This review is based solely on my own personal experience.
Salem, NY is a town that is so small you could ride your bike around it 20 times in one night, a former resident once told me. Still, the streets were lined with cars on the 4th of July. Parking along the streets in every direction is much easier than trying to park on the carnival grounds. People want to see the fireworks, and oh yeah, go to the little fireman’s carnival while they waited for them to start.
The Salem Fireman’s Carnival is a small, homemade fund raiser on Archibald St. off from State Route 22. Proceeds from the carnival help fund the Salem Volunteer Fire Department. The games are plywood set-ups with hand-painted signs and prizes that look like leftovers from the Salvation Army surplus sale.
The 80’s posters and gold lame framed “art” that are served up as prizes at the Salem Fireman’s Carnival are indeed tacky. Homemade cookies, and cakes are served up in a game of chance appropriately called “Cake”. The oversized sunglasses and glow in the dark mouthpieces are wild and wacky.
The Salem Fireman’s Carnival may be small, but the kids there all looked like they were having a good time. The games at the Salem Fireman’s Carnival may have cheesy prizes, but they are actually pretty cheap to play usually several tries at throwing the ball or laying down your game piece for just a dollar, as opposed to fairground games that could easily end up costing $5, $10, $20 or more.
The funnel cake stand always has a long line. After you finally your turn, for $2 you’ll get to choose from a variety of sugars to top a piece so large it extends over the edges of the plate.
Overall, the Salem Fireman’s Carnival delivers on what you expect a small town carnival to be. There are no rides however, which is a bit of a let down but it is a good place to run into a few of your neighbors and do a little people watching.
You can feel good about the kids trying their luck at the Salem Fireman’s Carnival and savoring that funnel cake but the real family favorite will be the fireworks.
The fireworks show starts at 9:30 pm and will not disappoint. Anywhere on the Salem Fireman’s Carnival grounds will deliver an unobstructed viewing of the show, which typically lasts about 15 minutes or more. The cracks and booms are extremely loud as the fireworks are set off in an adjacent field.
Many spectators make the short trek over to the Salem Art Works hillsides to view the fireworks show. Salem Art Works is located at 19 Cary Lane in Salem, just a few short blocks away from the Salem Fireman’s Carnival.