In the three years that Ashley Durkin has served as the Salem Parks and Recreation Special Events Supervisor, her main responsibility has been overseeing all special events for the City of Salem.
This year, Durkin is ecstatic at the number of options available for the community.
The Salem After Five Concert Series usually attracts up to 1,000 people. Said Durkin, “This event is a great opportunity for people to get outside, relax, enjoy the weather and some great music.”
When the 68th Annual Ernest “Pig” Robertson Fishing Rodeos take place in late April and early May, Roanoke County resident James Peterson plans on being there with his family.
“Getting my children to put down their video games on the weekend isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but that is never a problem when the fishing rodeo is in town,” Peterson said with a smile. “We always take a lot of pictures and have a great time.”
Imagine bringing a blanket to the park in the morning and enjoying non-stop music for several hours. This is how Linda English describes her first Jazz in July event. “In 2017, I got a chance to see Robert Jospe & the Express Quartet and Jane Powell with Lenny Marcus & Friends perform at Longwood Park. I had an absolute blast. I’m looking forward to seeing who is on the ticket this year,” English said.
The first time that Ciani Clarke experienced Movies at Longwood Park she went on social media to share her thoughts. Said Clark, a college junior at the time, in a 2016 post, “After hearing so much about this event, I finally got to check it out today with some friends. To say that we enjoyed ourselves would be an understatement. I strongly recommend everyone experiencing Movies at Longwood Park at least once.”
The amount of preparation that goes into a Salem Parks and Recreation Special Event can take up to a year. Dozens of volunteers, for example, are required each summer for the Salem Relay for Life to be a success.
“The main goal of our events is to provide a fun and safe community activity for the residents of Salem,” Durkin said. “We cannot do that without people willing to volunteer their time and effort.”
The only thing that John Robinson enjoys more than making memories is doing so with family and friends. From as far back as he can remember, Robinson has attended the vast majority of annual events put on by Salem Parks and Recreation. The father of four says he is most excited this year about the Beer and Music Festival on June 29.
“I would have to say that the LewisGale Salem Half Marathon is one of my favorite events. It is one of our biggest and also fairly new event that takes a lot of work, but is very rewarding once everything comes together,” Durkin said before adding, “it’s been fun to watch the race grow over the years.”
For more information about the upcoming Salem Parks and Recreation Special Events, visit salemva.gov/department.