KeizerFEST, formerly the Iris Festival, returns to the city this weekend with a jam-packed 72-hour schedule.

The fun kicked off Thursday, May 17, and live music scheduled throughout the day and night Friday, May 18. Saturday, May 19, is when most of the activity really gets rolling.

River Road North will close at 9 a.m. to make way for 3K, 5K, 10K and half-marathon runs sponsored by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. The Valley Credit Service Iris Festival Parade takes off at 10:30 a.m. and travels south two miles along River Road through Keizer before ending at Glynbrook Drive.

This year, one Keizer business is building a float spectators can win.

Remodeling by Classic Homes will be pulling a 9-by-8-foot playhouse/shed to advertise its services, but the structure will be raffled off after the parade.

“I’ve wanted to build a float for a while, but I could never figure out what I would do with it after,” said Kyle Juran, owner of Remodeling by Classic Homes.

Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20 and will be sold at the KeizerFEST information booth near the entrance to the Lion’s Club property on Cherry Avenue Northeast.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Keizer Network of Women Giving Basket program this winter.

This year’s theme is The Keizer Way. Keizer Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Danielle Bethell said chamber employees have fielded many calls asking precisely what that means.

“We’ve been telling them that it’s whatever you think about when they think of Keizer,” Bethell said. “I’m hoping that means we have a lot of interpretations of people’s heartfelt thoughts on Keizer.”

Cherry Avenue will be closed between Manbrin Avenue and Alder Drive until Sunday evening to make space for ADA parking and pedestrian access to the KeizerFEST tent.

There’s also lots of buzz circulating around Sunday’s line-up at the tent. More than $2,000 will be up for grabs at the KeizerFEST Teen Talent Showcase on Sunday, May 20.

“We’re looking for musical talent, not just singing but instrumental, too, any style, any size ensemble, it’s all good.” said McNary High School choir director Joshua Rist, who is one of four judges. “We’re hoping to get a good turnout from the community. We just want kids in middle school and high school in the Salem-Keizer School District to have an outlet to show off their talents.”

Judges selected contestants from video submissions to compete in the talent show. Round 1 is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., the final round at 3 p.m. and then a winner presentation at 4:15.

First prize is $1,000, second is $700 and third receives $400. The showcase is hosted by Keizer Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Uptown Music.

Other festival-related events include:

• Dayspring Church, 1755 Lockhaven Drive N.E., is hosting a block party from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19. The event includes carnival games, a bounce house, free hot dog lunch and music.

• The Keizer Elks Car Show runs from Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 4250 Cherry Avenue.