This is not Fenway Park, and the boys of summer are not emerging from the outfield wall, but this is a centennial celebration nonetheless.
Tonight, more than 300 business and community leaders will pack the atrium at the Peabody Essex Museum to mark the 100th anniversary of the Salem Chamber of Commerce.
They come to honor a business organization formed from the merger of the Salem Merchant Association and the Civic Association.
The Salem Chamber of Commerce and Civics — still its official name — joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1912 and incorporated two years later.
The black-tie-optional event will recognize Salem's top business leaders of 2012 and companies and organizations founded more than a century ago and still in business.
One, Gray Architects, even shares the same 1912 birthday. The firm designed the old Salem police station and courthouse on Central Street, now condominiums, and the famed L Street Bathhouse in South Boston.
Instead of Carl Yastrzemski and Jim Rice, special guests tonight include former chamber executive directors Ellen DiGeronimo and Denise Flynn; a dozen past board presidents; two former mayors, Stanley Usovicz and Tony Salvo; and the current mayor, Kim Driscoll.
The community will be represented by a number of leaders, including North Shore Medical Center President and CEO Robert Norton and Peabody Essex Museum Director and CEO Dan Monroe.
While guests sit down to a dinner of roasted tenderloin and arctic char, images will flash on a screen of Salem's commercial past. It was a time when Essex Street, where the banquet is being held, was the city's beating heart, packed with scores of businesses, some of which have survived and some that have not.
The Daniel Low & Co. building still stands as a landmark on the corner of Essex and Washington streets, but it is home to a restaurant today, not a seller of jewelry and "fancy goods."
Across the street — now a pedestrian mall — was a business with a similar-sounding name but no relation: Salem Lowe, a Chinese restaurant with a large "Chop Suey" sign. It lives on today at Salem Willows.
One hundred years ago, Essex Street was filled with places to eat and buy food, from the Waldorf Lunch and Govoni's, a fruit store, to the Palace of Sweets.
There were familiar names on the street — Kennedy & Co. butter and eggs and Singer Sewing Machine Co. There were at least two five-and-dime stores, Kresge's and F.W. Woolworth.
There were places to drink and institutions that frowned on drinking, like the Finnish Temperance Society.
Salem has changed over the years, as buildings came down and businesses vanished, but the downtown has made a comeback in the past decade, fueled in part by the multimillion-dollar expansion of the Peabody Essex Museum, which has been on Essex Street for nearly two centuries.
Today, most of the once-empty storefronts have been filled with new businesses.
The Salem Chamber of Commerce, another Essex Street tenant, has grown to more than 600 members ... and counting.
Just in time for its birthday.
A partial list of companies doing business in Salem 100 years ago and still doing business here today
Beverly Cooperative Bank — 1888
E.W. Hobbs — 1897
Eastern Bank — 1818
Full-Spychalski Funeral Home — 1892
Gray Architects Inc. — 1912
Hayden Safe & Lock — 1900
Hutchinson Medical — 1908
Levesque Funeral Home — 1910
Holyoke Insurance — 1843
Murphy Funeral Home — 1893
O'Rourke Brothers — 1890
Salem Five Bank — 1855
The Salem News — 1880
Soucy Insurance — 1907
Waters & Brown — 1895
Ye Olde Pepper Company — 1806
Source: Salem Chamber of Commerce