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Parks & Rec News

MAIN OFFICE PHONE:  (540) 375-3057|HOURS:  M-F 8am-5pm
MAIN OFFICE LOCATION:  620 Florida Street, Salem, VA 24153

Published on Monday, November 30, 2020

2020 Holiday Events Set For December

The City of Salem’s Holiday celebrations will look a little different this December, but neither COVID-19 nor this incredibly unpredictable calendar year can stop Santa’s arrival in 2020.

The annual Christmas Parade, which is traditionally held on Main Street and sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Salem, will shift to the Salem Civic Center parking lot this December. Floats and performers will be positioned in designated locations throughout the Taliaferro Complex, allowing citizens and visitors the ability to drive through and enjoy each entry without leaving their cars.

“This has been a challenging time for all of us, but the Salem Kiwanis Club members are excited about the possibilities this event offers all involved,” says Jim Paxton, Salem Kiwanis Club President-elect and Parade Committee Head. “We are blessed to have a facility as versatile as the Salem Civic Center, and we really look forward to working with our past entries and new participants to make this event special and unique.”

“Winter WonderLot - the 2020 Salem Christmas Parade” will take place December 4 from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. This will be a FREE event, but attendees are encouraged to bring a donation of non-perishable canned food for the Salem-Roanoke County Food Pantry. Those wishing to participate in the parade can get complete info and an entry form at this Parade Entry link or by calling (540)-404-1443

“The Salem Civic Center and Salem Parks and Recreation staffs have been adapting their events and schedules ever since the onset of COVID-19,” says Wendy Delano, Salem Director of Civic Facilities. “You have to keep looking forward and evolving, and I commend the Kiwanis Club of Salem for doing its part to keep the holiday spirit alive.”

Along with the revamped Christmas Parade, Salem Parks and Recreation will again present the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting at the Salem Farmers Market and the Gingerbread Festival at the Salem Public Library.

“We are honored to work with these different groups and provide a number of excellent events in a safe manner this December,” says John Shaner, Salem Parks and Recreation Director. “We hope the participants and those who attend these events will enjoy themselves.”

Lighting of the Christmas Tree              Dec. 4 6 p.m.    Facebook LIVE at Farmers Market
Winter WonderLot Christmas Parade   Dec. 4 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.    Salem Civic Center
Gingerbread Festival Dec. 5 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.               Salem Museum & Longwood Park   
Pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus Dec. 5  1 p.m. - 5 p.m.                 Salem Civic Center Annex
Pictures with Santa & Mrs. Claus           Dec. 6  1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Salem Civic Center Annex
Salem Crafty Christmas Dec. 12 8 a.m. - Noon Salem Farmers Market
Salem Holiday Market Dec. 12 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Salem Civic Center


Lighting of the City of Salem Christmas Tree – December 4
The Annual Lighting of the City of Salem Christmas Tree on Friday, December 4, at 6 p.m. at the Salem Farmers Market is now a virtual event and can be viewed on Facebook LIVE that evening. This tradition will kick-off the holiday season just before the “Winter WonderLot” Christmas Parade begins at the Salem Civic Center at 6:30 p.m.

Gingerbread Festival – December 5
The Salem Parks and Recreation Department and the Salem-Roanoke County Chamber of Commerce  present this year’s Gingerbread Festival at the Salem Museum and Longwood Park on Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.  Check out the incredible culinary creations and enjoy other activities in a socially distant and responsible manner. Masks are strongly encouraged outside and required inside the museum.

Socially Distant Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus – December 5 & 6   

Santa and Mrs. Claus are headed to the Salem Civic Center to spread some safe holiday cheer in early December. The world-famous Christmas Couple will be in Salem December 5 and 6 from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. each day to take socially distant photos with you and your family members for only $10. The back annex of the complex allows for vehicles to safely enter one side and exit the other while remaining completely protected by the weather. This set-up was used for Salem High School and Cave Spring High School graduations this past year and it was a huge success.

Families will drive their vehicles into the Salem Civic Center Annex, one at a time, exit their cars and have photos taken in a socially distant manner on the festive holiday set with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Each carload can have a maximum of six people and the cost is only $10 per carload. All current COVID-19 Protocols will be followed, and children will not be able to sit on Santa’s lap. Children will be seated on a bench in front of the Christmas Royalty. The bench will be sanitized between each family group photo. Masks are required until the photos are taken, at which time, the children can take their masks off.

Photos will be made available for download between December 6 and 10, so you can share them on social media and print for your personal use. Parents and guardians will be allowed to take their own photos, as well. For further information please visit

Salem Crafty Christmas at Farmers Market – December 12
The Salem Farmers Market and the Salem Parks and Recreation Department are bringing back a “Salem Crafty Christmas” on Saturday, December 12 from 8 a.m. - noon.  This event will take place at the Salem Farmers Market and feature handmade crafts, artisan items, greenery, baked goods, cheeses, eggs and many more items for your holiday shopping. All patrons are asked to adhere to the Market’s posted rules for COVID-19.

Salem Holiday Market at Salem Civic Center – December 12
Enjoy a great shopping adventure on Saturday, December 12, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Salem Civic Center.  Unique crafters, Artists, and Direct Sales vendors will have just what you need for the perfect gift. This is a FREE event but please bring a non-perishable food item for the Salem-Roanoke County Food Pantry. Masks are required inside the Salem Civic Center.

The Kiwanis Club of Salem sponsors and organizes the Christmas Parade.

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