Jul 022018

One of the best Independence Day Fireworks festivities on the North Shore will be found at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf this Wednesday, July 4th. It is America’s 242nd birthday. And you are an invited guest.

“There’s no better place to celebrate Independence Day than in historic Salem,” explains Mayor Kimberly Driscoll. “Start off bright and early at Salem Common for the annual reading of the Declaration of Independence, spend the day visiting the City’s numerous historic sites and attractions, dine at one of dozens of remarkable restaurants, and end your day at historic Derby Wharf for all of the festivities.”

A Bit of Trivia

Along the way, during the day, Americans are expected to consume 150 million hot dogs at bar-b-ques and other backyard celebrations.

Historically, did you know that it wasn’t until 1870 that the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday? Prior to that, Americans held individual celebrations. In fact, according to History.com “By the last decade of the 18th century, the two major political parties – the Federalist Party and Democratic-Republicans – that had arisen began holding separate Fourth of July celebrations in many large cities.”

Salem Activities

Join Mayor Driscoll on Salem Common at 9:00 a.m. for the reading of the Declaration of Independence.  Lloyd Woodcock will read the document. Bob Kendall will provide piano music, Salem High School’s “Witch Pitch?” has been invited to sing the National Anthem, and audience singing will be led by Maureen Dalton.  Coffee will be provided by the Salem Common Neighborhood Association.

Free children’s activities begin at 5:00 p.m. with the opening of the Kids’ Space, where little ones can play games, win prizes and get their faces painted.  Also, stop by the Honest Tea tent for samples of their tea, sport, and kids’ juice line.

Live entertainment begins at 5:00 p.m. This year LUX quartet will be performing on main stage.  LUX is a funky/jazzy/quirky/entertaining/engaging ensemble from the North Shore and has played venues throughout New England.

Food tents are on site selling hot dogs, French fries, fried dough, kettle corn, and other favorite foods you might find at a fair.

Opening Ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. when Mayor Driscoll and other local dignitaries will lead a parade down the wharf accompanied by the Salem Veterans Honor Guard and Salem Boy Scout troops. Members of the Salem High School’s a capella group “Witch Pitch?” will sing The National Anthem.

Immediately following opening ceremonies, Maestro Dirk Hillyer and the Hillyer Festival Orchestra (HFO) will take center stage to perform a program packed with Broadway show tunes and patriotic music featuring soprano Jacyn Tremblay.

For intermission entertainment, talented musicians from Salem’s Collins Middle School band will play several selections from their repertoire.

At 9:15 p.m., Salem ends its Independence Day celebration with a fireworks extravaganza, accompanied live by the Hillyer Festival Orchestra playing the 1812 Overture and other patriotic tunes throughout the entire fireworks display.

Please note the following information for those planning to attend Wednesday’s July 4th celebrations in Salem

  • Be safe. To ensure a safe and fun celebration, the Salem Police Department will have enhanced security in place on July 4th. Guests are asked to carry any items in clear plastic bags and be prepared for possible bag checks by uniformed officers.
  • Say something. If you see something, say something to uniformed police at the celebration. In addition to officers who will be moving throughout the area all evening, you can also always find officers at the public safety tent, which will be clearly identifiable on site.  Concerns can also be called into the Salem Police at (978) 744-1212.
  • Derby Wharf access. Police will be monitoring access points into the Derby Wharf area throughout the afternoon and evening. Please plan for additional time to arrive at the wharf for the festivities.
  • Road closures. Derby Street from Herbert Street to Daniels Street, and Orange Street and Curtis Street at Essex Street, will all be closed to traffic from 5:00 pm. until 11:00 p.m.
  • Avoid driving to Derby Wharf. Seek parking downtown in a lot (www.parkinginsalem.com) or Museum Place Garage on New Liberty Street and the South Harbor Garage on Congress Street are available for parking at $5 for the day, with the proceeds being donated directly towards the July 4th celebration.  There is overflow parking at Shetland Properties on Congress Street, or take the commuter rail or Salem Ferry (www.salemferry.com) to avoid anticipated traffic congestion. The last MBTA trains depart Salem station at 10:40 p.m. (southbound) and 10:51 p.m. (northbound/Newburyport Line) and 12:01 a.m. (northbound/Rockport Line)
  • Handicapped parking. There is limited handicap parking at Derby Wharf and in the Immaculate Conception parking lot on Hawthorne Boulevard, which is first-come first-serve, and there is a mobility impaired/wheelchair seating section reserved at the beginning of Derby Wharf, so attendees do not have to traverse the park’s terrain.
  • Don’t bring fireworks. Salem has adopted the maximum fines allowable for both the sale ($1,000 fine) and use ($200 fine) of fireworks. In addition, a dedicated police unit will be tasked with enforcing the laws prohibiting the private use of fireworks. Please help ensure a safe July 4th for all and leave the fireworks to the professionals.
  • Harbor access. Recreational boaters and other craft will be restricted from the area around Derby Wharf and the channel in Salem Harbor and the South River for much of the evening. Mariners can call the Harbormaster’s Office at 978-741-0098 or on VHF 16 for emergencies after hours or for more information.

One final note, we would like to add. A community undertaking such as this is indeed a community effort.

“I’d like to express a special thank you to our Skyrocket Sponsors: Footprint Power – Salem Harbor Station, Salem Five and Tropical Products, along with our Star-Spangled Sponsors: Aggregate Industries, Tache Real Estate, Market Basket, Eastern Bank, and KV Associates, and Thermal Circuits,” commented Mayor Driscoll. “This event does not happen without their and many others support.”

Aug 022015

Whether you’ve come to Salem MA by car, motor bike, train, ferry, or bus, we hope you are enjoying yourselves during this week-long (Aug 1-9) Heritage Days celebration unfolding on our streets, sidewalks, harbor and grassy areas.

Continuing this week, two of the perennial favorites: Salem’s Best Pizza Contest and Ice Scream Bowl.

Pizza ContestOn Monday, beginning at 5pm (or sooner) there will be winding lines of people at the Salem Common waiting for the opportunity to sample pizza, vote on best pizza categories, and have a fun time interacting with other aficionados of the food that is sold at the rate of 3 billion pies annually in the U.S.

That is a lot of pizza. In fact, also according to Pizza.com, each person in America eats about 46 pizza slices a year. Average might be higher in Salem area when you consider that on Monday for a $7 donation fee (funds benefit the Salem YMCA) adults and kids (for a $5 ticket) get to sample from not one, not two, but several local pizza makers participating in this community event.

Advice: Bring a rectangular plastic container (the kind you use for leftovers) to hold your multiple pizzas.

This fan favorite is followed on Tuesday at 6pm, also at the Salem Common, by the Ice Scream Bowl where this time a number of participating ice cream shops have lined up booths for you to sample the best of the best in something perfectly suited for the warm weather we’ve been experiencing.

mariasweet53The confirmed list includes: Captain Dusty’s, Cherry Farm Creamery, Maria’s Sweet Somethings, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, and Salem Screamery.

North Shore 104.9 FM will be in attendance with fun games and takeaways, Elsa from “Frozen” will be making an appearance, and other kid’s activities will be available throughout the event.

Ticket prices are $6 for adults, $4 for children and proceeds benefit projects of Salem Main Streets.

According to IceCream.com it takes 50 licks to finish a single scoop ice cream and that 87% of Americans have ice cream in their freezer at any given time (and they are right, just checked the freezer and there are two pints in there!).

Advice: Bring muffin or cupcake bakeware containers to hold the ice cream, especially if children will be part of your entourage for the evening.

Following both events at 7pm the Salem Willows Shell will play host to musical performances that will round out your day. Monday will offer Salem Community Concert Band and Community Jazz Band, both of which are made up of Salem residents from grade 7 through adult.  Tuesday, the North Shore Concert Band Series will present a “Salute to Swing” music from the Big Band Era, featuring the Gerry Barrett Swing Band.

These are just some of the many events scheduled during Heritage Days. Check the community calendar for other events on these and the remaining days of the Festival.

( Cover photo courtesy of John Andrews at SocialPalatesPhotography.com )

May 102014

School is in session this Saturday as Education Day breaks out all over Salem Ma. But it will be unlike anything you’ve seen before. Classes are in skin care, recycling, rope making, mixology, Farmers Market, photography and more.

Education DayThe Salem Education Foundation is presenting the “2nd Annual Hats Off to Education Weekend” as a way of promoting community involvement and investment in the public schools of Salem, Ma.

The schedule as posted by SEF includes:

Workshops and Fun Activities, at Old Town Hall, 10am – 3pm
・    The Community Development Coalition will host a bilingual scavenger hunt in Old Town Hall and visitors can take part in a session titled “Journey through the Immigrant Experience”
・    TD Bank will offer finance classes for teens and adults
・    John Andrews of Social Palates and “we_are_Salem” will offer a photography class
・    The House of The Seven Gables will offer bilingual “Dominican Tales”
・    Salem Historical Tours will speak about the city’s rich history
・    The North Shore Career Center will offer workshops on how to build a resume and find a job
・    Henry Miller’s Architecture Lab at Boston Architectural College will offer two hour long workshops on how to build a speaker for your handheld device. Space is limited for this workshop. Please register by emailing Henry.Miller@the-bac.edu
・    Additionally, children will have the opportunity to look at gemstones, learn about beekeeping, brush up on their Harry Potter facts, learn about the importance of recycling, healthy food and gardening and engage in arts activities

Free Community Read Book, Old Town Hall, 10am – 3pm
・    The Community Advisory Board will give away copies of “The Good Thief,” written by Hannah Tinti, a Salem native. This is the book selected for the city of Salem’s first Community Read.

Activities at the Salem Common will include:
・    The Hogwarts Hustle Kids’ Fun Run at 10:30am This is a half-mile fun run for kids age 12 and under. There will also be a dash for kids 4 and under. Kids are encouraged to dress as their favorite Harry Potter characters. Finisher ribbons will be awarded to the first 100 runners
・    12 noon Basketball Tournament! Email Andre at adaley@bgcgs.org
・    Adults and children alike can have a Zumba experience with the energetic Gina Grinarml
・    Learn circuit training with Kerry Murphy
・    Play in a basketball game with Mayor Kim Driscoll
・    Hula hoop and free dance to the rhythms of Mamadou’s drummers!

Performances, at Old Town Hall, 10am – 3pm
・    The Salem High School Jazz Band
・    Destination Imagination team Challenges
・    School-age Latin and African dancers from Greg Coles and his Salsa for the Schools program
・    A theater group and other local talents

The SEF mission is to provide funding for projects that further students’ educational experiences in science, mathematics, the arts and humanities. It supports projects that go beyond the scope of those funded by the Salem Public School Department. And it works with the larger community to make schools a true community enterprise by promoting and coordinating volunteerism and participation in the schools.

Learn something and have a lot of fun.

Oct 172013

Oh to be a kid in Salem Ma during Haunted Happenings. We’ve had Family Days on the Common. The Big Draw in front of the Peabody Essex Museum. There is a Carnival on Derby Street. And not a week goes by that one of our Downtown stores or organizations isn’t offering some activity focusing on children.

Just look at what is on this weekend’s horizon.

Sat./Sun. 11am-noon: Professor Wunders’ School of Magic. This is promoted as a fantastic event for families, with fun special effects and audience participation! Learn the basics of magic, and cast exciting spells with Professor Wunders. Every child receives a magic glow ring as a gift before the show. Free pictures with the Wizard on stage after the show. 7 Lynde St (Gallows Hill Museum Theater) For ticket prices: 978-825-0222 or GallowsHillSalem.com/

Sat./Sun. 11am-5pm: Ask a Witch & Make a Wand. You are invited to stop by and make a wand with the Witches Education League. Ask questions about Witches and Witchcraft. This is the 20th anniversary of Ask A Witch. All proceeds go to charities. Artemisia Botanicals, 3 Hawthorne Blvd ArtemisiaBotanicals.com

Kid's Day on the Common

Sat./Sun. 11am-5pm: Salem Common Fun Days. Where else can you find nteractive inflatables, games, entertainers, fun foods, contests and more other than on the Salem Common. Brought to you by New England Parties. A portion of proceeds will benefit non-profit partner Salem Common Neighborhood Association. Salem Common

Sat. Noon-3pm: Annual Children’s Halloween Parade & Costume Party Children ages 3-10 are invited to Salem Common in costume. From there the parade travels down Essex Street to a costume competition in Derby Square. Parade Registration at 11am, parade begins at noon. Costume party from 1pm-3pm at the Phoenix School. Rain location: 89 Margin St. Salem Common PhoenixSchool.org

Sat./Sun. Noon-10pm: Haunted Happenings Carnival Once again Fiesta Shows builds something out of nothing, creating andelight for all the senses for kids of all ages. takes over while visiting Salem and act your age somewhere else! Games, rides and all the fun rolled up in one! Derby St.

Sat.1-3pm: Jedi Knight Training will be held on the Common Children between four and nine years of age will have a chance to interact with a real Jedi Knight. And this interactive performance is geared for both boys and girls! Children are led through a series of challenges including Jedi Force Magic, the Laser Balloon Barrage and Jedi Teamwork culminating in an epic lightsaber duel with the JePumpkinsdi Master himself. There is no admission fee and costumes are encouraged! Salem Common.

One other item to mention is the Sixth Annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Strictly for people on the younger side, it is set up with three age groupings: 6-year old and under, 7-10 year old and 11-14 year old. Their pumpkins will be on display for family, friends and tourists to view during October on Salem Common. Objects, paper, and materials of any kind may be pinned or glued to pumpkins. Participants may also draw or paint on their entries. They are to deliver finished works of art to the Common Oct. 18 from 4-7pm and Oct. 19 from 11am to 2pm. Judging will take place Oct. 20 at 11am. For full rules go to Salem Patch.