You don't have to be a car nut or gear head to enjoy - and appreciate - the Quaker City Weekend Cruise which has hit overdrive heading into a big day today. It's all about cool-looking cars, music, good food (we don't claim necessarily nutritious food!) and people. Lots and lots of people. This is when basically wandering aimlessly around is the thing to do. Think a Canfield Fair type of atmosphere.
As this was written the Goodyear Blimp was to make an extended appearance over the city late Friday afternoon. We certainly hoped the weather cooperated with that. That would've been great to see, especially for the kids. Regardless, any event that brings an expected 30,000 people to the downtown area over its run is good. Sure the idiot factor will rear its head per usual. You know, punks being, well, just that, punks and would-be hot rodders testing the Salem cops and the department's patience and zero tolerance policy for moving violations.
But for the vast overwhelming part this is an excellent happening for the whole of the city. It brings in people by the thousands. It has to help most businesses in the city, especially the restaurants. People get hungry and not all of them are eating street vendor food. They are frequenting the downtown eateries and, OK, bars too. Maybe some are even stopping to shop.
Entertainment will begin today at 3:30 p.m. on the Broadway stage and at the Howells &?Baird stage at Pershing and Lundy. The show car parade will be at 6 p.m. and, of course, you can expect sweet vehicle after sweet vehicle to cruise up, down and the through the downtown into the wee hours. This all has a neat American Graffiti backdrop, pure Americana feel to it. Nothing wrong with that at all. Those of us of age miss those vanished days of youth.
Activities will continue Sunday with the Expert Tire Show &?Shine at the Howells &?Baird stage. Those two local businesses we just listed are just two of the many who supported this big weekend. A public thank you to everyone involved. A public thank you to Mayor Wolford, Service Safety Director Steve Andres, other city administrators and city workers for pulling this all together. If it didn't work in the past it wouldn't being going on now. It is a fun, for the most part free, and a full weekend. And you don't even have to leave home to enjoy it. Granted there are those who don't get into these kinds of things. That certainly is their right. But a suggestion to them: stay away from the downtown. Because it will be crowded, noisy and, most importantly, exciting. And that is very, very good for the city of Salem.