Popular downtown Salem festival returns Saturday

by rcnewsblog on September 12, 2013

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Do you enjoy shopping and eating on a budget? Are you constantly wasting gas money, driving around in search of entertainment?

Park your car, grab your sunglasses and a few bucks and hit the streets of downtown Salem for a day of fun. Salem’s annual Olde Salem Days is back this Saturday, Sept. 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Olde Salem Days is an arts and crafts festival for all ages, with more than 400 vendors selling everything from handmade gifts and baked goods to candles, pottery, jewelry — even dog leashes.

As a college student your bank account probably has limited funds. Not to worry. Olde Salem Days vendors sell a variety of items, affordable enough for you to stock up on unique Christmas gifts for mom.  Postpone that afternoon nap and put aside your homework for a few hours to enjoy a shopper’s paradise.

You say you wanted to spend your Saturday afternoon watching football? Catch the games at downtown Salem restaurants that will remain open for the festival. During that halftime lull, you can wander the festival streets.

Words of warning to those planning to travel off-campus and out of the city: For Olde Salem Days, the City of Salem closes Main Street and adjacent streets to vehicle traffic from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thompson Memorial Drive will remain open. Parking is limited, so if you leave campus, odds are your parking space will be taken.

Thousands enjoy Olde Salem Days every year and expectations are high for this year’s 32nd celebration. More than 70,000 people attended last year’s festival.

If you are more interested in eating than shopping, check out the food court, which will be located in the parking area beside Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea on Main Street. Live music, tasty food and a place to rest your legs will be conveniently located at the Farmer’s Market.

Food vendors will offer everything from kettle corn to pizza and ribbon-cut fries. Never had ribbon-cut fries?  Definitely worth the trip — and worth the calories!

If you’re not in the mood for food, check out the Antique Car Show, featuring more than 150 restored classic cars and trucks. The vehicles will be on display in front of Mac and Bob’s restaurant.

All in all, Olde Salem Days is a local tradition that every Roanoke College student should experience.

Julie Gonsalves ’14 remembers her first Olde Salem Days as “a taste of home away from home.”  As a New Yorker, the festival provided “a family-oriented community beyond Roanoke college,” she said.

If the heat becomes unbearable, duck into Main Street stores, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A bit of advice for festival-goers: Hydrate, dress lightly and wear walking shoes. You’ll be grateful that you did.

For more information, check out Olde Salem Days’ website.

Also, keep in mind, the streets of Salem will also be closed Friday night for Salem High School’s homecoming parade and football game. The Salem Spartans will play the Terriers of William Byrd High School at 7 p.m.

The parade procession will begin at 5:15 p.m. in front of the Salem Ice Cream Parlor, and end at the Salem Stadium around 6:30 p.m.  Expect delays and use alternate routes.

—By Allison Shannon ’15

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