Aug 022016

More than 40 different events over 10 days — if that doesn’t convince you to put Salem’s Heritage Days festival on your “to do” list for summer events, we don’t know what will. As we have already given the Festival a full write up, let’s consider this a gentle reminder! It takes place Aug.4-14th at Derby Wharf, Salem Common and other locales around Salem, inviting residents and visitors to explore Salem’s past and present through music, food and events.

Window Contest 037While most of the schedule is set, there are always possible changes, so just another reminder to check the schedule before attending.

Look it over. As the saying goes, there is something for everyone, no matter what your age.

Jul 262016

Granted, Salem Ma is known for all things Halloween in the fall, but we are also known for putting on a pretty good summer bash in August with our Heritage Days Festival. This year it runs from Aug. 4-14th.

What makes it such a big deal along the North Shore?

Packed with more than 40 different events over ten days, the 2016 Heritage Days schedule uniquely offers opportunities for Salem residents to visit many downtown museums and attractions free of charge, as well as discounts on the Salem Ferry and tours to the Bakers Island Lighthouse.

That’s a business community at work.

Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll agrees, “I want to thank all of the organizations involved in putting together all of these events. Our community is extremely fortunate to have so many dedicated groups helping to ensure the continuance of Salem’s vibrant and fun annual Heritage Days celebration.”

Pizza ContestHeritage Days kicks off this year at Derby Wharf with a concert by the SqueezeBox Stompers to mark the beginning of Salem’s Maritime Festival. The National Park Service is expanding the Maritime Festival to span over three days this year, filled with entertainment, special programs, children’s activities, demonstrations, harbor cruises, and tours of visiting vessels.

The regular Heritage Days schedule also includes all the regular favorites, as well: Tour-A-Truck, Salem’s Best Pizza Contest, the Salem Community Concert Band, the Ice Scream Bowl (one of our favorites) , Kids Night on the Common, the Essex Street Fair, and the 14th Annual Phillips House Antique Car Meet among others.

And of course what would Heritage Days be without the return of the highly popular Witches Cup Bike Race around Salem Common?

But that’s not all folks!

There are seven new events added to the schedule this year. They include free performances by traditional English Morris dancers, a performance of the musical “Godspell,” and Salsa on the South River. The first Salem City Hall Open House takes place on August 4. Also new is the first annual Splash & Dash competition for youngsters and, for seniors, a Charlie Card and Sheriff’s Photo ID program along with the GO4LIFE event and a lecture by Jim McAllister.

You can go to the shore or the Islands or the Cape anytime. But you can only enjoy the fun, food and friends of the Heritage Days Festival in Salem Ma from Aug. 4-14th. Mark your calendar. Set aside some sun tan and a hat. And, oh yes, bring comfortable walking shoes.

Aug 022015

Did Saturday’s events for Heritage Days make you feel like an audience member at a 3-ring circus? Actually, we hope you were more an active participant than a passive observer. Because — there is more today!

For example, new this year, the City of Salem and the Salem Moose Family Center will join forces to combine today’s (August 2nd ) “Tour-a-Truck” event with “Public Safety Day” which usually happens in September. Along with all of the kids’ big truck favorites, there will be music and many new things to do and see, 10am – noon at Salem Willows. The Ladies of the Moose will also be donating 50 bike helmets to be fitted by the Salem Police Department (on a first come first serve basis, so get there early!).

Salem Heritage DaysAs mentioned in our previous blog, blending the past, present and future, our Heritage Days celebration spans a week (Aug. 1-9) with events featuring food, fun, and activities for all ages. There are nearly 40 different events throughout the festival, some on different days, some at the same time. FYI: you really do need to keep the URL of the Calendar of Events for Heritage Days bookmarked on your home computer, tablet or cell phone.

Another city might hold a one or two day celebration of its history, but not Salem. We give it a week!

Mayor Kimberly Driscoll stated, “Another week of fun filled activities are in store for this annual tradition. I want to thank all the event managers that have worked so hard to bring almost 40 different activities to choose from during Heritage Days this year.”

Sunday begins with the “Bridge & Back 10K Road Race” at 8am. And that is what it is. Runners depart from the corner of Washington & New Derby Streets, Salem, cross the Salem/Beverly Bridge to Beverly and then back to Salem. The Race is sponsored by the Tavern in the Square and all proceeds go to the Boys & girls Club of Greater Salem. For more details, go to

And from noon- 8pm the Salem Willows Shell will once again play host to Bridgin G.A.P.S. concert with performances ranging from local and non-local recording artists, live bands, dance groups, poets and others. Plus there will be guest speakers from various non-profit and charitable organizations.

House of Seven GablesRelive elements of Salem’s rich heritage at the House of Seven Gables in the Living History Lab (10:30am – 1pm and 2 – 4pm). You can actually experiment with history by way of hands-on activities (as examples, 18th century handwriting or 17th century food preparation). For specifics go to

Additionally, for our residents, Salem is the perfect place for your STAY-CATION.  Spend a day being a tourist and take advantage of the generosity of our tourist related business community. Many are free to Salem residents all year long, such as the Peabody Essex Museum, the Salem Witch Museum, the Salem Trolley (June-September), and the a fore-mentioned House of the Seven Gables.

The Witch House will be free to Salem residents during Heritage week. The Salem Ferry always has discounts for residents and during Heritage Days the Sea Shuttle, Mahi Mahi Cruises and the Schooner Fame are offering discounts for residents.

As part of the celebration, the City of Salem will also double the merchant one-hour validation stamps at both garages, so you can spend a little bit longer enjoying downtown (some restrictions do apply).

As stated in the headline, Heritage Days is a variety show— and we’ve only told you about the 1st & 2nd days thus far! More in upcoming blogs, and don’t forget to bookmark the calendar URL.

Jul 302015

Blending the past, present and future, our Heritage Days celebration spans Aug. 1-9 with events featuring food, fun, and activities for all ages. There are nearly 40 different events throughout the festival, some on different days, some at the same time. You really do need to keep the URL of the Calendar of Events for Heritage Days bookmarked on your home computer, tablet or cell phone.

Natl parkThere is no better example to prove this point than the kick-off event: The 2015 Salem Maritime Festival will be held on the historic wharves at Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Saturday, August 1st from 10am – 4pm.

In its 27th year, the Salem Maritime Festival offers an exciting array of free family fun, including live music, free harbor cruises, craft demonstrations, costumed re-enactors and much more! Kids will enjoy a variety of fun activities including radio-controlled boats, a “Muck Walk” and touch tanks with their favorite marine critters.

A flotilla of visiting vessels including a U.S. Coast Guard 47′ Motor Life Boat, the Schooner Fame, the Schooner Ardelle and the motorized vessel Endeavor will all be participating in the festival. A fleet of kayaks from Salem Kayak will provide attendees with the opportunity to paddle and row Salem Harbor. Friendship of Salem, Salem’s own replica of a 1797 merchant vessel, will be open to the public and will offer a National Park Service Junior Ranger Program for children.

Free 90-minute harbor cruises aboard Fame, Ardelle and Endeavor will be offered throughout the afternoon by lottery. The cruises are scheduled for 12:00, 12:15, 12:30, 1:45, 2:00, 2:15pm.

  • Exhibitors and demonstrators at this year’s event include:
    Salem Kayaks
    Norumbega Canoe Club
    USS Constitution & US Navy
    Marlinspike Sailor of Marblehead
    Musician Larry Young
    R.P Raiseles Cooperage
    Essex Shipbuilding Museum
    Marine Modelers Club of New England
    Salem Sound Coastwatch
    Historic New England
    Cat Cove Marine Labs
    Division of Marine Fisheries
    U.S. Coast Guard & U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
    Peabody Essex Museum
    House of the Seven Gables
    Witch House / Corwin House
    Salem Beautification Committee
    Salem Zouaves
    Shipwrecks of New England
    And more…

Recall what we wrote at the outset, that at times during the Festival some events would be running concurrently? While the wharf area will witness all things maritime, farther down the road, the Salem Willows will play host to not one, not two, but three other events on Saturday!

A Bridgin G.A.P.S. concert will present performances ranging from local and non-local recording artists, live bands, dance groups, poets and others from noon until 6pm. The Bridgin G.A.P.S. goal is to provide a festive, entertaining and educational platform for the local community to gather and celebrate in a safe and positive environment.

At the same time you can attend The Firemen’s Muster  at 12:30 pm where crews will compete to throw the longest stream of water with an antique hand pumped fire engine. Come and see a 19th century sport that is being kept alive in the 21st century by a bunch of historic preservationists who obviously like to get wet!

And Clown Day will be also be happening, Saturday 11am – 3pm where clowns will be on hand all day to make balloon figures for your children, do some creative face painting using your kids as the canvas and then give a special performance at 2:30pm.

As stated in the headline, the Heritage Days Festival is a variety show— and we only told you about the FIRST day. More in upcoming blogs, and don’t forget to bookmark the calendar URL.

Aug 042014

mariasweet53Time to steel yourself for possible brain freeze! Ice cream galore will flow on the Salem Common Tuesday, Aug. 5th from 6 pm – 7:30 pm. Ice Scream Bowl 2014 returns as part of the year’s Heritage Days Festival.

Always a favorite among the youth of Salem, the ice cream lines fill up quickly and have been known to stretch back several hundred people in length.

For the price of admission ($5 for adults and $3 for children), you will be given a ticket that is the key to going down aisles which lead to booths where some very nice local merchants have set up shop to give you a free sample of their ice cream. That’s right, one sample from each participant!

No need to feel bad about consuming all that ice cream. According to, the U.S. enjoys an average of 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year, more than any other country.

Participating will be:

A spoon and napkin will be supplied with the purchase of a ticket. There will also be free face painting for kids and music by DJ Doug.

Trivia Question: What are the top 10 ice cream consuming countries? Don’t peek. Answers.

This is a fundraiser for Salem Main Streets, a non-profit organization; tickets are purchased on site on the day of this special event which is in keeping with our goal of revitalizing downtown Salem as a vibrant year-round retail, dining, and cultural destination. Salem Main Streets also organizes the Salem Farmers’ Market, Salem Arts Festival, and other events in downtown Salem.

The Ice Scream Bowl is coordinated in partnership between Salem Main Streets and the City of Salem as part of Salem Heritage Days, a 10 day event to celebrate the people of Salem.

For any other questions or comments regarding this event, please contact Kylie Sullivan at Salem Main Streets at (978) 744-0004 x15 or email at