Super Cruise was just that

SALEM – If next year’s Salem Super Cruise is as good as this one, Service Safety Director Ken Kenst said he’ll be happy.

“I think it’s just a great thing the city offers because it’s free,” Kenst said Sunday as the 8th Super Cruise shifted into a full wind-down mode.

“People can walk around and enjoy the cars. It’s free and if they want to buy something it’s there.”

There were no major problems, the weather was great and Kenst said he heard the word “gridlock” twice during the weekend and figured it can be taken two ways.

It’s great because cars are slowed down for people to see them, he said. He was downtown on Friday and Saturday nights during the heaviest cruising which attracts the largest crowds.

“I thought they were well-behaved,” he said. “They want to have a good time and I saw a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time.”

How well behaved were they? As of Sunday, Salem police reports showed no citations for peeling tires, something Kenst called “incredible.” Despite hundreds of people in the downtown, east and west ends, no major incidents of any kind were reported.

Overflow show car parking at the municipal parking lot on East Pershing Street quickly filled and cars were sent to the South Broadway Avenue parking area which eventually spilled over to East Second Street, Kenst said. He pointed out that Super Cruise committee member Sam Sicilia pushed for keeping East Second Street in the picture .

“Any parking issue comes with growth,” Kenst said. “It worked out good with Second Street there – it was a good move.”

One vendor in the municipal lot on East Pershing Street was selling lemonade and soda pop Sunday, helping to ease the heavy afternoon heat. Asked how good the cruise was for them, one of the three young men serving customers, said it’s the best one they attend.

Kenst said the graffiti artist who set out his work on East Second Street wound up selling everything he put on display.

The weekend has traditionally been a boomer for restaurants and Dan Engle, co-owner of B.B. Rooners in downtown with his wife, Margie, said it was the best weekend they’ve ever had.

“All three days,” Engle said. “It was great, our best one yet for customer count,” he said adding they ran out of a few kinds of beer. “We expected to be busy and ordered extra food. There were more people this year. Just a lot more people.”

Engle said people told him, “I can’t tell you how perfect it is to have this in Salem.”

He added, “I heard that quite a bit … they love it here.”

There were a lot of the shale people at B.B. Rooners on Friday night. “They’re from Colorado and Kansas and they were really enjoying that Cruise,” Engle said and noted it’s a big event for B.B. Rooners’ employees too. “They look forward to it, they work a couple of shifts and they’re all exhausted when it’s over but everybody’s upbeat but tired.”

“From my perspective, I’ve heard nothing but good things this year,” Kenst said. He added that the Super Nationals at Quaker City Motorsports Park and the Super Cruise mutually benefit from holding the same time slot. The way it stands, the third weekend of June is the right time, he said.

Safety forces were out with everyone available on Friday and Saturday and a skeleton crew worked Sunday.

Asked if there is any way the city would not continue with the Cruise, Kenst said only at city council’s direction and he didn’t believe there was any reason for that to happen.

There will be Cruise committee follow-up meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in city hall. The public is welcome to attend.