Salem Heritage Days

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A long-standing tradition started in 1962 and continuing today, the Salem Heritage Days takes place in the second week of August.

The first Salem Heritage Days on Aug. 9th 1962, sponsored by the Salem Chamber of Commerce, was presented on Riley Plaza. The producer was international fashion authority, Carol Nashe. It consisted of a musical revue, with singers such as Ray Dorey and music from the McDonald Plaid bagpipe band, which piped is way from the Bridge Street overpass to Riley Plaza. The entertainment included sports personalities and a fashion show, ending with a block dance. It drew big crowds, and according to the Salem Evening News, 15,000 people were expected to attend the 1963 event.

The present day Heritage Days events last a full week, including activities such as a Street Fair, Scooper Bowl, Dog Show, music concerts, Kid's night, Chowderfest and a popular Road Race.

The first road race began in 1965 with 100 entrants. Women didn't run the race until 1971. It was inspired by the Olympic's 10,000 meter (6.2 miles) race.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Heritage Days
  • "Gala Extravaganza planned for Riley Plaza Thursday" Salem Evening News, Aug. 7, 1962, p. 1
  • "Expect 15,000 will attend Heritage Festival Tomorrow" Salem Evening News, Aug. 8, 1963. p.1
  • "City ready to kick of Heritage Days festivities" Salem Evening News, Aug. 5, 1999, p. A1
  • "Tuning in to the pyrotechnics: WBACH teaming up with Heritage Days Committee for festival's finale" Salem Evening News, Aug. 11, 1993 p. A1