The city will offer a year filled with music, comedy, film, and arts in addition to its month-long Halloween and Holiday Celebrations.
SALEM, Mass.— Salem is gearing up for a fun-filled 2023 with a lineup of events that offer historical, artistic, and interactive activities. Embracing chocolate and ice sculptures during the cold winter months, discovering ancestral connections to the city, and inviting people to dance in the street during the Arts Festival are only a sample of what Salem has in store.
“Salem offers rich and diverse programming throughout the year,” said Kate Fox, Executive Director of Destination Salem. “Whether you want to research genealogy, celebrate the arts, dive into a documentary film, or chill out at the Ice Cream Bowl, there is something for all ages and interests.”
Below is the schedule of events:
Salem Comedy & Spirits Festival
Thursday, January 26 through Saturday, January 28
Lift your spirits and laugh the cold away with this three-day celebration of comedy in historic Salem. Featuring top local and national performing comedians, locally crafted spirits and beer, and related special events at a variety of renowned Salem venues.
21st Annual Salem’s So Sweet
Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Salem hosts its sweetest event of the year. Salem’s So Sweet is a decadent tradition of delectable chocolate, sparkling ice sculptures, and Valentine’s Day shopping. A new kickoff party will take place on Friday evening.
Salem Film Fest
Thursday, March 23 through Sunday, April 2
The largest all-documentary film festival in Massachusetts returns to Salem for its 16th season. For 10 days, attendees can view more than 30 films from around the world and engage with visiting filmmakers at screenings, parties, and forums. Each year, Salem Film Fest also showcases a variety of local musicians and bands.
Salem Ancestry Days
Friday, April 21 through Monday, April 24
Residents and visitors are invited to celebrate their ancestral and immigrant connections to Salem. The weekend will feature lectures, tours, research opportunities, and information on the people who connect us all to Salem.
Anniversary of the First Muster of the National Guard
Saturday, April 22
A grand commemoration of the anniversary of the country’s first muster in 1637 in Salem Massachusetts. Participants typically include the Massachusetts National Guard, Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, Salem Trayned Band, 2nd Corpos Veterans Group, and historic military companies.
Salem Arts Festival
Friday, June 2 through Sunday, June 4
The Salem Arts Festival celebrates the arts in all its forms: painting, photography, sculpture, installation, dance, music, writing, film, new media, performance, theater, poetry, culinary, visual art, and more. The 2023 festival will consist of a gallery of juried artists’ work, performances in an outdoor stage venue, indoor performances, a street fair, and opportunities for the community to actively participate in the arts. Individuals are welcome to contribute at multiple venues and events.
Salem Farmers’ Market
Thursdays, June 8 through October 12
The Salem Farmers’ Market is a tradition that dates back to 1634. At its peak, around 1930 more than 40 vendors sold goods in collapsible wooden stalls and an estimated 10,000 people visited the market on a single Saturday. In the early 1970s, the market ended, and the Salem Redevelopment Authority redesigned the square into what we now know as Derby Square. The Salem Farmers Market features local farms every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
North Shore Pride Parade and Festival
Saturday, June 24
A day to celebrate Pride with local businesses, faith groups, and community organizations at the fifth annual North Shore Pride Parade and Festival. All are welcome to attend any activity during the day-long event celebrating unity in the community which includes the North Shore Pride Parade and Festival, North Shore Pride Afterparty, North Shore Pride Drag Brunch, and North Shore Pride Interfaith service.
Salem Celebrates the 4th!
Tuesday, July 4
Bring your beach blankets and folding chairs to enjoy the 42-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra on Derby Wharf at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site for a grand celebration of our nation’s Independence Day. Featuring a Pops concert, a Kid Space play area, and fireworks launched over Salem Harbor, this is a quintessential celebration of the 4th of July. www.Salem.com
Salem Heritage Days
Monday, August 7 through Sunday, August 13
Celebrate the past and the present during the annual Salem Heritage Days. Featuring food, fun, and activities for all ages, highlights include National Night Out, Ice Cream Bowl, live music, outdoor films, and more.
Preservation in a Changing Climate
Thursday, September 21
This annual conference recognizes the ongoing impacts of climate change on historic resources and the need for action to protect these irreplaceable assets. The City of Salem and the Salem Preservation Partners joined together in 2021 to create this annual conference.
Salem Food Truck and Craft Beer Festival
Saturday, September 23 and Sunday, September 24
Food Truck Festivals of America returns to Salem with the ultimate food truck experience for a two-day festival that will feature some of the area’s most popular food trucks. The vendors will be dishing out fan favorites as well as dozens of regional and national craft
Salem Haunted Happenings
Sunday, October 1 through Tuesday, October 31
An internationally renowned celebration of Halloween and fall in New England. What started as a Saturday in 1982 has grown to become the largest celebration of Halloween in the world. Events include the Grand Parade, Howl-o-Ween Pet Parade, Haunted Happenings Marketplace throughout the Downtown and the annual Salem Chamber Biz Baz on the Salem Common, costume balls, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music, and chilling theatrical presentations.
Salem Holiday Happenings
Friday, November 24 through Monday, January 1, 2024
Celebrate, shop, and dine in Salem during the holiday season. Festival highlights include Historic Salem, Inc.’s annual Christmas in Salem Historic House Tour and Santa’s arrival atop the Hawthorne Hotel. And don’t miss the annual Launch! on New Year’s Eve, featuring an early family-friendly event. These events are just a sampling of the programming that takes place in Salem each year. In addition to these annual events and incredible exhibitions, programming at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem State University, the House of the Seven Gables, Historic New England’s Phillips House, and the many restaurants and bars guarantee a different experience for every visit.
Visit www.Salem.org or reach out to Destination Salem any time to find more information on everything happening in Salem, Massachusetts. @destsalem
About Salem, Massachusetts
Salem is a destination recognized worldwide for its rich history, including the tragic Salem Witch Trials of 1692, the glorious maritime era that left its indelible mark on Salem through architecture, museums, and artifacts, and for its month-long celebration of Halloween. Approximately 1.8 million people visit Salem annually, generating nearly $140 million in tourism spending and supporting 1,000 jobs.
About Destination Salem
As the destination marketing organization for the City of Salem, Destination Salem cooperatively markets Salem as one of Massachusetts’ best destinations for families, couples, and domestic and international travelers who are seeking an authentic New England experience, cultural enrichment, American history, fine dining, unique shopping, and fun. For more information, visit Salem.org.
Image credit: Salem Arts Festival, Photo by Creative Collective.
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