When we've spoken with our Yesterday's Voices guests, they all mention the many parades and community celebrations they enjoyed during their earlier life in Salem. What kiddo doesn't love a parade? But these folks remember participating in many celebrations even as adults. Let's look at a few of the events that so many guests mentioned as part of their stories.
There are many more celebrations and parades in Salem's past: Memorial Day and Veteran's/Armistice Day parades, parades for the visits of President Theodore Roosevelt in May 1903 and President William Howard Taft in October 1911, parades by fraternal organizations like the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) parade in May 1908 and those sponsored by the Cherrians from 1913-1950.
We enjoyed children's Christmas parades on Thanksgiving weekend which always ushered in Santa, and the nighttime Festival of Lights Holiday Parade from 1990-2010 (redesigned as the Keizer Holiday Lights Parade in 2015 where it is once again an annual event). We even had parades to celebrate Rainmaker Day on July 12, the only rainless day in our modern recorded history.
Why don't we have parades like this anymore, you might ask? Costs to close streets and police the event, liability issues, and traffic congestion probably all play a part in their absence. Corporate sponsorships seem to be the key for ongoing success, but those, too, seemed to have been lost to time.