By Bethany Bray
---- — History, food, music, art, sports, senior events and family fun — it’s all on the schedule for Salem Heritage Days.
A tradition for more than 50 years in Salem, the 11 days of events, Aug. 1 through 11, are meant to be a homecoming, a chance for residents to “be a tourist” in their hometown, said Ellen Talkowsky, special projects coordinator for the city.
The schedule grows and changes with every year, and the city is always open to new events, Talkowsky said.
“We want people to enjoy themselves,” she said.
Many of the longtime favorites will be back. The Salem’s Best Pizza contest, scheduled for Monday, Aug. 5, is always a big draw. A variety of local pizza parlors set out tables at Salem Common, and hungry visitors choose the best. There are separate awards for the adults’ pick and the kids’ pick. The food theme continues at the annual Ice Scream Bowl on Tuesday, Aug. 6, another big crowd pleaser, which offers samples from different ice cream parlors.
“What could be bad (about ice cream)? Everybody’s happy on that day,” Talkowsky said.
One of Salem’s signature events, the Witches Cup, will once again be part of Heritage Days, on Salem Common on Wednesday, Aug. 7, with a hundred racers, both men and women, amateurs and pros, speeding around the Common on bicycles. Spectators can watch from the Common, while enjoying craft brews or soft drinks from the hospitality tent.
And, of course, Kids Night, Friday, Aug. 9, will offer its usual array of games, rides, moon bounces, arts and crafts, and other fun, with $3 per child paying for unlimited rides.
Among the new events on this year’s schedule are two road races. The 10K Bridge & Back race, held to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem, will send runners across the Veterans Memorial Bridge from Salem to Beverly, and back again. Participants in the Ladies Night Out 5K on Saturday, Aug. 10, will be handed flowers as they cross a red-carpet finish line, followed by a sampling of chocolates, wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Special events for seniors include an ice cream social, a dinner dance and a barbecue.
Many events are free, and those that aren’t usually have small admission fees. For Salem residents, there are added discounts for The House of the Seven Gables and the Salem Ferry and the usual free admission to the Peabody Essex Museum and the Salem Witch Museum.
A complete schedule of events, including updates and cancellations, is available at www.salem.com under the Events Calendar or City News. Or call Salem City Hall at 978-619-5676.
Bethany Bray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.