Friday, October 04, 2013

Salem Says Shutdown Shall Not Slow Down Haunted Happenings

This video is a "VINE" style video which means it is only six seconds long.  It is a kind of video "snapshot" of my impressions of Salem yesterday -- it was clear in just a few seconds walk along Essex Street that October and "Halloween" has come to Salem, despite the Federal Government shut-down.  I hope you enjoy seeing people walking along in their pointy-topped hats, families in all orange tee-shirts, the cornstalks decorating the street poles, and the impromptu visitor desk manned by volunteers from the community.

The post below is from the Destination Salem Blog
Salem, Massachusetts creates a temporary information booth, provides bathrooms for visitors arriving for October’s Haunted Happenings festival

Dozens of volunteers have come together to staff a temporary visitor information booth outside of the National Park Service Salem Regional Visitor Center in Salem, Massachusetts, during the Government Shutdown.  Coming on the eve of Salem’s busiest month when more than 250,000 visitors are expected to arrive for the 32nd annual Salem Haunted Happenings festival, the closing of the visitor center and its public restrooms has required the City to come together and fill the gap left by the government shutdown.

The National Park Service has two locations in Salem: the Regional Visitor Center (2 New Liberty Street) and the Salem Maritime National Historic Site (160 Derby Street).   Over the course of October, the National Park Service Rangers and volunteers can serve more than 125,000 visitors from around the world in the visitor center alone.   Tourism in Salem is estimated to generate more than $100 million during the course of the year, and approximately 25% of that comes during October and the Salem Haunted Happenings festival.

In an attempt to address visitors’ needs typically served by the National Park Service, the city of Salem has provided portable toilets, and a temporary visitor information booth has been organized by Destination Salem, the Salem Office of Tourism & Cultural Affairs, a public-private partnership.  On the first day of the shutdown, the information booth served more than 375 people from around the world, including Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Israel, the UK, Germany, Canada, and throughout the United States.

“We spend all year recommending people set their GPS for 2 New Liberty Street in Salem, park in the garage, and begin their visit at the NPS visitor center,” says Destination Salem executive director Kate Fox, “It isn’t fair to them for their welcome to be a piece of paper saying the National Park is closed.”
While the government shutdown has closed the two National Park sites in Salem, all of the City’s museums, attractions, tours, activities, restaurants, and shops remain open.  An additional information booth, managed by Salem Main Streets will be open at the intersection of Washington Street and Essex Street on October 3 and be open on October weekends.  In addition, the Salem Chamber of Commerce
offices have been serving as a visitor information center in their Essex Street location, and some attractions, including the Salem Witch Museum, are making their restrooms available to the public, not just their paying customers.

“The impact of the closure of our National Park Service Regional Visitor Center and the Salem Maritime National Historical site has presented a logistical obstacle as we start our busiest tourist season,” says Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, “Nevertheless, we are resilient and are working through it pro-actively. Salem is open for business and ready to welcome the thousands of costumed revelers who come to our City every day through the month of October.”

Salem Haunted Happenings kicks off with the Grand Parade on October 3 and continues through Halloween night.  Complete festival information can be found at

If you are a "local" and follower of this blog we would love for you to join other volunteers in giving an hour or so of your time to providing a warm Salem welcome to our visitors.  Call (978) 741-3252 to offer your time.



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