City prepares to celebrate 40th birthday

Keizer knows how to party and celebrate. That will be evident this weekend when the city throws itself a 40th birthday celebration at the Keizer Civic Center. There is a full schedule of events, entertainment and activities planned for Friday and Saturday, June 16 and 17.

Celebration events begin at 7 p.m. on Friday with a 1980s-themed dance party featuring a photo booth, cake and cupcakes, inside the Community Center.

An opening ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday with Mayor Cathy Clark, city councilors and a gathering of former mayors and council members who held office dating back to 1983.

Saturday afternoon will spotlight history in the Conference Center at 1 p.m. as Robert Becker, president of the Keizer Heritage Foundation, gives a presentation on the Foundation’s Oral History of Keizer project.

Art takes center stage inside at 2 p.m. when Mayor Clark and Councilor Laura Reid officially dedicate Rosalie’s Cows, a sculpture designed by Oregon artist Tara Choate, a in the center of the traffic round-about at Chemawa Rd. NE and Verda Lane NE. The four whimsical sculptures pay homage to Rosalie Herber who lived on the dairy farm that was on Verda Lane between Chemawa and Dearborn Avenue. Grazing cows were a regular fixture on Verda Lane for years.

Throughout Saturday there will be a variety of children’s activities on the civic center campus such as face painting and a sidewalk chalk art contest located under the flagpoles at the entrance to the civic center. An exciting event will be an egg drop contest held at 1 p.m., with a $100 cash prize presented for the contestant who devises the best device to drop a raw egg without breaking from the top of the Keizer Fire District’s 100 foot ladder truck.

Amateur inventors are invited to create packaging that will protect a raw egg as it is dropped to the ground. Organizers encourage participants to use their imagination and ingenuity to create the ultimate egg protection method.

Tenants of the Keizer Cultural Center will get into the act as well.The Keizer Community Library will host a scavenger hunt. From 3 to 5 p.m. the Keizer Art Association will host a variety of art demonstrations. For those who like the spotlight, Keizer Homegrown Theatre will host karaoke in its theater from 3 to 5 p.m.

Sixteen vendors will have booths on the grounds offering products and information. JK Forge will demonstrate its methods for make metal products.

Throughout the day on Saturday, attendees can enjoy live entertainment on stages inside the Community Center and outside.

The scheduled entertainment outside will include:

  • 11 a.m.: The Electracoustics
  • Noon: Meet and greet local mascots from the Volcanoes, McNary High School and the Salem Capitals.
  • 12:45 p.m.: Fernando Cruz 
  • (Michael Jackson impersonator)
  • 1 p.m.: Astrea,indie rock; Jodie Smalley, stilt walker/fire dancer
  • 1:40 p.m.: PA-99, progressive rock
  • 2 p.m.: Sidewalk chalk art judging
  • 2:20 p.m.: Jukebox Project, indie rock
  • 3 p.m.: Flight/Soto Real, Top 40
  • 4:24 p.m.: Islander Trio
  • 4:50 p.m.: Sight & SoulNorah Laroche

The scheduled entertainment inside the Community Center will include:

  • 11:30 a.m.: Casa de La Cultura
  • 1 p.m.: Oral history of Keizer
  • 2 p.m.: Rosalie’s Cows art dedication
  • 2:30 p.m.: Yeates Academy, Irish dancing
  • 3 p.m.: Who’s on First? Comedy
  • 3:30 p.m.: Isacca Engel, acoustic guitar
  • 5 p.m.: Keizer Community Band
  • 6:30 p.m.: Pedro, reggae

Keizer’s 40th birthday celebration was planned and organized by Councilors Daniel Kohler and Laura Reid and Robin Barney of the Keizertimes. Members of the city’s Community Diversity Engagement Committee were involved as well.

Keizer became a city after previous failed attempts to incorporate. Salem had tried unsuccessfully several times to annex Keizer into the capital city. There was heavy debate in 1982 about making Keizer its own city. The final vote was 4,432 in favor and 3,336 opposed.

Before it was a city, Keizer was a community of homes, businesses, schools and houses of worship.

The oldest established organization is the Keizer Rural Fire District, which was created in 1948.

The area was home to 19th century pioneers, such as the town’s namesake, Thomas Dove Keizur.