Relocation Guide to Salem: The World Beat Festival

Imagine an opportunity to immerse yourself in cultures from around the world without ever purchasing a plane ticket or even leaving Salem.  The Salem World Beat Festival is your chance to experience a vast array of multicultural traditions, and the admission is only a suggested $5 donation.

Sample Ethiopian garlic-lemon chicken and injera bread or just sip iced spiced chai while listening to SambaDá, an Afro-Brazilian Samba Funk band.   In the evening, experience the Brazilian Samba Fogo fire dance or enjoy one of over 125 cultural performances spread throughout the weekend.

How many types of bagpipes can you name?  Adults and children alike will learn the difference between a dūdmaišis and a Torupill bagpipe as they experience the folklore and history of 65 nations and cultures.  Children are given a “Cultural Passport” which may be stamped throughout the fair as they participate in age-appropriate activities and crafts.

Be sure to watch the dragon boat races on the beautiful Willamette River, bordering Salem’s 23-acre Riverfront Park where the festival is held.

Free downtown parking is close by, and shuttle buses are provided free of charge if parking is scarce.

The World Beat Festival is the 1997 brainchild of Mona Hayes and Kathleen Fish, two young mothers who set out to form a positive response to several incidents of racial intolerance in Salem.   The festival is held on the last weekend in June and draws around 30,000 visitors each year.

The main video has footage from the World Beat Festival and you can see some images of the event by various photographers on Flickr.

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