• Salem Maritime National Historic Site

    Salem Maritime

    National Historic Site Massachusetts

Celebrate July Fourth at Salem Maritime

Fireworks explode behind the tall ship Friendship of Salem
Derby Wharf is a spectacular setting for Salem's annual fireworks
Photo by Scott Lanes, Courtesy of Destination Salem

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News Release Date: June 19, 2009
Contact: JASON SILVA, MAYOR'S CHIEF OF STAFF, 978-745-9595, EXT. 5603
Contact: Emily Murphy, 978-740-1691

Mayor Kimberley Driscoll is pleased to announce that Salem's 4th of July celebration is fully funded and plans are set for a full day of events at Salem Maritime National Historic Site on Derby Wharf.  This event has proven to be a tremendous success, drawing crowds numbering 40,000 to 50,000 people. 

Salem's residential and business community has come together to ensure the continuation of this event.  Mayor Driscoll stated, "We are fortunate to have residents and a business community that generously supports this annual event.  I’d like to express a special thank you to TARGET and Dominion Salem Harbor Station for stepping up to the plate and being our lead sponsors, as well as Salem Five, Tache Real Estate, Market Basket, Eastern Bank, and all of our other business sponsors who donate so much to make July 4th a special day for our residents and visitors.  July 4th costs almost $60,000 and is funded entirely with private funds.  Without the generosity of our business community, this event would not be possible."

"At Target, our local grants are making a difference in the communities we serve," said Thomas Leach, Salem store manager. "We’re proud to partner with the City of Salem as part of our ongoing commitment to give back to the communities where our guests and team members live and work."

N. Malia Griffin, Dominion Community Affairs Spokesperson stated, "Dominion Salem Harbor Station is once again pleased to partner with the City of Salem to ensure that this annual celebration continues."

The pre-concert festivities at Derby Wharf will begin at 4:00 p.m. with the opening of Kids' Space, where DJ Doug Parker keeps the youngsters entertained with dancing, games, contests and prizes.  Children can get their faces painted, play games and do some arts & crafts free from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. provided by TARGET, The Salem YMCA, The Gathering, and The MeetingHouse Church. Food vending tents open at 4:00 p.m., so there will be plenty of hot dogs, French fries, and fried dough. 

Beginning at 5:00 p.m., appearing in front of main stage will be Sandra Lee Live in Concert, sponsored by Crosby's Market Place.   Ms. Lee has performed in local entertainment hot spots throughout the greater Boston area, Rhode Island and New Hampshire over the past twelve years. She is a truly talented singer and a must see!  So come down early and pick your spot on the lawn to enjoy the day.

Mayor Kimberley Driscoll will lead the opening ceremonies, which begin at 7:15 p.m., accompanied by Salem Veteran Color Guard Units and Salem Boy Scout troops.  The City is working with the United States Air Force to coordinate a military flyover during the event.

The crowd will then be entertained with a two-hour “Pops” concert performed by the 40-piece Hillyer Festival Orchestra (HFO).  The HFO has become a widely acclaimed Pops orchestra in the greater Boston area.  Dr. Dirk Hillyer's, the orchestra's conductor, extensive Pops background makes him the perfect showman for bringing out the best of this year’s theme: Heroes present and past, including Indian Jones, Superman, and even Mack the Knife. Spicing up the show will be the beautiful soprano voice of Laura Harbert who will be featured in familiar melodies by Gershwin, Dvorak, and Lowe. 

During intermission we have a special treat.  Members of the Salem State College Summer Theatre cast of 'Footloose' will perform. Summer Theatre is the professional arm of the Salem State College Theatre Department and the cast is a fantastic group of talented actors that perform in front of sold-out crowds during the summer.

At 9:15 p.m. the award-winning Atlas PyroVision Productions will shoot a spectacular fireworks display right above our heads from Derby Wharf with live accompaniment by the Hillyer Festival Orchestra.

Part of the allure of this celebration is its setting.  The first National Historic Site in the National Park System, Salem Maritime NHS consists of nine acres of waterfront land and houses a dozen historic structures, including the Custom House, where famed author Nathaniel Hawthorne worked, and Derby Wharf, which was used by America's first millionaire Elias Hasket Derby, who made his fortune from this port of call.  Looking out at historic Salem harbor with hundreds of boats moored and the replica of a 1700's sailing vessel, the Friendship, serving as a backdrop, Independence Day is truly felt as you are surrounded by the history that helped us to become an independent nation.

Did You Know?

An artist's depiction of an American privateer pursuing a British merchant ship.  Painting by Thomas Freeman.

During the American Revolution, Salem was the most successful privateering port in America. Salem's 158 privateering vessels captured 445 English vessels.