Feb 282016

Define a Film Festival? Pictures, performers, people and passion. Now in its 9th year, the Salem Film Fest presents all that and more, running March 3-10. The “and more?” As in previous years, filmmakers are expected to be present for more than half of the screenings, providing audiences with a unique opportunity to learn more about the documentary filmmaking process.


Here is a full list of the films along with trailers.

What more could founders filmmaker Joe Cultrera (Hand of God), local businessman Paul Van Ness (CinemaSalem, Van Ness Creative), Executive Director of the Salem Chamber of Commerce Rinus Oosthoek and others from the community ask for? How about a growth rate of 15-25% each year?

SFFLogo_2016BIGRun and operated entirely by volunteers, the week-long festival has become not only a community-wide event, but also one of New England’s largest documentary film festivals, with screenings at CinemaSalem, the Peabody Essex Museum and the National Park Service Salem Visitor Center. Plus, there are filmmaker parties and music events held at venues throughout downtown.

Well-told stories with strong technical elements and interesting visual approaches are what you will find at the 2016 Salem Film Fest. Yes, you could say it is a big deal. We think so. Check out the entire schedule, then mark your calendars. And definitely come to Salem, see the world.

Feb 142016

On a brisk, minus degree feel-like day as we’re having, the options on activities could be limited. While there are still plenty of things to do and see in Salem, if you don’t want to go outside, but still wish to be in a “Salem state of mind” then may we suggest voting for 2016 BONS Readers’ Choice Awards (which began February 1st and ends May 1st).

BONS 2016

Winners will be listed in the annual BONS issue of Northshore Magazine (to be distributed in July), alongside Editors’ Choice for the same categories. But, note, online voting is for Readers’ Choice only; Northshore editors and the BONS committee select Editors’ Choice BONS winners separately from the Readers’ Choice winners.

The top vote recipients in the survey and eligible write-in nominees from 2015 voting are used to populate the drop-down menus. This is your opportunity to share with others why you frequent – may we say “haunt” – restaurants as well as general and specialty small businesses in Salem.

If you’ve never voted or haven’t recently, a few things of which to be aware:

  • Previously, regional or national chains were allowed to qualify as nominees. But beginning in 2015, that privilege was restricted to only local organizations and locally owned franchises
  • Traded votes for services or discounts is cause for disqualification. In other words, retailers are not allowed to produce a marketing mailer, website ad, social media post, etc., that offers a discount or free service with proof of a vote.
  • Businesses with multiple locations are to be recognized by the specific location. For example, if a business has locations in Salem, Peabody, and Andover, each location will have its own nomination.

Votes are tallied by the amount of unique votes each business receives. You are not allowed to vote for the same subcategory more than once; to ensure that all votes for each category are unique, their system requires a verifiable email address for each vote.

This year, more than a dozen new sub-categories, including Cookies and Distillery, and an entirely new category: Mingle have been added. Check them out.

Jan 162016

What is ahead for Salem Main Streets and 2016? Please join us for a night of celebration and information Tuesday, January 26th as we conduct the Salem Main Streets Annual Meeting.

SAF VolsKylie Sullivan, SMS Executive Director says, “Come cheer with us over last year’s accomplishments and look ahead to see what’s coming in 2016. Learn more about Salem Main Streets’ mission and purpose, and how you can benefit and get more involved.”

This gathering is free and open to all who live, work, or play in downtown Salem – residents, volunteers, business owners, community partners, and government officials.

Stephanie at boothIn other words, we want you there if you have anything to say about how the Downtown District was promoted by us in the past and —

Kylie emphasizes, “We are especially looking for feedback to help improve our work going forward.”

The meeting will run from 5:30 – 7:30pm at Ames Hall in the Salem YMCA, 1 Sewall Street (enter from the Essex Street entrance).

Free appetizers and cash bar!

Please invite your neighbors, associates, and friends! This is you chance to have an impact on how Salem is seen by the local community and the world.

Please RSVP to Kylie at kylie@salemmainstreets.org or 978-744-0004 x15.

Salem Main Streets’ mission is the continued revitalization of downtown Salem as a vibrant, year-round, retail, dining and cultural destination through business retention, recruitment, and promotion of the Downtown District.

Dec 302015

First DayThe City of Salem is telling residents to “take a hike” — literally, as in urging participation in First Day Hike, a national initiative established by America’s State Parks. Salem’s First Day Hike runs (walks) from noon to 2pm Friday, January 1, 2016, offering several courses with varying degrees of difficulty.

As Salem is already quite a walkable town, we’re sure that many residents and visitors have easily “hiked” along Washington Street, and across Essex or Derby as they shopped our Downtown District. This extra walk to experience the Salem Maritime National Historic Site should be no sweat!

For example, hikers may choose to walk around the Salem Common, and then walk from the Common to Derby Wharf Light House. Or they may just walk from the beginning of Derby Wharf to the Light House. Check out the map for more details on the hike’s course.

“Many of us use New Year’s as an opportunity to make a resolution and set goals for the upcoming year,” points out Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll. “First Day Hike offers residents an opportunity to start the New Year with some exercise or just a chance to get out and celebrate the holiday with other members of the community.”

Last year nearly 28,000 people across America participated in First Day Hikes to kick off the New Year, collectively hiking over 66,000 miles throughout the country!

You obviously would not be alone.

And, if you aren’t much of a cold weather hiker but this event whets your appetite to do more, here are a few tips, courtesy of the American Hiking Society.

  • First WalkDress in layers. While it is perhaps nice to have a huge, fluffy parka on the ski slopes, it really isn’t practical for the trail. Instead, take several layers you can peel off or put on when you stop and go on the trail. Your base layer should be a wicking fabric that will pull your sweat away from the skin.
  • Overheating is a dangerous threat since excessive moisture that isn’t allowed to escape can freeze and cause hypothermia. If you ever wondered why some of your jackets have zippers under the armpits, it’s to keep air circulating and prevent your clothes from getting wet.
  • Wear a hat! Our heads are filled with oxygen-carrying capillaries which fuel our brains and consume one third of the body’s energy. During the colder months it is important to keep your head covered to maintain function and not lose precious body heat. You may want to bring a warmer/heavier hat for rest periods.
  • Keep your water bottle warm. Whether you are at the campsite or on the trail, a foam sleeve like a koozie will help prevent the water from freezing in a bottle. Nothing warms your body or your spirits like warm liquid by a campfire. Boil water to take with you as you hike. Also, to keep water from freezing, keep your water bottle on the inside of your jacket – properly sealed, of course.

National Parks Superintendent Paul DuPrey adds, “Salem’s outstanding quality of life is built around its history, its open spaces and its people. Come out on New Year’s Day to enjoy all three and put your best foot forward.”

Nov 172015


As many of you know — or may not know — Salem Main Streets is responsible for a fair share of the holiday fun and cheer to be found/experienced in downtown Salem in November & December. But, as you can well imagine, it is far too much for one person to orchestrate, and way more fun to do with friends! Therefore, here are just a few (seriously) of our upcoming volunteer needs.

Ribbon Wrapping around downtown – this Saturday, Nov. 21
9 am – Ribbon pre-measuring and cutting – Salem Main Streets office, 265 Essex Street
10 am to 12 pm – Meet at East India Fountain on Essex Street Mall
Needed – as many as possible!
Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets reveals, “This is one of my favorite volunteer days of the year – it’s always cold and blustery, but we always have the best group of people, and the more people, the faster we go!  Volunteers should be able to handle the cold for 2 hours (while moving around); ability to climb ladders comfortably is a plus, and ‘ability’ to bring your own ladder is even better!”

Salem Winter Market – November – this Sunday, Nov 22.
1:30 to 3 pm and 6:30 to 8 pm
217 Essex Street
Needed – 4 to 6 people
We need help unloading and setting up vendors for our indoor winter market, in addition to breaking down and loading out at the end of the evening. Volunteers should ideally be able to lift up to 25 pounds.

Santa’s Arrival at Hawthorne and Holiday Tree Lighting at Lappin Park, Friday, Nov. 27
5 pm to 7 pm
Needed – 2 or 3 volunteers
We’re combining two beloved annual events into one night this year – and that means it will be even harder for Kylie to be everywhere at once!  We could use a couple extra hands to help carry and set up/break down tables and sound systems at the different sites. Again, volunteers should be relatively able to handle the cold for 2 hours, and need to be able to lift and carry tables, sound equipment, etc.

Salem Winter Market – December, Saturday, Dec. 19
11:30 to 1 pm and 4:30 to 6 pm
217 Essex Street
Needed – 4 to 6 volunteers
We need help unloading and setting up vendors for our indoor winter market, in addition to breaking down and loading out at the end of the evening. Volunteers should ideally be able to lift up to 25 pounds.

New Year’s Eve LAUNCH! Thursday, Dec. 31
2:30 pm to 7
Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square
Needed – As many as possible!
Kyle requests, “Help us ring in the New Year at Old Town Hall!  The City of Salem and Salem Main Streets are teaming up to throw a New Year’s Eve party at Old Town Hall, with live music and family-friendly activities.  There will be an early countdown promptly at 6 pm.”

Volunteers are needed for a variety of jobs:

  • Set up (2 to 4pm): Volunteers should be able to lift up to 25 pounds.
  • Greeters (4 to 6 pm): Greet people at the door and collect optional donations.
  • Craft activity support (4 to 6 pm): Help activity leaders as needed.
  • Break down (5:45 to 7pm): Volunteers should ideally be able to lift up to 25 pounds.

One other thing, Kyle adds, “Have an idea for a fun (and inexpensive) NYE activity that you would like to lead? Even better – just let me know.”

If you are interested in filling any of these needs, please contact her by email at kylie@salemmainstreets.org, or by phone at 978-744-0004, or in person at 265 Essex Street.

Just think of all those happy faces on kids & adults at events where you gave a little of your time.