10th Anniversary of Kidfest

by Andrea Ganley - Dannewitz


Jake, age 3, pictured here with mom getting a face painting of a spider.

Kidfest 10th anniversary was a great fun-filled event dedicated to the kids in our community.  Pony rides, face painting, midway games, and so much more, were the heart and soul of this awesome charity event.  The best part about the day, other than that everything for kids was free, is that all proceeds raised during raffle ticket sales and adult food sales went straight to Elk’s children’s charities in the area.

A big hit with kids and grown-ups alike was the police dog demonstration offered by Salem Police Department.  Officer Czar, Salem’s four-legged K9 officer, was a great sport, hanging around until show time in the scorching heat.  He endured lots of attention and petting from the kids.  When it came time to show the kids what happens when he means business, he became the main event.  His police handler, Officer Childs, explained to the viewers that Czar is trained to respond to a threat either automatically or on command.  Officer Benoit, who is the newest addition to Salem’s K9 team, wore a padded cover over his arm and taunted Czar as though he were a criminal or a threat.  Officer Childs warned our “criminal” that if he did not comply with his order the dog would be unleashed and he would bite.  Playing the part of a “bad guy,” Officer Benoit did not listen, so Officer Czar took him down and took the arm pad with him as a keepsake.  Moral of the story to the kids was “be safe and be good” because you don’t want Officer Czar to have to come after you.

Salem Fire Department brought their new fire safety trailer for demonstrations and a great learning experience for the kids about fire safety.  Salem Firefighter Kevin Blais gave lessons to kids inside the trailer, which is set up like a home setting, on common fire hazards in the home and also a question and answer session on what to do if there is a fire in their home.  The smoke machine filled the small home with smoke.  Kids got down to the floor level and crawled to a safe room.  Firefighter Kevin Blais then explained to children how to check a door to see if it’s hot before opening it, and also what to do if they are on the second floor of a home.  The kids each got a chance to climb out a window and down a fire escape.

Salem Firefighters gave another demonstration on how they use extraction tools during a motor vehicle accident to rescue the occupant trapped inside.  A vehicle surrounded by caution tape was the scene of a staged accident.  The Jaws of Life were brought out to demonstrate how first responders would save the kids if it was one of them trapped inside.

Kidfest has so much to offer those special young ones in our community.  All year long, Elk’s Club volunteers stuffed backpacks that were given to each and every child who attended, as a gift.  Kids were able to sing their hearts out for all to hear at the karaoke stage.  It was just a fantastic sight to see so many smiling happy kids living it up the way kids should.

Now, even with all the great raffle prizes like bicycles, gift cards, toys, Red Sox Tickets, Patriots Tickets, and gift baskets, what would Kidfest be with out a King and Queen?  Not complete, that’s for sure.  Every year a King and Queen are selected, and this year’s winners were Damian Falcione age 7 and Kayli Ducheneau also age 7.  Both of these great kids also won gift baskets stuffed with goodies especially made for the Kidfest King and Queen.

Kidfest will return in 2008.  It only gets better every year.  This year was especially important to the 100 plus volunteers who make this event possible.  To them, it was a major accomplishment.  This event marked the tenth year that they worked, brainstormed, created, and made magic happen all year to have this wonderful event take place for just one day.  It was beyond well worth it.  If you and your family missed out on Kidfest, better luck next year.  It is an all-day event of fun and games for all ages that is not to be missed.


Officer Czar takes a “bite out of crime.”


Salem’s Young Historian Believes Most in Preservation


Jeff Barraclough

Historical Society president Jeff Barraclough is just 26.  Barraclough knows he stands out when history seminars happen or historical awards are handed out.

Typically, it’s a sea of older retired women being honored or recognized for historical purposes by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  Barraclough is the current president of Salem’s Historical Society.  It’s a dream presidency as he is a history lover who wants to make sure the town’s history is well preserved.

“I just love history and learning about how people used to live in Salem.  I grew up here and have always been interested,” said Barraclough, at his favorite historical site in Salem - the Old Meetinghouse on Main Street, which dates back to 1738.

This week, Barraclough revived an old tradition as this month’s Salem Historical Society meeting, including a tour of historic sites in town.  Such a tour was last included with a meeting in 1994, Barraclough said.  Society members met Tuesday, August 14, and received a map of 60-something historic sites.


Woodbury House, then.


Woodbury House, now.

“The map dates back to 1907, when Edgar Gilbert made it, and it is Salem’s original village with some home sites dating back some 250 years ago,” Barraclough said.

Society members started the meeting with Barraclough reading a script from Gilbert.  It said:  “Here is to be found the scene of the early fight for existence, when all about were wilderness teeming with foes.  Here is the home of the history of the old town, it is Salem.  At the Center are two churches, two cemeteries, a schoolhouse, post office, store, one large shoe shop and heel shop, blacksmith’s shop, town house, public library, hose company, lock-up, and bicycle repair shop, besides 65 dwellings.”

“We will see how Salem has changed and how some of the history has been preserved,” Barraclough said proudly; preserving town history matters most to him.

Salem’s historic district was designated in 1967 by the town.  The district encompasses 32 parcels of land in the town’s center.  The Salem Historical Society owns three buildings - the Meetinghouse, the old public library, and the Woodbury House.  All three buildings are located just steps from each other on Main Street.

Barraclough dug up some interesting tidbits to share with members for this meeting, such as:  - 1900 marked Salem’s 150th anniversary celebration and townspeople raised $1,000 for the event.  Local millionaire Edward F. Searles financed and oversaw the Meetinghouse renovation that year.  Searles ordered the ceilings torn out so beams were exposed which can still be seen today in the building.

  • Woodworking includes lots of “S” carvings - for Salem or Searles?  No one really knows.
  • The Meetinghouse has had two floors since 1838.  The first floor, which now houses the historical society's history museum, was called the Town Hall, as official town business was conducted here.  The second floor was called Salem Hall, where social events and entertainment took place.
  • The Meetinghouse was home of official town business until the 1960s when the municipal building was built on Geremonty Drive.
  • The last town meeting was held there in 1958.
  • The Meetinghouse was home to the town’s senior center from 1974 until 1981, when the Senior Center was relocated to the old Foss School on Lawrence Road.
  • The Meetinghouse has been home to the Salem Historical Museum and the Historical Society’s meeting place since 1981.

Gilbert once wrote of the building, several times condemned but still as staunch as of yore.  Barraclough likes that description, as the building has survived so much over the years, making it very significant to town history. 

“This building is the most historical in town. So much has happened here,“ he said while standing among the numerous historical artifacts in the museum.

Barraclough, whose parents are historical society members, is currently serving the second year of a two-year presidency term for the 65-member group.  He may not have the experience that other historical society presidents have, but his vision is the same.  He aims to keep Salem’s history alive. 

He started out as a historical society volunteer when he was attending Salem High School.  He graduated high school in 1999.  “Every Monday afternoon I walked to this building,” he said.

He went on to Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts where he earned a history degree.  He is currently attending the University of New Hampshire where he is working on a master’s degree in history.  His historical society presidency is a volunteer job and he is employed at the Scouting Museum and Library in Manchester.

His long-term goal is to run a museum closer to Boston, Massachusetts.  Barraclough certainly has the resume for such a job.  He’s no doubt a history buff who cares deeply about remembering how things used to be.


Old Town Hall Meetinghouse.


Boat Parade on Arlington Pond

submitted by Sandra Patient

The second Annual Boat Parade on Arlington Pond in Salem, held by the Arlington Pond Protective Association, took place on Saturday, August 11, at 1 p.m.  This year’s theme was super heroes.  Batman and Robin were there.  So were Superman and some dastardly villains, too.

There were 10 participants, all residents of Salem, and two classes - Pontoon Class and Speed Boat Class.  The standings are as follows:

Pontoon Class

  • First:  #18 Jan and George Wallace
  • Second:  #26 Gail and Ken Tacelli
  • Third:#27 Neil Kalman

Speed Boat winners

  • First: #10 Darrin Vincent
  • Second: #25 Decesare family and friends
  • Third:    #24 Brian and Coleen Tormey

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