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SALEM — Tickets are on sale for this year’s edition of the popular Downtown Dining Experience fundraiser and are on sale now.

“We really love this event, it takes people to places they would never have known otherwise,” said House Speaker Janet Keene.

The event, which will take place from 5-8 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20, will take guests on a tour of 13 local restaurants to sample their delicious offerings. Half of all proceeds from the event will be donated to United Way, and has raised more than $18,000 since the program’s inception in 2017. These funds enable United Way and their agencies to provide vital services like a helpline 24-hour hotline, 30-60 day emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children, case management, advocacy and legal accompaniment, emergency financial assistance, on-site counseling and provision of outreach and information services to schools, churches and service clubs.

Tickets are $45 each and can be purchased at the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce at 210 East State St.

Ticket prices have increased by $5 since last year. However, unlike previous years, there will be no additional cost for the “Diamond Drop” drawing. Anyone purchasing a ticket will be entered to win a diamond necklace from Troll’s Jewelry. An additional raffle ticket stub will be included on each raffle ticket. There will also be a basket raffle, with baskets donated by United Way agencies, each worth over $75. Raffle tickets will be six in number for $5, and participants will be assigned a raffle ID number and “Diamond Drop” drawings to avoid guests having to enter their name and contact information several times. Draws will be held and the winners will be announced the following day.

The event will feature a shotgun start with participants placed in groups of 15-20, with their starting point and route designated on the back of their tickets, with groups moving through the tour locations at 15 minute intervals.

This year’s event will feature: Pulled Pork Sliders and Mac and Cheese with Dessert by Affordable Catering; perfect desserts by Back Home Market and Cafe; fire-roasted chicken tacos by BB Rooners; pizza and appetizers by Coaches Burger Bar and Romeo’s Pizza; pastas and calzones with assorted sauces from Italian restaurant Ezio’s; sundaes by Heggy’s; fajitas, quesadillas and rice from Jalisco’s; mini cherry or vanilla phosphate and mini old-fashioned chocolate sodas from Kast Iron Soda Works; focaccia sandwiches and pastries from LiB’s Market; homemade sausage sauce and cookies by Raymond’s Ice Cream Parlor; and chicken pies and desserts at Ricky’s English Pub.

Attendees will also receive a program with the event menu, map and QR code, which attendees are encouraged to scan and vote for their favorite restaurant in six categories and leave feedback on the event. Voting categories include: Best Presentation, Best Tasty, Best Sweet, Favorite Food, Favorite Step, and Most Unusual.

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