Celebrating traditions is vital to great cities and our community excels when volunteers come together to preserve our traditions.

"Heritage and Community Spirit" were two of the five criteria Ohio Magazine evaluated to designate our community Central Ohio's Best Hometown 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Arts in the Alley is a signature Grove City event celebrating its 38th year this Sept. 16 and 17. The event name comes from its beginning, when it was actually held in an alley behind the businesses on Broadway with artists and crafters displaying and selling their work.

From the event's unassuming start, Arts in the Alley now spans the third weekend every September. We kick off the event with a lively parade that begins at Southwest Boulevard and Broadway. This year's parade theme is "Spirit of the Community" and the parade marshal is Bill Plank, owner of Plank's on Broadway. The parade will feature more than 125 floats, antique cars, horses, businesses, civic organizations, sports teams, elected officials, churches and more.

More than 100 artists and crafters will flock to our Town Center to show and sell a variety of artwork, crafts, pottery, jewelry and gifts. The annual art show attracts artists from across Ohio and multiple states presenting fine arts, photography, quilts, crafts and youth art.

New this year, the Fine Arts Show introduces an amateur and professional division, all judged on level of ability. The winners in each show receive a monetary award.

The Grove City Easel Award, the best art representing Grove City, enjoys a $2,000 purchase prize.

Visitors also have the opportunity to cast a People's Choice vote for their favorite artwork for each show on display at various Town Center sites.

All winners are announced at the event Sunday afternoon.

Throughout the weekend, enjoy music and entertainment on the Heartland Bank stage. Kid's Fun Street offers children the chance to make their own take-home art. Concessions on Park Street feature a variety of food for the entire family, all provided by Grove City's local churches and non-profit organizations.

Be sure to connect with our community's history. Tour the city's recently renovated oldest home, the Grant-Sawyer homestead, and the Grove City Welcome Center & Museum from noon to 5 p.m. each day.

I hope you will join me next weekend at Arts in the Alley and enjoy the award-winning heritage and tradition Grove City offers.

Richard L. "Ike' Stage is serving his fifth term as mayor of Grove City.