Pet, bike parades to kick off Salem 4th of July celebration

SALEM – The tradition of parading pets and patriotic wagons, bicycles, tricycles and other children’s vehicles continues this Fourth of July on Broadway in downtown Salem, beginning at 1 p.m.

Organizer Mary Lou Popa announced the details this week, noting the pet parade will kick off the holiday downtown festivities, forming at the Pershing Street end of Broadway and traveling north to State Street.

Judges will award prizes for pets in the following categories: largest, smallest, cutest, best dressed, furriest and most unusual.

The decorated vehicles parade will immediately follow the pet parade, with prizes awarded by age groups from birth to 3 years old, 4 to 6 years old and 7 years old and older.

The city’s holiday fireworks display will take place at dusk (when it gets dark) on Wednesday, July 3, at Waterworth Memorial Park, preceded by the annual Salem Perry Township Crime Watch National Night Out celebration, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, also at the park.

The rain date for both events is July 5.

The city collected more than $8,100 from businesses, community groups and individuals, with up to $1,000 committed from the Salem Community Foundation if needed, to cover the cost of the fireworks.

Mayor John Berlin said the cost increased this year to $8,450 for the show staged annually by the Pyrotechnico Fireworks Company of New Castle, Pa. The previous cost was $8,000.

The tradition of gathering donations to cover the fireworks cost began with the previous administration and has been continued by Berlin, who sent letters out in the spring to prior donors and local businesses to solicit funds.

The fireworks have been held on the day before the holiday for several years since it costs less than on the Fourth.

Crime Watch uses the National Night Out event as it’s major fundraiser for the year, with food at the concession stand, children’s activities, live entertainment and a car cruise which starts at 4 p.m..

Children’s activities include a bounce house, petting zoo, dunk tank, hand crank trains, face painting, pony rides and the Aut Mori Grotto clowns. Entertainment includes Free Wheelin, Night Moves and the Gordon James Blues Band.

A Barney Fife lookalike and his 1963 Ford will visit from Mayberry. Vehicles for the car show should enter the park from Eighth Street at the duck pond entrance.