, singing, magic, chalk drawing, children’s activities, multi-cultural displays, history and the Grande Parade.

Pegged as a day for people to remember their heritage, the International Festival, which is known as the iFest, has picked up where the former Salem Jubilee and Italian Fest left off, according to Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Audrey Null.

“We wanted to continue to offer a summer-time event for families to enjoy,” she said.

Organizers are hoping for good weather this year. Last year they had to deal with rain on both nights, but this year they’ve cut the iFest down to one day.

“We think the one-day event will bring people out,” Null said.

The action in the municipal lot bordered by Pershing Street, South Lundy Avenue and Penn Avenue kicks off with a pre-fest warmup and workout hosted by the Salem Community Center and the Silver Sneakers program at 10:30 a.m., followed by Zumba at 11 a.m. on the stage. Opening ceremonies begin at noon, followed by the Jason Alan Magic Show at 12:15 p.m. featuring Salem High School graduate Jason Greenamyer.

At 1 p.m., Attila Samu and some Salem High School choir singers will take the stage and a chalk drawing contest for children will begin on the sidewalk along South Lundy Avenue across from the Dale Shaffer Research Library. The theme of the contest is family, with prizes to be awarded.

At 1:30 p.m., the dancing group Art in Motion from Sebring will perform, followed at 2 p.m. by the cast of the Salem Community Theatre production of “Hairspray,” a Tae Kwon Do demonstration by Physical Arts Center of North Benton and the Sweet Sorrows, a husband and wife musical duo from Canada.

At 4 p.m., the Meet the Quakers! Teams’ Pep Rally will get the crowd revved up with the Salem High School pep band, cheerleaders, football and basketball teams.

At 6 p.m., the Grande Parade will step out from South Union Avenue led by a float featuring Salem Community Hospital, which is celebrating 100 years of serving the community and surrounding area. The parade will proceed west on State Street, through the downtown and turn north onto Ellsworth Avenue, disbanding at Second Street.

Null said 85 units have signed up to participate in the parade which will honor all Korean War veterans. The Korean War veterans are invited to a pre-parade meal at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 892 on Arch Street at 4 p.m. and then will mount a float with a police escort to the parade line-up area. The float will be led by the VFW Color Guard and a procession of vintage military vehicles from the Marlboro Volunteer Inc. sponsored by Sons of AMVETS Post 45 of Salem and the VFW Men’s Auxiliary Post 892 of Salem.

After the parade, a rock’n’roll band out of Warren called Mainstreet Lions will perform beginning at 7:15 p.m., sponsored by the city of Salem. At 9:30 p.m., taped music will take over and the 50/50 drawing winner will be announced.

Null said food vendors will open in time for lunch, with 10 vendors featuring a variety of festival foods including American, Italian, Mexican and funnel cakes and apple dumplings.

Besides the chalk drawing contest, children’s activities will include a petting zoo, pony rides and hand-cranked train rides. A dunk tank will be hosted by the Salem Piranhas swim team.

Some community groups and commercial vendors will also have displays, including the Salem Kiwanis with the continuation of their Chinese Auction and Silent Auction baskets and items. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

“Shop Local” stickers will be passed out during the iFest to encourage people to shop downtown Salem, including the weekly Farmers’ Market held every Saturday morning on East State Street at the McCulloch Park next to Troll’s Jewelry.

The Salem Historical Society will offer a multi-cultural display representing items from 26 countries from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Included will be nationally historic artifacts, treasures, flags, pictures, musical instruments and closing from Transylvania Saxony, Africa, Scotland, Ireland, Celtic Ireland, Germany, Prussia (Old Germany), Romania, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, Guatemala, Greece, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Albania, Spain, Norway, Ukraine, Holland, Hungary, Jamaica, Trinidad, Poland and Switzerland. Two new countries added this year include Salem’s own Transylvanian Saxon Heritage gathered from the Salem Transylvanian-Saxon Women’s Group and an African display gathered by local Reverends Steve and Meta Cramer.

Salem High School graduate Jim Knezetic will play his accordion throughout the day on Saturday at the historical society display in the Dale Shaffer Research Library building. Two Underground Railroad Trolley tours will be at 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday.