A riverfront comes into its own

Sunset

A surf in the park

Who knew Salem even had a river running through it? BeforeRiverfront Park began taking shape more than a decade ago, aboutthe only time you'd see the Willamette was at 40 miles per hour,while crossing it on the highway bridge. Now nothing's moreinviting in June than a stroll along the river. You can walk therefrom downtown; new pedestrian crossings on busy Front Street makeaccess easy. Traverse the park's wide lawns for a look at the Eco Earth sculpture at the south end, or head to the steepriverbank to dip your feet in the water. The Willamette River? InSalem, you can't miss it.

PLAY Willamette Queen. WHAT: Replica of a vintage sternwheeler docks at the newmarina and welcomes passengers on one- to two-hour excursions, withor without a meal. WHEN: Tue-Sun. HOW MUCH: $10 ($35 including brunch or dinner); reservationsrequired. WHERE: North Parking Area; from Front St., turn west onUnion St., which becomes Water St.; www.willamettequeen.comor 503/371-1103.

BRING KIDS Salem's Riverfront Carousel. WHAT: Indoor carousel with 32 hand-carved wooden horses. WHEN: 10-7 Mon-Thu, 10-9 Fri-Sat, 11-6 Sun. HOW MUCH: $1.25. WHERE: South Parking Area, at the intersection of Front andState Streets; http://www.salemcarousel.org""www.salemcarousel.org" "" "_new"] or 503/540-0374.

A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village. WHAT: Imaginative children's museum anchors RiverfrontPark's north end. WHEN: 10-5 Mon-Sat, noon-5 Sun. HOW MUCH: $5, under 3 free.WHERE: By North Parking Area, 116 Marion St. N.E.; www.acgilbert.orgor503/371-3631.

EAT Picnic fixings from Cascade Baking Company.WHAT: Soups, salads, and sandwiches like the Reubenesquepanini and treats like triple-layer mint brownies. WHEN: Breakfast and lunch Mon-Sat. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: A half-block from the park, at 229 State St.; www.cascadebaking.com or503/589-0491.

HEAR Salem's World Beat Festival. WHAT: Two days of international music, dance, food, andfolklore, with more than 125 performances in Riverfront Park. WHEN: Jun 25- 26. HOW MUCH: $3 donation requested. WHERE: Throughout the park;www.worldbeatfestival.orgor 503/581-2004. ―Bonnie Henderson

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