Family Fall Fun Day kicks off the activities this weekend in Salem, where events on Saturday and Sunday offer fun for families, celebrate the fall season and help the fight against retinal blindness.
Audrey Null, executive director of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring Family Fall Fun Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in downtown near McCulloch Park, said she's encouraging families to take advantage of all that's available for fun.
"Any event that can draw people to Salem increases business for merchants," she said.
About 20 vendors, including churches, organizations and small businesses, will set tables up downtown and Salem Firefighters Local 283 will offer free hayrides. A petting zoo and pony rides will be available as part of the children's activities, along with a Kids' Pet Parade at 1 p.m. Saturday in the Penn Avenue parking lot beside Pure Pet. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m., with participation free.
The parade is being co-sponsored by the chamber and the Humane Society of Columbiana County with prizes awarded in five categories: best trick, best owner look-a-like, best retro costume, best Salem costume and most unique.
The Salem Area Safety Council will pass out free coloring books.
Formerly known as Heritage Day, Family Fall Fun Day has been held for more than 25 years in downtown Salem.
"We want to bring people downtown to shop local and eat local," Null said, adding it's for families and individuals to come down and enjoy a day of fun.
Groups don't have to pay for their table spots, giving them a chance to showcase what they have to offer people.
Null said organizing community events is part of what the chamber does, along with promoting events.
Besides the activities near McCulloch Park, two churches, Emmanuel Lutheran Church and First United Methodist Church, both on Broadway, will host their own family fun days. At First United Methodist Church, the south parking lot will play host to lawn games, free snow-cones and popcorn from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Emmanuel Lutheran Church will offer a coloring contest, crafts for children and face painting from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in its Sunday school building. Hot dogs, cider and popcorn will be served.
The Salem Historical Society will offer an exhibit at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Dale Shaffer Library meeting room, with Underground Railroad Trolley tours at 10 a.m. and noon Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, with reservations required at 330-337-6733. The museum will be open for tours from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, with a book signing by local authors Karen Biery, David Hunter, Bob Schuck, Mary Beth Shivers and Richard J. Theiss also from 1 to 4 p.m.
Null also asked for families to continue the fun on Sunday by supporting the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation Scrabble Run bike ride and walk and carnival, taking place at Waterworth Memorial Park, presented by Eyes for Olivia and the Canfield Lions Club.
Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. at the pavilion off of Superior Avenue, with the bike ride beginning at 2 p.m. Games and activities, including a football toss manned by Youngstown State University football players and a train ride, will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on the park lawn.
Proceeds go to the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation to pay for research for a cure for the degenerative retinal disease known as Leber's Congenital Amaurosis. Buckeye Elementary student Olivia Hoffman, of Salem, was diagnosed with the rare CRB1 version of the disease at age 4 and faces possible blindness when she gets older.
Her parents, Mike and Kim Hoffman, set up Eyes for Olivia as a fundraising tool for research and an informational tool to educate people about the disease. Visit their website at www.eyesforolivia.org
Null said there's also the annual Punt, Pass & Kick contest being hosted by the Salem Kiwanis at 1 p.m. at the Salem Community Center soccer complex.