Bacchanalia in Salem, MA

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Now, as you might imagine, Salem, Mass. can be a pretty interesting place to live. And when it comes to celebrating the rites of Spring, I’d argue that no one does it better—this side of ancient Rome, that is.

Last weekend, we hit Salem’s fourth annual Spring Fling event, hosted by our favorite kitchen shop in town, Pamplemousse, and Magic Hat beer.

I’m pleased as punch to be able to share a different slice of life in our fair city with you guys. (See? We’re not *all* about Halloween here in Witch City…)

Spring Fling was held at the Old Town Hall in Derby Square.

The event was two floors of wine and beer tasting, local artists and vendors, and dancing.

About Bacchanalia

Spring Fling finds its roots in the ancient Greco-Roman Bacchanalia, springtime rites celebrating the god Bacchus (Dionysus in Greek mythos), the god of wine.

During bacchanalia, “priests and aged priestesses, adorned with garlands of ivy, carried through the city wine, honey, cakes, and sweet-meats, together with an altar…in which…sacrifices were burnt.”

While I don’t think anyone was burning any sacrifices, folks were definitely doing their best to give Spring a hearty welcome. There were cakes, wine, and garlands a-plenty. Here, see what I mean.

Pictures from Spring Fling

Far be it for us to miss a party where the wine, beer, and mead are flowing freely. Oh, and did I mention that it’s also a toga party? Roman attire was encouraged. As you can see, lots of folks rose to the occasion.

There were a lot of Animal House-esque togas (think knotted sheets over jeans with sneaks).

But some folks definitely went all out, donning their armor, and even gold body paint.

There was a living statue.

Our warrior for the evening was performance artist Cady Vishniac, who also does a lot of work in Salem around Halloween. (What’s a living statue, you ask? Just what it sounds like. Take a peek at some of Cady’s other work. I give her a ton of credit. She’s one patient girl.)

And a lovely lady kind enough to help serve the fruit.

You could consult an oracle.

The band, Big Ol’ Dirty Bucket, was sporting their best Roman regalia.

Faces from around Salem

A lot of local business owners were out and about. I didn’t remotely get all of them, but here are some of the friends we ran into.

This is Diane Wolf from The Lobster Shanty. (We love Diane!) You might remember The Shanty from when we met Guy Fieri there last year, back when Penelope was just a pipsqueak.

And, of course, Diane, one of the owners of Pamplemousse. That’s her in the middle.

(Everyone apparently loves it when a mouse demands that you “say cheese!”)

Our buddy DJ Vudu was there, in full armor. (Don’t mess with him, eh?)

As well as two of our favorite girls in town—Lynn from Dirty Witch Soaps (left) and Lizzie from Witch City Wicks (right). These two make soap and candles that smell seriously good enough to eat. (More on that soon. I’m going to see if I can con one or both of them into doing a giveaway.)

We also saw artist Nick Demakas, who paints great portraits of beasts wearing their shiniest finery.

And Aepril Schaile, one of the region’s finest bellydancers.

And, of course, the vendors

You could buy or sample a ton of different goods here. There were masks and jewelry.

An artist drawing portraits.

And a couple girls painting on tattoos.

And beer…

…more beer…

…and yet more beer. You get the idea. Not to mention the wine. And the mead.

Oh, and the samples of food from local restaurants.

The end of the night

When the event broke up, everyone was happy and definitely well feasted.

I think it’s fair to say that a good time was had by all.

The Angry Chef and I hung out ’til the end of the night, watching happy revelers filter out into the twinkling, cobblestoned streets of Salem.

Oh, and speaking of Bacchus

Stay tuned for a review of one of my favorite vineyards!



  1. Wow that really looks like fun. I love visiting Salem but you're right, it's always all about the witch lore and the ghost walks. This looks like such a great event.
  2. Love it, love you, Jess. Salem seems very fun and hip...and you obviously up the pizzazz ante. But I was amazed at your visual demographics: not one person of color in all your pics! Tell us it ain't so in Salem!!