Jan 282016

Don’t miss Salem’s sweetest event of the year! Salem Main Streets, the Salem Chamber of Commerce, Destination Salem, and local retailers, restaurants, and businesses invite you to attend the 14th annual Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival. A decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures, and Valentine’s Day shopping await you Feb. 5-7th!

For example, in celebration of the chocolate aspect of the Festival, many of Salem’s finest restaurants will feature special chocolate offerings on their menus, including desserts, cocktails, and inventive sauces during the weekend of Feb. 6-7th.

Elsewhere, participating Salem retailers will offer innovative displays and items geared toward chocolate and Valentine’s Day, ranging from a chocolate fondue fountain to discounts on jewelry.

“This year,” reveals Kylie Sullivan, Executive Director of Salem Main Streets, “we are introducing a new in-store promotion called ‘Sweet 10%‘ – make a full-price purchase at one participating downtown business and get 10% off your purchase at next participating business!”

We also have a record-breaking TWENTY-THREE ice sculptures that will be placed all over the downtown and various entry points on Feb. 6th.

Kylie says, “I’m really excited to see some of our new businesses getting involved (Jolie Tea Company, The Bridge at 211, and TBT Post are just a few examples), the return of some traditional favorites (including a replica of The Friendship down near the water, thanks to the National Park Service), and some businesses thinking way outside the box – Rockafellas is actively working on an ice bar that will be built outside on their patio!”

Be sure to make plans for a special evening stroll on Saturday, Feb. 6th, when sculptures will be temporarily illuminated.

A full list of participating businesses and promotions will be available in brochures distributed around town and online at www.salemmainstreets.org.

When asked why she thought the Festival has had such staying power in the community, Kylie offered, “Quite frankly, there’s nothing else like it going on. By the time February rolls around, the “Ice Pikachu & Charizardmagic” of winter has faded away – this event helps brings that magic back, as the ice sculptures truly transform the downtown. People have recovered from the holidays and they’re eager to get outside, walk around, and visit their favorite businesses again. Plus, who can really say no to chocolate?”

But is chocolate beneficial to you? Besides it tasting so good?

Looking across the Internet, we found this description of the redeeming values of chocolate from Hy-Vee, operator of over 230 retail outlets in the Midwest.

“Chocolate contains iron, potassium, fiber and some of our favorite antioxidants, flavonoids. The flavonoids found in chocolate may be able to do things like relax blood vessels and promote healthy circulation, both of which may lead to healthier blood pressure levels. Chocolate also contains polyphenols, antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage. Of course, the darker the chocolate, the healthier it is. Start with 57% cacao dark chocolate, or even semi-sweet, and work your way up until you find the perfect dark chocolate fit for you.”

It’s almost as if they were also inviting you to attend the Salem’s So Sweet kick-off event, a Chocolate and Wine Tasting, on Friday, Feb. 5th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm, at Colonial Hall at Rockafellas, 227 Essex St., where you can indeed sample all levels of chocolate and find your perfect shade and taste.

This luscious tasting event features wine and chocolate samplings from premier Salem restaurants, stores, and sweet shops. Tickets can now be purchased over the phone by calling 978-744-0004, online at http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/, or in person at the Salem Chamber of Commerce, 265 Essex Street, Suite 101. This event is the highlight of the season and sells out quickly!

Other activities include:

  • The Salem Trolley offers trolley rides around the festival route (weather permitting) during the day on Feb. 6th and 7th for a discounted price. Pick-up locations will be at the Visitor Center, Pickering Wharf, and near Rockafellas on Washington Street.
  • New this year, Salem Parks Recreation and Community Services will operate a small skating rink at the Museum Place Mall Fountain. Come out for hot cocoa and family fun on Feb. 6th from 5 to 8 pm and Feb. 7th from noon to 4 pm!

Visit our website for more events and details about the festival as they become available: www.salemmainstreets.org – or follow our Facebook page for all the latest updates https://www.facebook.com/salemsosweet.

And, of course don’t forget to post pictures as you visit Salem MA with your loved ones for a sweet experience during Salem’s So Sweet Chocolate & Ice Sculpture Festival.

Jan 022016

January may be a grim, gray month for most people, but we laugh at that notion in Salem. No, really, we laugh, as with the First Annual Salem Comedy & Spirits Festival, set for January 14 – 17, 2016.

MarkScalia-Festival producer and comedian Mark Scalia got the idea from a somewhat similar humor fest he had attended in New Orleans. It was a celebration of comedy for both the comics and the audience.

“New England in January tends to be dark and cold and can make people get a little stir-crazy. Comedy is a great way to get out on a cold night and laugh!  Besides, it’s the ONLY month that Salem doesn’t have another festival.”

The Salem Comedy & Spirits Festival features top area performing comedians, an improv show, locally crafted spirits and cider, and related special events at a variety of Salem venues (Koto, Far From the Tree, Opus, and Gallows Hill Theatre).

salemcomedy31/14, 7pm
Enjoy a delicious dinner from Koto before enjoying opening night hilarity with 10 great comedians. Hosted by Mark Scalia and closing the show will be comedian Chris Pennie.

  • Among the comics: Kristin O’Brien, Niraj Shah, Dan Gilbert, Mark Turcotte, Andy Lester & Kyle Daley

1/15, 7pm
Enjoy samples from Salem’s own Far From The Tree cidery before a showcase of 10 top comedians. Hosted by Mark Scalia and closing the show will be comedian Matt Barry.

  • Among the comics: Tyler Moore , Ryan Chani, Pete Wolynec, Danny Rathbun, Jess Miller & Drew Dunn

1/16, 6pm
Enjoy an exclusive private 3-course dinner with the show’s three headlining comedians, Dave Rattigan, Jay Grove & Mark Scalia at Opus Underground, as well as VIP seating for the comedy show!

1/17, 6:30 and 8:30pm
The evening at the Gallows Hill Theater begins with an Improv show with the hilarious “Accidentally on Purpose” featuring Erik Rodenhiser.

Then at 8:30pm, Ace Comedy Hypnotist Steve Coppola will take the stage with his interactive and comedic show!

Don’t let snow (or lack of it) get you down in January. Just come down to Salem MA and treat yourself to a laugh or two, or three or four at the The Salem Comedy & Spirits Festival. For tickets and additional info, go to http://salemcomedyfestival.com/

Dec 272015

Where else but Salem MA could you welcome the New Year while at the same time celebrate the past? And still have time to welcome the New Year again! No, we haven’t started sampling the bubbly stuff yet.

LAUNCH+SALEM+MA+_3289The City of Salem and Salem Main Streets are teaming up to throw LAUNCH!, our third annual New Year’s Eve party, this Thursday, Dec. 31 from 4 pm to 6 pm at historic Old Town Hall, Derby Square. Let’s repeat the times, 4-6pm. Bring the entire family – yes the kids too, it’s early enough!

“When we organized LAUNCH! for the first time, it was immediately clear that this needed to be an annual tradition where the community could truly come together,” states Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Executive Director. “Plus, there’s still plenty of time after our early countdown to get to your own party, or catch one of the many other great events happening all over town on New Year’s Eve!”

Attendees can ‘rock the night away’ with local musical favorites including The Dejas, BlacKat, and Kevin William, as well as a number of “rising star” teen musicians. There will be New Year’s Eve related activities and crafts for kids of all ages, thanks to event partners The Gathering, The Phoenix School, and Creative Salem.

Kylie adds, “I’ll be honest, this is truly one of my favorite events of the year. We conduct many events which might arguably have a greater impact, but I love that this event is simply about celebrating together as a community. We’re also so lucky to partner with the City of Salem in using Old Town Hall – there’s something lovely and symbolic to me about getting to use this beautiful public building that celebrates the past, and then throw the doors open to the community to welcome the year to come.”lAUNCH

Speaking of Old Town Hall, we’re also still looking for a few helping hands to join us this Thursday, especially for:

  • Set up (2 to 4pm): Volunteers should ideally be able to lift up to 25 pounds.
  • Craft activity support (4 to 6 pm): Help activity leaders as needed.
  • FACE PAINTERS (4 to 6 pm): We’re not looking for high levels of artistic talent – ability to paint hearts, stars, and “Happy 2016!” is sufficient. We’ll provide the paint and brushes.
  • Break down (5:45 to 7pm): Volunteers should ideally be able to lift up to 25 pounds.

This event is free to all and family-friendly, with a $5 suggested donation to help support the Salem Main Streets “Holiday Happenings” initiatives, including the wreaths and ribbons around the downtown, the Holiday Tree, and LAUNCH!

There will be an early countdown promptly at 6 pm.

For more info about New Year’s Eve Salem, contact Kylie Sullivan, Salem Main Streets Manager, at (978)744-0004 or kylie@salemmainstreets.org, or visit http://salemmainstreets.org/ and follow Salem Main Streets on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And have a Happy New Year!

Nov 272015

Small BizLSandwiched between Black Friday on 11/27 and Cyber Monday on 11/30 is a key day for merchants and consumers in Salem and many towns along the North Shore— Small Business Saturday on 11/28.

For one day a year, an extra spotlight is focused on merchants along the main streets of America to entice customers to check out the products and services available. So there is no confusion, Small Businesses on Washington Street, Front Street, Essex Street, etc. will not live or die by the traffic on Saturday. There is more at stake than just revenue.

It is a day for you, as a customer, to not just window shop but take a few minutes to actually walk through stores and peruse the inventory. Familiarize yourself for future references & shopping.

Many stores on Small Business Saturday will be offering sales, discounts, give-a ways and other “value” offers.

It is even more so a day for owners to take the extra time to connect with their customers. Inspire you to emotionally invest in an owner’s dream for the business. This is something big box stores can’t do.

Stop in and discuss:

  • The latest releases with Larry at Harrison’s Comics & Collectibles
  • The finer points of croissants with Melita at Melita Fiore
  • Which type of yarn you should use with Ana at Circle of Stitches
  • The right equipment for your bike with Dan at Salem Cycle
  • The perfect holiday party dress with Erica at Ocean Chic Boutique
  • Which bestseller you should read next with Denise and Taylor at Wicked Good Books
  • “Why is your coffee ice cream so darn good?” with Christiana at The Salem Screamery
  • ….the list goes on and on and on!

Connect with the people behind the businesses in your community. They are a part of your community, not just a piece of real estate that is open from 10am to 7pm. Perhaps this is also what Small Business Saturday is all about. Find out for yourself.

Nov 072015

Rest Week 2In keeping with Salem’s emerging position as a favored dining destination, Fall Restaurant Week returns with a diverse menu of chefs, locations, cuisines and value pricing, Nov. 8-12 and Nov. 15-19.

If you’ve never tried the offerings of a certain Salem restaurant but always wanted to, this is your chance.

For 10 days only, participating Salem restaurants will offer either a two-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $18, or a three-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $28, or both (note that this price does not include drinks, taxes or gratuities).

And if you’ve tasted what Salem has to offer in the past, you will find old reliables as well as a number of new dining selections with names such as A MANO, Aurora, Bambolina, and Koto.

This an annual event of the Salem Chamber of Commerce, which has stated on its website that “Salem has become a culinary destination and people really look forward to this event. Expect a wide variety of delicious foods – from steak to seafood, American to ethnic, there is something for everyone.”

Rest week bannerThe full list of participating restaurants (subject to change) is listed on the Chamber website.

Restaurants may offer multiple choices for appetizers and entrees, as well as desserts. Contact the restaurants directly to make reservations, which are strongly encouraged. Also, please mention “Restaurant Week” when making your reservations.

There are many reasons to walk around Salem, why not let Fall Restaurant Week give you the opportunity to find reasons to sit and enjoy Salem?