Tag Archives: Salem

Creepy Clown & Devil’s Chase Race 2022

Date Of Event: October 22, 2022

Location: Salem, MA

Clowns, devils and zombies oh my! These were just a few of the costumes people wore to the annual Creepy Clown and Devil’s Chase road race at Salem Willows last weekend.

Over 1,000 runners participated in the annual race. All participants were given these cool medals while the top performers were given additional awards,

The clowns started their 3.33 mile race first. While costumes were not required, they were encouraged.

One of the things I noticed is how many runners were smiling and having fun while they were running. As a runner I can say I don’t recall smiling or enjoying myself while running. Who knew running could be so much fun

Living up to the name of the race, some of the devils were dressed to scare for their 6.66 mile race!

Not all of the costumes were scary though. For instance, there were these cute participants

The spectators also dressed up and rooted for their favorite runners.

There were also some inspiring participants in the race this year.

Team Hoyt ran in the event

And a visually impaired runner also completed the race


Lady Of Salem 2022 (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: Sept 2022

Locations: Downtown Salem, MA (Essex St, Washington St and Derby St)

Hours: Accessible everyday, all day

Cost: Free

Parking: There are parking garages at 1 New Liberty St and Congress St and other parking lots (parking is very limited during the month of October)

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: 26 figureheads have been placed around the downtown Salem MA area

Websites

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100064633061908

There are a lot more ladies these days in Salem, MA. Well, at least 26 more.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the artful Lady Of Salem the 26 ladies, shaped in the design of figureheads are displayed throughout the downtown area, They celebrate the “Golden Age Of Sail.”

So what is a figurehead and what do they symbolize? Figureheads are used to identify the ship in a non-literate society. They are carved from wood and placed at the bow of the ship. Figureheads were often thought to ward off evil spirits and give the crew good fortune. Since they are located at the front of the ship, they were considered the “eyes of the ship” and they were said to guide the captain and crew into safe harbor. Unlike the figureheads you will find on ships, these Ladies are 33’ tall and made out of light weight polyurethane foam molded form

Most of the Ladies can be found on light posts and on storefronts on Essex St. Only 3 of the 26 figureheads are located off Essex St

I am posting the Ladies in the order they are listed on the website listed above with the name of the artist and a little info about each one and information about what the figurehead may represent

Depending on where you are coming from, it may not be the best or easiest way for you to access them. There is no real order to view. View them at your leisure and convenience! One figurehead is located in the Old Salem Town Hall (better known for being one of the filming locations of Hocus Pocus).

At the bottom of the post I have included a map and list of the where the figureheads are located.

1 “DIY Shipbuilding Lady” – Keri May Killam

231 Essex St/Washington St (near Rockafellas)

As you will see in some of the other figureheads, some of the figureheads have themes and names, often based on the sponsor or artist of the figurehead. Since The Home Depot sponsored this figurehead you may noticed hardware related items on the board of the figurehead. The figurehead is also a nod to the “do it yourself” craftsmanship involved in building these vessels the figureheads were attached to. In colonial and post-colonial times, the East Coast had an abundant supply of Eastern Red-cedar, White Pine and a variety of Spruce and Oak trees which were used to build the vessels of Salem and the surrounding areas.

2 “West India Trade Lady” – YMCA Girls Today

228 Essex St

This figurehead is a symbol of the trade which existed in Salem in the Revolutionary and post Revolutionary times. Salem, at the time, was considered a hub for trade. In fact, arguably the first known millionaire in the United States was a merchant named Elias Hasket Derby, a merchant who made much of his money through trade. Ships would travel from Salem to the West Indies (Caribbean Islands), Barbados, and Jamaica with a cargo of dried codfish, haddock, mackerel, lumber, bay berry candles, and occasionally cows. They traded with the islanders for molasses, sugar, cotton, rum and slaves who were
bought to work as field hands and domestics.

On a sad note, at least 18 Salem vessels were known to have transported slaves from Africa to America and the Caribbean

3 “Mermaid Lady” – Jeanne Pare Muse

230 Essex St

Evident by the various jewels, grass and the tail shape on the board, this figurehead has both the shape of a mermaid and the jewels you would find at the sponsor of the figurehead (Treasures Over Time). Mermaids were said to snare sailors with their beautiful appearance and even more beautiful voices. They were said to serenade sailors, eventually dragging them down to the bottom of the ocean

4 “Day Of The Dead Lady” Cynthia Mikula Smiszek

213 Essex St (near Wicked Good Books)

A tribute to the Day Of The Dead holiday, this figurehead displays not only the face painting that is associated with the day, it also has related symbols on the board. It is also a stark reminder of the risks of life at sea. In 1738 alone, over 400 people from Salem had died at sea because of disease, drowning, cannibalism and other dangers of life at sea.

5. “West India Trade Lady” – Shelia Farren Billings

215 Essex St

Believe it or not, at one time after the the Revolutionary War, there were almost 50 wharves. While many of the cargo of these vessels included rum, cotton, sugar and fish, some ships also brought slaves from Africa and the Caribbean. In the 1800s, Salem’s population of 10,000 included 200 African descendants.

6 “Philanthropic Lady” – Shelia Farren Billings

216 Essex St

This figurehead is a tribute to Captain John Bertram who was one of Salem’s wealthiest residents and philanthropist. In addition to being involved in the sea trade, he also managed several railroads and made his riches in the California Gold Rush. He helped fund Salem Hospital (1873), the home for Aged Men, the home for Aged Women and the Children’s Friend Society. Some of these organizations are still active today.

7 “Salem Museum Lady” – Mary Ellen Smiley

Inside the Old Town Hall vestibule (32 Derby Square)

Salem is known for its museums and landmarks. So it comes to no surprise there would be a figurehead bearing that name. The Town Hall where this figurehead is located may be best known for being one of the filming locations for the first Hocus Pocus movie. It was designed by the famous architect Charles Bulfinch. It is the earliest surviving municipal structure in Salem, MA, dating back to 1816 or 1817.

Although I could not gain entry to photograph this figurehead, I was able to copy and paste this photo I took of it in 2018

8 “Lady of Means” – Karen La Mesa/Tina Armstrong

210 Essex St

This figurehead has a connection to the sponsor Salem Five. But the coins which are evident along the board are also a reminder of the substantial trade Salem made with other countries and the origin of the sponsor of this figurehead

. As a result of the large sums of money generated from the overseas trade, particularly China, the Federalist Party decided to create banks in order to protect their investments. The original banks were named Salem Bank and Old Essex Bank. Eventually, the Nickel Bank (now named Salem Five) was established in 1855.

9 “Lady Hospitality” – Judith Pabich

209 Essex St

The Salem Inn, the sponsor of this figurehead, was established in 1834. This figurehead is a tribute to the Inn and the hospitality of the area.

10 “Sea Shell Lady” – Mary Ellen Halliwell

195 Essex St (taken down for maintenance)

Sailors were said to send “Sailor’s Valentines” to loved ones. The shells that were used to adorn the octagonal hinged wooden boxes can be seen on the board of this figurehead. In realty, historians now believe these boxes were made by women on the West Indian Island of Barbados and purchased by men while they were in port. Caribbean shells imported from Indonesia were used to make these elaborate heart shaped designs and patterns.

11 “Lady Bernadette – China Trade Lady” – Cynthia Mikula Smiszek

196 Essex St

This figurehead exhibits the importance of trade between China and Asia. In 1784 Elias Hasket Derby sent his ship “Grand Turk” to Canton, China with a cargo of tobacco, fish oil, sugar and earthenware. In return, the “Grand Turk” brought back furniture, silk, nankeen cloth and porcelain.

12 Quaker Lady” – Kenneth Glover

190 Essex St

In addition to settling in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Quakers also settled in Salem, MA. The Quakers, who were also known as “The Society of Friends”, controlled shipping and trade on both sides of the Atlantic during the 1770s. There is also a connection to the witch hysteria which would plague Salem years later. One story claims that in 1656, two Quakers were found on a ship landing in Salem. After the town fathers inspected them for “Witch Marks” and none were found they were swiftly deported.

13 “I Am No Witch” – Kenneth Glover

137 Essex St (Armory Park)

This figurehead is a tribute to Lady Bridget Bishop by Kenneth Glover. After being missing for some time, it is now located in front of the Salem Armory Visitor Center on Essex Street. Bridget Bishop was a tavern keeper who was executed in 1692 during the Salem Witch Trials. The name of the figurehead is taken from a direct quote from Bridget Bishop refuting the charges of witchcraft against her.

14 ”Ladies of Good Fortune” – Lady Shalimar

188 Essex St

15 182 Essex St

Located near some of the psychics and palmists, these figureheads are a reminder of the superstitions and predictors of the risks at sea. Sailors avoided sailing on Fridays, they boarded with their right foot and having women on board was considered “bad luck.” This lady in these different different dresses appears to be a “reader” or someone who could predict some of these risks.

16 “Sailor Lady: Life at Sea” – Palmer’s Cove Yacht Club, John Devine

181 Essex St

A sailors job was never done. Traveling along the seas was risky hard work. From raising masts to defending from other sailors or pirates, there were many tasks and risks on the job. The Palmer’s Cove Yacht Club is sure to have experienced some of these tasks and risks, minus the pirates.

17 “Merchant Lady MaryKate” – MaryKate Ross

181 Essex St (Witch Tees storefront window)

This figurehead, appropriately placed inside a storefront, is a tribute to the merchants of Salem, specifically John Cabot and Elias Hasket Derby, who are attributed with launching Salem’s “Golden Age Of Sail” with their vessel “The Buccaneer” in 1783. Cabot and Hasket sailed to several Baltic ports and are said to be the first ship to trade with the Russian empire in St Petersburg. Through this risky trade that others were afraid to make, they made huge profit margins

18 “Lady Wendlyn” – The Torch Club

181 Essex St

This figurehead is meant to show the diversity of both the diversity of the people of the area as well as the diversity of the ancestors of the area. Despite our differences, we are all “Irish, Dominican, Panamanian, Haitian, English and Danish” according to the Torch Club

19 “Deep Blue Mystery Girl” – Bates Elementary School, 5th Grade
Art Class

176 Essex St

The Deep Blue Mystery Girl, was made by the Bates Elementary School 5th grade class. I’m sure with a little help from their teacher. The figurehead is an homage to the seas and more accurately the sea monsters that were once thought to inhabit the waters the sailors sailed in. Bass and other fish became a major source of food and trade for these sailors. Not only did sailors see whales, a variety of fish and maybe even a few monsters. Of course some of the monsters they saw were often times just sharks, octopus and other sea critters. Some of them at least.

20 “Lady Liberty” – Nicko Papadimitrion

Witch City Mall entrance (186-3 Essex St)

Fittingly, the figurehead for “Lady Liberty” depicts the Statue Of Liberty with an I love Pizza shirt. If you look closely at the board of the figurehead you may see a popular landmark of NY as well as a plane flying an advertisement for the pizzeria. If you look closely at the building, you may also see a famous movie character near the building. New York was, and still is, an important hub for trade and tourism. And I’m sure many of the ships from the 18th and 19th century had figureheads on them.

21 “Grog Shoppe Lady” – Sheila Farren Billings

Village Tavern (168 Essex St)

Located above the entrance to the Village Tavern the Grog Shoppe Lady figurehead is a reference to the Grog, an alcoholic beverage originally made from water and rum. I know what you’re thinking. “Yum!” Taverns, as you can imagine, were a staple of most ports where Grog was served. The draft taps along the board of the figurehead is a fitting representation of the Village Tavern, the sponsor of the figurehead. And, no, I don’t think they serve Grog.

22 “Banking and Commerce Lady” – Amberlyn Narvie

168 Essex St (near fountain)

The “Banking and Commerce Lady” is representative of the Pierce & Waite Mercantile firm. Aaron Waite and Jerathmiel Peirce were the owners of the original Friendship vessel, a replica of which you can usually find docked at Derby Wharf. The coins placed upon the board are no doubt a tribute to the riches both men made as well as to the Beverly Cooperative Bank, the sponsor of the figurehead.

23 “Naumkeag Woman” – Dori Phillips

168 Essex St

Before it was known as Salem, it was known as “Naumkeag” (“still water dividing the bay” or “the fishing grounds”). Naumkeag also refers to an independent tribe in the Massachusetts confederacy of tribes. There are also some herbs or spices scattered along the board of the figurehead, certainly a tip of the hat to the sponsor of the figurehead (Scratch Kitchen).

24 “Antique Curiosity Shoppe Lady” – Alicia Irick Cohen

In front of Peabody Essex Museum (161 Essex St)

This figurehead is a throwback to when figureheads from the early 1800s and earlier were often carved from wood and placed at the bow of the ship. As you may notice, these figureheads, sometimes weighing over several tons, were heavy and would slow down the ships. So ship builders and their crews would opt for smaller, lighter figureheads.

25 East India Peacock Lady – Jeanne Pare Muse

In front of Peabody Essex Museum (161 Essex St)

If you look closely at this figurehead you may notice peacock feathers on the board and jewels on the lady.

Captains of ship boats in the early 1800s were expected to donate curious items they found during their trading expeditions. Some of these “curiosities” were shrunken heads, nose flutes, jewels and exotic shells. While I do see some exotic items on the lady, I think she left her shrunken heads at home.

Peacocks often roamed the country side of India, one of our trade partners at the time. In fact, they were so common and majestic they became the nation’s official bird. The peacock is associated with the Hindu God, Lakshmi, symbolizing patience. kindness, compassion and good luck

26 “Scarlet Letter Lady of Salem” – Jeanne Pare Muse

155 Derby St

One of Salem’s most famous residents was a writer you may have heard of. But, Nathaniel Hawthorne was not only a prolific writer. He was also a surveyor of revenue at the Custom House in Salem. This particular figurehead is a tribute to one of his greatest works.

These figureheads are going to be up until the middle of October. And, don’t forget to vote for your favorite figurehead at their Facebook page

Dogs also like the figureheads. I found this cute dog with some very big ears during my visit to the figureheads.

I would like to thank the Lady Of Salem Maritime Exhibition organizers for all their help, especially by providing photos of a few figureheads I could not find on my own and providing me with answers and info regarding this exhibit.


The Blue Trees (Salem, MA)

Date Of Visit: August 23, 2022

Location: Salem, MA

Cost: Free

Parking: street parking and garage parking is available near the exhibit

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: The Blue Trees, an outdoor art exhibit, is adding some color to the streets of Salem, MA

If you have been seeing blue trees in the Salem (MA) area, don’t buy new glasses or make an appointment to see your eye doctor. You’re not seeing things. The trees in Salem have turned blue. At least some of them have.

The Blue Trees exhibit is the brainchild of Konstantin Dimopoulos, a conceptual and social artist originally from Port Said, Egypt. The Blue Trees are meant to draw attention to the deforestation happening around the globe. The environmentally safe watercolor used on the trees is temporary and is harmless to the trees, surrounding environment, people, waterways and wildlife. It will be washed away with the rain and other weather conditions. There are currently 27 places to see these blue trees including Houston, Sacramento, Vancouver, Singapore, Germany, Australia and, of course, Salem.

The trees were painted in time for Earth Day of this year and I was fortunate enough to see one of the painters at work.

The trees, which are part of the Peabody Essex Museum’s exhibit, can be found by the museum on Essex St.


2021 Devil’s Dash/Creepy Clown Race (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 23, 2021

Location: Fort Ave, Salem, MA

Summary: Runners from all over the region competed in the 6.66 mile Devil’s Dash or the 3.33 mile Creepy Clown race.

It’s that time of the year again in Salem, MA.

Devils, clowns and other scary characters came together in Salem MA last weekend to compete in the Devil’s Dash/Creepy Clown race.

The race started with the Creepy Clown 3.33 mile race. The Devil’s Dash race started shortly after the clowns race began. The Devil’s Dash was a hellish 6.66 miles. Although it wasn’t required, participants were, of course, encouraged to wear a costume. And many of the runners got into the spirit of the event!

I’m still confounded how people can smile while they’re running. That, to me, is the truly creepy part of the race.

People of all ages could participate in the race. But, the little runners are always the most fun to photograph

It’s also fun to see families or groups of people running together. I was lucky to see some

The race wasn’t just for people. Pets could also participate in the race. Or, they could root on their favorite runners.

Although the race was a rimed event with standings, all of the participants were winners in my book. In fact, all of the participants walked (or ran) away with a medal for their efforts.


2021 Salem Zombie Walk (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 2, 2021 (held annually the first weekend of October)

Location: Salem, MA (about 45 mins northeast of Boston, MA and 1 hour southeast of Concord, NH)

Summary: An assortment of zombies, mad scientists and other costumed revelers roamed the streets of Salem, MA in the annual Salem Zombie Walk

The annual Salem Zombie Walk in Salem, MA, has quickly become one of the most popular events in October.

There were young zombies, which are both the creepiest and cutest for me to see!

Zombie families (one of my favorites)

A zombie dog

and whatever this lady is holding

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Although the event is called the “zombie walk”, there weren’t just zombies at the event. There were werewolves and mad doctors among other spooky characters

The zombies began their walk at Salem Commons in Washington Square. They continued throughout the heart of downtown Salem, shrieking, gyrating and moaning the entire way.

It’s always nice to see familiar, friendly faces at these events. Throughout the years, I have attended and posted blogs about the past few zombie walks and I often see familiar faces there. This zombie is a regular at the yearly events and he always has a monster with him. I hope to see him and all the other zombies next year!


2021 Salem’s So Sweet (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: February 6, 2021

Location: Salem, MA

Hours:Visible 24 hours a day, until they Feb 14

Cost: Free

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)

MBTA Commuter Rail

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary: Over a dozen ice sculptures located throughout Salem, MA, are illuminated during the evening.

Website: http://salemmainstreets.org/festivals/salem-so-sweet/

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.

5 Fish

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.

7 Sweets

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.

15 Sailboat

This was the only sculpture that wasn’t illuminated. As you can see the sun had caused it to melt quite a bit.

16 Candy

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/


Wizzil Story Walk (Salem Commons, Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: March 28, 2020

Location: Salem, Commons, Washington Square, Salem, MA

Universally Accessible: Yes

Dog Friendly: Yes

Summary, 18 placards tell the story of Wizzil, a horrible hag who wants to add some excitement to her life.  Without giving away too many spoilers, her parrot suggests she amuse herself by making someone else suffer.  Hilarity ensues.

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It definitely seems like this whole “socially distancing” thing is working.  During my quick, socially distanced visit to Salem, MA, there was hardly a soul in the area.  In fact, many people were probably curled up with a book.

Salem Public Library has brought the best of both worlds to the Salem Commons.  The Storywalk, which was based on the children’s book Wizzil by William Steig and illustrated by Quentin Blake, was created so that families could enjoy the outdoors while still reading and laughing as a family.

The 18 signs are placed within the socially distanced spaces recommended by the government.  They were prepared by the Children’s Room staff at the Salem Public Library.

If you do go, there are some ground rules.  First, you must give each visitor a 6 foot zone of space for social distancing purposes.  Visitors are also discouraged from touching the signs.

You can read the story below.  I have I have posted the photos of the placards in the order of how they were placed at the common.  You may have to expand the screen to read the lettering since it is so small.  Or, better yet, go to the Commons and read it for yourself!

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Below are some photos of Salem Saturday morning.  It was very desolate and I was half expecting a zombie or some other undead being to come around one of the corners.  I was in Salem after all.  It was just me and this very hungry squirrel.

 

 


2019 Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade And Costume Contest

 

Date Of Event: October 12, 2019

Location: Pickering Wharf,  Salem Maritime Museum, 160 Derby St, Salem MA

Summary: over 100 pets met up at the Salem Maritime Museum to show off their costumes and march in the Howl-O-Ween pet parade.

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Halloween isn’t just for humans.  The annual Howl-O-Ween pet parade showed off over 100 of these Halloween pet revelers.

Although I wasn’t able to get all of the participants names and breeds.  Below is a sample of some of the participants:

Pepper, Millie, Hobs and Rocky (all chihuahuas) were the three Musketeers and fun sized Musketeer.

Sadie, dressed as Jason Doghees I mean Vorhees, is a 12 year old Peekapoo.

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Lucy, 1 year old Puggle, was a roaring lion.  Lucy is a rescue from the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA.  She was saved from one of the storms that recently hit Florida.

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Ralph, a Jack Russell and Mini Pinscher rescue, was a cute little pineapple.

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Triskit, a 3 year old chihuahua, was a parrot.

Buddy (on the left), a 8 year old chihuahua, was a lumberjack.  Pixie, dressed as Babe The Blue Ox (on the right), is a 6 year old chihuahua.

 

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One year old Penny Liu was dressed as a Chinese Mandarin.

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Calypso was an angel.

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Winston, a 5 year old Corgi, was dressed as Paddington.

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Reecey, a 13 year old half border, half husky mix, was dressed as a mutant ninja turtle.

 

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Olive, a 4 year old feist mix, was a bumble bee.

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Ziggy was dressed as Mr. Spock.  Live long and prosper Ziggy!

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Oso had a very special delivery for everyone!

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Jasper, a 2 and a half year old mixed breed, was a zebra.

“Sweep the leg!”  Dexter, dressed as Johnny from Cobra Kai and Oliver, dressed as “Daniel son” from Miyagi-Do.  They are both 4 year old French Bulldogs.

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Hazel (on the left) was dressed as a peacock.  Molly (on the right) was dressed as Cleopatra.

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Grayson was dressed as Lucy.

 

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Twix, the cowgirl, is an 11 month old Dalmatian.

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Opal, a 9 month old husky mix, was dressed as Hermione Granger.
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Benji, 10 years old, was dressed as Batman.

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Remus, a 4 month old mixed Lab, was dressed as Luigi.  If you watch the video of the pet parade below you may see his mom and dad dressed as Mario and the Princess from Super Mario World.

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Henry, a 2 year old, King Charles Cavalier, was dressed as a Cavalier.

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Seba the lion is a 4 year old Lab.

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The acrobatic Tilda was dressed as a ballerina.

Nissan (on the left) was dressed as Princess Leia.  Sirius (on the right) was dressed as Yoda.  They are both terrier mix shelter dogs.

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Hunter, a 5 year old rescue lab, was dressed as a skunk.

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Sequoia, a 3 year old cattle mix, was dressed as a blowfish.

The pet parents also got into the spirit of the event.

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Daisy and her mom were dressed as the Little Mermaid and Ursula.

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Nala and her family were the “udderly spectacular” cow family.

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Walt was dressed as Flounder with the Little Mermaid.

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Dumbo was dressed as an alligator.

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Brady and the rest of the family were dressed as Abu with Aladdin and Family

Not all of the pets at the parade were dogs, though.

There was this chicken.

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There were also these two very brave cats.

Scout was dressed as Peter Pan’s shadow.

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and this cat/lion hybrid!

Strider, a 10 year old fancy bearded dragon, was dressed as a clarinet.

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Unfortunately, I was unable to get the names of these cute pets below.

Although they looked great and the main point of the event was to have fun.  There were awards for best overall costume, most creative and the best costume with people.  Some of the winners of the costume contest were:

Ruby the Racehorse, a 2 year old pointer mix, won for best pet with humans.

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Adelphie, dressed as a time traveler’s backpack, won for most creative.

Butterscotch, dressed as spaghetti and meatballs, also won a pet with humans award. It wasn’t until later when they received their award did I notice the Lady and the Tramp tie in.

Nellie, dressed as a pin cushion, won for best overall costume.

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Last, but certainly not least, Tilda, 5 years old, was the Grand Marshall of the event!

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There was also a pet parade where all of the contestants could show off their costumes.  All of the more than 100 contestants and their parents or friends marched in the parade.


“Haunted Happenings” Grand Parade (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: October 3, 2019 (held annually the first week of October)

Location: Downtown Salem (Congress St, Derby St, Front St, Washington St, Essex St, Salem Common)

Summary: Salem’s Chamber Of Commerce kicked off the month long “Haunted Happenings” celebration for the month of October. Scores of heroes, monsters and kids came together to celebrate and march!

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Clowns, super heroes and super villians were only a few of the characters who marched the 24th annual “Haunted Happenings” parade last Thursday night to kick off Salem’s month-long “Haunted Happenings” celebration.

The theme of this year’s parade was “The Future Is Ours” and some of the participants used futuristic props to fit into the theme of the parade.  These park rangers, for instance, had a futuristic robot ranger in the parade!

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What would a Halloween parade be without candy?

Well, since candy tossing is not permitted, some of the participants ran over to the onlookers with fistfuls of goodies.

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What always entertains me about the Haunted Happenings parade is the unexpected and spontaneous things some of the marchers will do (more on this later).

For instance, who needs feet to walk?  These kids used an unorthodox method of marching.

 

Some of the marchers chose to drive in the parade.  The parade participants arrived in a variety of vehicles, or, er, caskets,

 

Some of the more popular people in the parade weren’t the participants.  These motorcycle cops slowed down to share some high fives with their fans.

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Holy Bat caves!  Where was Robin?

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Shiver me timbers, pirates and other characters were also there.

 

The usual suspects, Jason, Michael, Pennywise and Frankenstein’s monster were all their.  It’s a wonder we all made it out unscathed!

 

But, these guys and ladies were there to protect everyone!

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Not all of the marchers were dangerous or scary, though.  Mermaids, poets and this nice gentleman who had “lotion in his basket” were also there.  Ok, maybe the last guy wasn’t so nice.

 

Of course, there also were bands, baton twirlers and flag wavers.

 

The best part of the parade is seeing how much fun the kids are having.  In fact, it had some of them jumping for joy.

 

Just to preface this photograph, I will often bend down, kneel or squat down low when I photograph subjects or events, especially little subjects, so I can be at eye level when I photograph them.  So, I was photographing the parade, minding my own business when someone tapped me on the shoulder and got down to my eye level!  It was both unexpected and hilarious!

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Not all of the great costumes were worn by the people in the parade, though.  All of these people got into the spirit of the parade!  Or, they may just regularly dress this way.  I don’t judge!

 

Funny story.  I saw this cute unidog or dogicorn while I was walking to the parade.  Well, it turns out I had actually photographed her at the parade last year as well.  Ginger the Goldendoodle is 2 years old.  I look forward to photographing you next year and for many more years to come, Ginger!

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This was her costume last year!

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This is the first time I used a dedicated flash (a flash that is not a pop up flash and not built into the camera) during night time photography.  Hard to believe since I have been doing this photography thing for a while now.  But most of my photography is done during the early morning, daytime or sunset hours.  This is something of a common misconception though.  I would later learn in my research that you can and in some instances should use a flash during daytime hours and on sunny days.  But, in the past, I was so unsure and unfamiliar with night time photography settings, I would often switch to video when I thought it got too dark to photograph images (this is what I did at last year’s Halloween parade).

I think you can see the difference a speed lite can make (I didn’t use the flash for all of my night time photographs because some subjects weer near light sources when I shot them and I did want to save as much of my battery life for my flash as they can often use a lot of power). Plus, the dark, night time feel can be a good look for photos, especially for a Halloween parade shoot.  I think you may be able to tell which photos I took with the flash and without based on the lighting in the photos.

I have learned a great deal about flash photography and the best teaching tool is experience.  Although I am still learning, one tip for a shoot like this is to never point the flash directly at your subject.  Try tilting the flash upward or at an angle, particularly when shooting outdoors.  I am using the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI and I use the ETTL (Evaluative Through-The-Lens) mode which is similar to using the Automatic setting on your camera.  The autoflash, is the mode where the camera uses information obtained through the lens (“TTL”) to calculate how much light the flash needs to emit for the appropriate brightness. The camera then automatically sets the flash output accordingly.  My next goal is to learn how to use the manual features to maximize the effect of my speed lite.

Don’t forget to check out my Facebook page to see additional photos I have taken  from all over New England here: Facebook page.


2019 Vintage Lawn Party (Salem, MA)

Date Of Event: September 8, 2019

Location: Salem Commons, Washington Square, Salem, MA

Highlights: vintage party, swing dancing,swing music,lawn games

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Party goers of all ages and backgrounds gathered together earlier this month at the annual Vintage Law Party which celebrated the early 1900’s.

Although not required, vintage outfits were encouraged and many people came out in the vintage best.

 

Dance classes were offered by North Shore Swing.

 

The lessons must have worked because the dance floor was ablaze with swing dancers.  Eat your heart out, Gene Kelly.

 

Music was provided by Dan Gabel’s High Society Orchestra

 

And, of course, Patty supplied the vocals.

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There were also lawn games such as badminton, croquet and bocce.  There was also a referee for the croquet tournament

 

Bocce can be a difficult game with lots of lots of twists and turns.  These reaction shots how how a game can go in many different directions very quickly!

 

Ted and Jenna were the winners of the  Witch’s Wicket Croquet Tournament.

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The one photography tip I would give for this post is not about technique nor is it about equipment or anything photography related.  My tip is to be bold (which is good advice for just about any aspect of our lives) and not be shy.  Despite my photos of people and all of the wonderful people I have met, I’m not generally an overly social person.  So, it’s not my nature to go up to complete strangers and ask for their photograph. In fact, I think I missed a few good photo opportunities in the past because of my shyness.  Some people may find that hard to believe now.

I also think photography can be a solitary activity.  All you need is your camera.  But, my camera has helped me meet so many nice people I would never have met if I didn’t have a camera with me.  So, don’t be too shy or worry what somewhat might say if you ask to take their photo.  In my experience, they’ll most likely say “yes” or at least be flattered.  You may make their day!  The upside far outweighs the downside.  The worst they will say is “no” and they have every right to say that. It’s not personal.  Besides, it’s a good way to connect with someone.  You may not just get a good photo.  You may make a friend.