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Salem Main Streets expecting lighter turnout for this year's first First Friday

Posted by Tom Coakley  January 4, 2013 11:37 AM

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By Terri Ogan, Globe Correspondent

With people recovering from the holidays and busy starting a new year, organizers with the Salem Main Streets program are expecting a lighter-than-normal turnout for this evening’s “Salem First Friday”.

The fledgling tradition has various businesses stay open until at least 8 p.m., offering discounts and hosting special events, like wine tastings and food demonstrations. The monthly initiative kicked off in early October.

According to Matthew Caruso, acting manager for Salem Main Streets, consumers are exhausted from the holidays, and business owners are overworked.

“January 4 is coming right after the holiday,” Caruso said. “We’ll see it being a little lighter than it has been in the past because people have been doing a lot of their traveling and holiday events including some of the core businesses, and the core businesses have been taking some time off since the holidays.”

About 15 businesses on Pickering Wharf and Essex Street are expected to participate, as opposed to the nearly 25 that normally do so, Caruso said. He said it's difficult to gauge the number of consumers that will take part in the festivities. An estimated 1,000 local residents joined in each month during the fall, but Caruso is expecting up to 300 at various stages of the evening.

Although some business owners are wiped out from the holidays, others are choosing not to forgo the festivities. David Bowie, owner of The Picklepot, is hosting a cooking demonstration with beef sliders at his spice and seasoning shop on Pickering Wharf.

“I love it and I have a great time with it,” Bowie said. “I invite a lot of people to come through and we turn it into a party. It’s a nice tradition.”

Bowie will also be whipping up a chocolate fondue with a chipotle spice, also paired with a merlot wine. As for next month, Bowie, along with other Pickering Wharf business owners, have a Chinese New Year theme in the works.

“We’re thinking a lot of red,” Bowie said. “We just have to get through the winter time like everybody else.”

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