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Salem Halloween still on

Posted by Tom Coakley  October 29, 2012 03:42 PM

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Like most Salem tourist attractions, The Witches Cottage on Lynde Street, was closed Monday, due to Hurricane Sandy.

By Kathy McCabe, Globe Staff

Salem tourism officials are closely monitoring Hurricane Sandy's path, but expect Halloween festivities planned for Wednesday will go on as planned.

"I'm just holding my breath and waiting for the storm to pass," said Kate Fox, executive director of Destination Salem, the city's tourism office.

Wind, not rain, will determine if dance parties, a beer garden, and a fireworks display planned for city streets will be held on Wednesday night, she said.

"We've had the events before in light rain," Fox said by telephone Monday afternoon. "We're really hoping that the wind dies down, and there isn't a fear that the beer garden will get blown away, and we can have Halloween as planned."

Ferry service, from Boston and Hingham to Salem, is cancelled for the week. But the MBTA is still expected to provide extra commuter rail trains to Salem on Wednesday, Fox said.

The owners of private tourist attractions will decide for themselves if they choose to stay open, Fox added. Most were closed on Monday, after Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency. Some also plan to be closed on Tuesday.

"I think most of them do plan to open Tuesday, but a lot are waiting to see if they have power, and be sure the brunt of the storm has moved through," said Fox.

Cancellations are published on the website www.hauntedhappenings.com

The hurricane prompted a flurry of cancellations at Salem hotels. The Salem Waterfront Hotel, which has 86 rooms, had a 65 percent occupancy rate on Monday, said Tony Sasso, the chief operating officer.

"Many of the people just asked that their deposit be transferred to next Halloween," said Tony Sasso, chief operating officer at MR Rockett Co,, the hotel owner. "We've accommodated those requests."

The Hawthorne Hotel, a 93-room venue that is usually sold out for Halloween week, has 30 vacancies for Halloween night, general manager Julie Lederhaus said.

"It's definitely had a financial impact," Lederhaus said, noting the hotel is offering special deals for locals, or tourists stranded in Boston, to fill beds.

Hurricane Sandy didn't scare Jen and Jon Coil, a married couple staying at the hotel, who traveled from Philadelphia from Salem on Sunday.

"What difference does it make if the hurricane hits us in Philadelphia or Salem," said Jen, 30, a paralegal, making her first visit to Salem. "I do wish more things were open today. We were looking forward to visiting some museums."

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