With Benton and Bryant already at the top of the list for cities in Saline County, the Salem community is attempting to make a bigger name for itself with a new event.
During the past few years, the baseball and softball commissioners, along with Salem Ballpark board members and coaches, have been trying to put together a child- and adult-friendly event.
With Bryant Fest and Benton Freedom Fest already going strong every year, Salem is introducing the first Salem Fest this Sunday beginning at noon.
Organizers intend for the event to become an annual fundraiser to help the ballpark community with expenses, such as getting a new roof on an existing building and updating the park's heating and air units that have needed attention for quite some time, according to baseball commissioner Ron Blackburn.
"We are just trying to get the community involved with our ballpark," Blackburn said. "There are a lot of new people moving in, and our ballpark is kind of out of the way … We want to let them know that we are there."
The event will be catered by Denton's Trotline. Food will be served from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday. Plates are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and younger. In addition food, the event will include games and activities for all ages.
Some of the activities will include an adult horseshoe tournament, which costs $10 per team to enter; a dunking booth; an accuracy throwing contest; a speed pitch contest; and an inflatable playground for the children. Various age categories will be designated for each contest, and trophies will be awarded to all of the winners.
The horseshoe tournament is the only activity not open to children.
Also included will be a live auction starting at 2 p.m. Items up for grabs range from an oil change to a stainless steel microwave, all the way to a Cliff Lee signed ball from 2008 when he won the American League Cy Young Award.
Balloons will be available for children attending the event.
The Saline County Sheriff's Office and the Salem Fire Department will have some vehicles on hand for the kids to observe and turn on the sirens and lights as well.
Blackburn also mentioned that the ballpark is an open park and said that anyone and everyone can come play. He added that while many 16-year-olds may think there is nowhere to play at their age, Salem has a team open for them to play baseball during the summer.
For more information about Salem Fest or another summer or fall activity at the park, visit www.salemballpark.com .