There isn't a shortage of heritage in our fair city. Salem was founded in 1806. Throughout the decades, a blending of ethnicities, cultures, faith and beliefs has shaped its populace. We are a proud people. Immigrants came from different lands and into a melting pot right here. Many of you reading this had parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and so on down the ancestral line who were not born in Salem. But they came here and their families grew here. Many of you reading this yourselves may hail from elsewhere. But Salem is now home. You grew here. Generations have passed that kind of heritage down to our children. A great opportunity to revel in our own histories will take place at week's end.
The Salem iFest will be held Friday and Saturday. A highlight will be the very popular Grande Parade, a vestige of the Salem Jubilee days from the mid and late 1980s that has withstood recent time's test. The weather forecast for Saturday is calling for sunshine and cooler temps. That is good to know. We've all had enough of the blast furnace effect.
But the weekend is more than just the parade. The iFest is being billed by organizers as an international celebration featuring entertainment, food and fellowship. That approach works for us. It's another chance for many to come downtown's way and mingle and have fun as summer rapidly shrinks. And, of course, save for the food vendors, it is all free. Much like the people magnet Cruise was. Anything that brings people downtown is good for the whole of the city. As co-chair of the event Steve Faber said, think of it as a big family reunion. Because that is what the people - at least the good and solid people of Salem - are. Family.
"We want everybody to come out and enjoy being part of Salem and celebrating their own individual heritage," said Audrey Null, executive director of the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce. Details of the iFest were previously published and information also appears on today's page 11A. Come out and celebrate your own heritage while helping others celebrate theirs. The Salem iFest is another great reason to come downtown and have fun with your family, neighbors and friends. Enjoy it. Appreciate where you are now and appreciate where your own lineage emerged from.