Destination Salem Blog

Everything you need to know about celebrating July 4th in Salem

Salem loves Independence Day, and since 2000 we have celebrated it in style with the Hillyer Festival Orchestra and a fantastic fireworks display, all staged over our National Historic Site at Derby Wharf.  It is a glorious event, infused with patriotism and celebration and staged in one of the most historic locations in New England.

Fireworks over Tall Ship Friendship

If you have joined us in the past, you know how well Salem Celebrates the Fourth, but you may not be aware of new safety measures being put in place this year.  If you have not yet experienced the festivities on Derby Wharf, you are in for a treat.  Newbie or seasoned patriots alike will want to read our tips for a safe and happy 4th in Salem.  Click here for the complete safety advisory.

Salem Celebrates the Fourth. Photo: Kate Fox

Arrive Early.  The free (free!) Kids Space, presented by REMIX Church and the Salem YMCA, opens at 4:00 PM.  Magic 106.7 is sending their street team this year, and  the food vendors open at 4:00, as well. 

Bring a blanket, your chairs, and your July 4th picnic, but please pack your things in clear plastic bags.  There will be enhanced security this year, and Salem Police will be conducting random bag checks to ensure all of our safety. 

Plan for traffic and some parking challenges. Beautiful weather and a Saturday holiday will likely combine for our biggest celebration to date.  Derby Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from 4pm - 11pm. (See point 1: Arrive early.)

Hillyer Festival Orchestra

The opening band, LUX, will begin on the Main Stage at 5:00 PM.  The Hillyer Festival Orchestra will begin with our opening ceremonies, including a color guard and the singing of the National Anthem, at 7:15 PM. 

One of our favorite annual features of the program is the Armed Forces Salute, when we as a community have the opportunity to honor and appreciate our active military and veterans. We appreciate their service.  This year will be especially dramatic, as the 104th Fighter Wing from Barnes Air National Guard Unit will be doing a Flyover.

There are restrooms at the National Park, and those will be supplemented with portable toilets.

The Fireworks are scheduled for 9:15 PM, and they will be accompanied by the Hillyer Festival Orchestra.  For all of the people who come out for the fireworks, and  just the fireworks, consider alternate viewing at Shetland Properties or Winter Island Maritime Park.  Shetland is also providing overflow parking. 

The crown on Derby Wharf, July 4, 2013. Photo: Kate Fox

When it's all over, please pick up your trash (take only pictures, leave only footprints, please!) and be patient as you depart the Wharf.  Drive safely, and have a happy weekend!

Posted by Kate on 07/02 at 02:31 PM Permalink

Tour Bakers Island Light Station

Bakers Island Light Station. Photo: Destination Salem

Salem Harbor is home to five lighthouses, three of which are in Salem:  Derby Light is part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site, Pickering Light is on Winter Island, and Bakers Light is on Bakers Island.  The other two lighthouses are Hospital Point in Beverly and Marblehead Light.  You can see all of the lighthouses from boat (Salem's harbor tours are great for that), Pickering Light and Derby Light are accessible by foot, and beginning on July 1 you can tour Bakers Island Light Station on a guided tour provided by the Essex National Heritage Commission.

Bakers Island is a 60 acre island that is primarily occupied by a private summer colony.  The light station occupies 11 acres on the northern side of the island, and tours to Bakers Island Light will include a beach landing, tour around the base of the lighthouse, and return trip to Salem Wharf.  (Note: Tours to Bakers Island Light Station do not include other parts of the island, and tour participants are strictly prohibited from leaving the 11 acres of the light station.)

The view of Boston from Bakers Island

Visit for complete information on visiting Bakers Island Light Station, and click here to purchase tickets, which can also be purchased at the Salem Regional Visitor Center or at the dock.

The Naumkeag makes a beach landing at Bakers Island

Weather permitting, trips will go out at 11 am, 2pm, and 4:30 pm daily. Tickets cost $35 for adults, $32 for children. The Naumkeag holds no more than 17 passengers, so advance tickets are recommended. Access to Bakers Island is via a beach landing on a rocky beach, and passengers must be able to disembark, walk across the beach, and walk up a steep incline to get to the light station. People interested in taking the tour should read all restrictions and the FAQs answered by Essex Heritage prior to purchasing tickets.  

Click here for the history of Bakers Island, as well as additional reading.

Heading back to Salem Wharf

Posted by Kate on 06/30 at 04:22 PM Permalink