Sep 292014

It waitsHauntingly standing in and out of the shadows, the Salem Main Streets Haunted Happenings Information Booth waits patiently on the corner of Essex and Washington Streets. It waits for you.

For resident and tourist alike, young and old, American and foreign traveler, it does not discriminate in its need to feed— you information. Now that it has been dropped into place, the booth sits day and night awaiting the launch of our season of service. Volunteers will start staffing Thursday from 4:30 – 6:30 pm to coincide with the Haunted Happenings kick-off Grand Parade.

Stephanie Hagyard, a volunteer since 2008, and coordinator of this year’s SMS info team says “Our shift schedule will be 2 – 6 pm on Fridays (noon – 8 pm on Halloween), 10 am – 6 pm on Saturdays and noon – 5 pm on Sundays (might vary to 11 am on Sundays depending on staffing). The only holiday is Columbus day which will be a 10 am- 4 pm effort.”

She adds, “Most shifts are filled but there are a few dates/shifts that I would like to get a third/fourth person on- and November 1st is a new addition this year that needs people.” If you would like to volunteer, contact Stephanie at

Stephanie at boothYou would become part of a community of ‘community volunteers’ who have provided direction and support to nearly 140,000 visitors since 2008. And this year with Halloween on a Friday, we can expect record numbers to cross Washington Street at Essex Street (which is the location of our booth).

Asked for advance advice to offer 10/31 visitors, Stephanie offered “Park once, wear comfy shoes, walk around, dress in layers, pay attention to your surroundings; if you are at an establishment getting lunch/dinner/coffee use the bathroom even if you don’t think you need to because who knows how long lines will be at other restrooms that are public.”

That’s the kind of straightforward, we believe useful info, you need from the booth volunteers, along with where the “witch this” and “witch that” are located.

The Info Booth beckons you….

Nov 102013

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in. (Marjorie Moore, Minds Eye Information Service, Belleville, IL, USA

Contributions made by area volunteers at various Salem sites were spotlighted recently at a Volunteer Appreciation Party held at the National Park Service Visitor Center.

Salem Main Streets partnered with the City of Salem, National Park Service, and Destination Salem to honor the over 100 wonderful volunteers from the October Information Booth, the “Shutdown Booth” and the Salem Farmers’ Market. Speakers at the event included (pictured) Kate Fox of Destination Salem, Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll, Kylie Sullivan of Salem Main Streets and Jonathan Parker of the National Park Service. (photo by Karen Scalia)

Besides “thank you’s” being handed out, we also had a number of “fun facts” to share that night.

The Salem Farmers’ Market served over 37,000 shoppers, the Shutdown Booth helped over 13,000 people, and our own Info Booth responded to multiple questions posed by more than 25,000 visitors.

Being a volunteer is a win-win-win situation here in Salem. You are helping your community. You are helping people from outside the community better understand Salem. And you are making yourself feel good about sharing your spare time.

And as a further thank you, local restaurants generously donated fantastic food for the event, creating quite the spread! Donating restaurants included Adriatic Restaurant & Bar, Caffe Graziani, Capt’s Waterfront Grill & Pub, Finz, Flying Saucer Pizza Company, Gulu-Gulu Cafe, Life Alive, Opus, Salem Waterfront Hotel, Village Tavern, and Victoria’s Station.

Don’t ever question the value of volunteers. Noah’s Ark was built by volunteers; the Titanic was built by professionals. (Dave Gynn, Coleman Professional Services, Ohio, USA )