Salem and Our Visitors Deserve Better

Letter to Ward Councillor September 10, 2018

Halloween in Salem is an opportunity for us to put our best foot forward and market ourselves to our visitors, not just to get them to come back and spend money next year, but to convince them that Salem is a city that they could move to, raise their families in and invest in.  Plopping a carnival on top of one of our most beautiful spaces, sends the wrong message to guests about who we are, how we treat our history, and how they in turn, should treat and view our city.   

When we make the argument that we need the carnival to give people things to do we aren't giving our city enough credit.  We should be leveraging October as a way to highlight local experiences that have always been here ( a world-class museum, beautiful walkable neighborhoods, historic sites, a national park, etc) as well as new experiences that have popped up in the last 5-10 years (unique restaurants, a brewery, a distillery, a cider maker, sunset cruises, secret back alley bacon, the Punto Urban Art Museum, our amazing street performers and artists) A carnival sends the wrong message . . . it makes us look like a state fair, has nothing to do with Salem or our history, does not benefit our small businesses, and signals to our visitors that it's ok to treat the entire city disrespectfully.

This will be our 5th Halloween in Salem, and despite the insanity, Micah and I have always recognized that we did CHOOSE to live in the Halloween capital of the world, so we've always embraced and looked forward to October.  But I know it could be much more, and putting the carnival on the Common is the wrong solution.

Ty Hapworth