Date Of Event: February 6, 2021
Location: Salem, MA
Hours:Visible 24 hours a day, until they Feb 14
Parking: Metered street parking is available and there are two big parking garages on New Liberty St and Congress St
The Downtown Garage (New Liberty St) costs $1.50 per hour.
The Waterfront Garage (Congress St) costs $.75 per hour on weekdays and $1.50 per hour on weekends
Both garages operate from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Sunday through Wednesday and from 7:00 AM to 2:00 AM Thursday through Saturday.
Public Transportation: The MBTA’s Commuter Rail has a stop which deposits its passengers right at Washington St. $15 for a round trip ticket from North Station (fares vary depending upon where you leave from and where you are going)
Universally Accessible: Yes
Dog Friendly: Yes
Summary: Over a dozen ice sculptures located throughout Salem, MA, are illuminated during the evening.
The snow, ice and cold weather didn’t prevent countless revelers from heading to Salem for the annual Salem So Sweet ice sculpture celebration. In fact, it made for the ideal conditions.
For the past 19 years, Salem has been brightening up the winter days with a ice sculpture festival, highlighted by a special illumination show on the day they arrive.
Much like everything this past tear, everything seemed different and not just because of the obvious. The crowds were smaller, there was a less jovial feel to the event and it wasn’t as festive as in the past. While smaller crowds can be a plus for visitors and especially for visitors with a camera, it didn’t feel right. I’d rather wait and even jostle for a photograph and feel a more fun atmosphere. I suppose that is to be expected these days though. The crowds seemed to ebb and then gather sporadically. But it did seem to be a much smaller crowd this year.
The sculptures were delivered around noontime on the 6th. But, the celebration really heats up during the late afternoon and early evening. From 5 pm to 9 pm on Saturday the sculptures were illuminated. They are only lit up for these 4 hours. So it does attract a busy night time crowd. Although, of course, with most bars closed or operating with heavy restrictions, the night crowd was noticeably smaller.
Unfortunately, the ice sculptures are removed on Valentine’s Day, February 14. So you’ll have to wait until next year, when things are expected to be closer to “normal” to see the sculptures in person.
There were also fewer ice sculptures this year than in the past. Last year there were 26 sculptures. This year 17 sculptures adorned the streets of Salem. However, a few of them were either damaged, had melted substantially because of the warmer weather and sunlight during the day or, in one case, completely broken.
But, I did my best to photograph the sculptures that were available.
I have listed the ice sculptures as they are listed on the map at the events’s website: http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/
I have skipped a few that were too damaged or completed destroyed and one I forgot about because it was too far away (# 17 “Bakery”)
1 “Owl And Moon”
This owl, which was located near Witch City Wicks on Essex St probably looked better before it was illuminated since the sun helped to melt it and obscure some of its features. That was a common theme as you will see in some of these photos. It’s a trade off. Either take the photos of the sculptures when they are fresh and haven’t melted and haven’t been mutilated or wait until the are illuminated when they look, in my estimation, much prettier. I may take photos of the sculptures before and after illumination next year to avoid this from happening again.
2 The World
If you attend the ice sculpture festival each year, you may notice some of the same companies or organizations use the same type of sculptures each year like this sculpture also on Essex St. The Journeymasters, a travel agency company, usually has a sculpture of a globe with a star or some other kind of fanciful design around it.
3 “Thanking All Alumni On The Front Lines”
This sculpture, sponsored by Salem State University whose sports teams are named the Vikings, was located on Essex St near the Bewitched statue at Lappin Park. It was dedicated to the front line and first responders who graduated from the university’
4 Kids In Snow
Located in front of Salem Cycle on Washington St, this ice sculpture depicts two children sledding.
This sculpture of a fish was appropriately located next to Turner’s Seafood on Church St
6 Joan Of Arc Sword And Shield
Located outside of Coon’s Card & Gift Shop on Essex, this sculpture was dedicated to Joan of Arc.
This sculpture, located on Front St, had an actual rose near the top of the sculpture. It also accurately depicts how, while the sculpture look even more stunning at night, they can be much more difficult to photograph the darker it gets even with a tripod and careful photoshop editing. It wasn’t even that late either. I think it was close to 6:30 pm when this photo was taken. But it does get dark pretty early in these parts during the winter.
8 Rocking Horse
Nothing anything different or weird about this rocking horse sculpture which was located on Front St? Don’t lose your head trying to think.
Yes, this rocking horse is missing it’s neck and head. Although it was a little warm (by winter in New England standards) and the sun was beating on the sculptures during the day, this sculpture’s head didn’t melt off. It was almost certainly the act of vandalism or damaged during delivery.
11 2021 Picture Frame
Located on Central St, this sculpture was famous for people and sometimes their pets posing in together
12 Gingerbread House
This sculpture, located neat Witch City Mall (formerly Museum Place Mall) on Essex St, looked goof enough to eat.
13 Hello Kitty Phone
Unfortunately, the writing on the wall of the Peabody Essex Museum on Essex St made it a little hard to show all of the features of the cat.
This was the only sculpture that wasn’t illuminated. As you can see the sun had caused it to melt quite a bit.
This sculpture was appropriately located across from the oldest candy company in America (Ye Olde Pepper Company) and in front of the House of The Seven Gables, this sculpture depicts a train with a cargo of candy canes.
There were helpful guides at the event to hep you find the sculptures and distribute maps showing where all the sculptures are located, although most people used the map on their map from the event’s website. Some of the helpers got into the spirit of the event.
Although she didn’t say much, Samantha was also dressed up for the event.
Although they weren’t part of the actual event, there was some other decorations that lit up the event.
This house on Derby St is famous for decorating its property for major holidays and events.
You may notice a little critter walking up the pathway. When I was photographing the decorations I noticed this little animal approaching me. Having seen cats there during previous photo shoots at this location, I thought nothing of it until it got right in front of me. Yeah it’s a skunk. Fortunately there was a fence between us and the skunk didn’t spray. He or she just turned around and walked back the way he or she came from. It was a very close call!
The famous Jerry the dinosaur of Salem.
The city of Salem has also put up year round lighting displays that made the event even more Decorative than usual.
And this business on Derby St got into the Valentine’s Day spirit.
I look forward to photographing this extravaganza next year when things are more “normal.” But hopefully not too normal!
You can view photos from previous Salem’s Too Sweet Events that I have photographed in the past by clicking on the links below:
2017 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2017/02/13/salems-so-sweet-salem-ma/
2018 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2018/02/13/16th-annual-salems-so-sweet-salem-ma/
2019 Salem’s So Sweet: https://newenglandnomad2015.com/2019/02/14/salems-so-sweet-2019-salem-ma/