Top 20 Rhode Island Events for 2009
Yankee recommends that you call ahead to confirm dates and times.
MAY-OCTOBER: PROVIDENCE, WaterFire Providence. For a dozen or more Saturday evenings throughout the season, 100 bonfires will float along the darkened rivers of downtown Providence. Watch and enjoy special events–including jazz concerts and dance performances–at WaterPlace Park as it reflects the city’s shadows and highlights from sunset until after midnight. Call or visit the Web site for updated schedule. 401-272-3111; waterfire.org
MAY 2: CRANSTON, May Breakfast. Celebrate spring with this New England tradition at Phillips Memorial Baptist Church. Eggs, ham, johnnycakes, and baked beans served, with juice, coffee, and tea. May baskets, filled with sweet goodies, will also be on sale. 401-467-3300; phillipschurch.org
JUNE 6: NEWPORT, Schweppes Great Chowder Cook-Off. The first of Newport’s summer festivals, with 3,000 gallons served up by more than 30 of the nation’s best restaurants and chefs. All are vying for $10,000 in prizes awarded to the restaurants with the best chowders and the best clam cakes. Sample them all at Newport Yachting Center. 401-846-1600 x214; newportfestivals.com
JUNE 9: PROVIDENCE, Federal Hill Stroll. Walk the streets of the city’s Little Italy and sample a variety of the area’s finest offerings in the culinary and visual arts. More than 30 restaurants, galleries, and shops participate. Call to reserve tickets early. 800-233-1636, 401-456-0200; federalhillstroll.com
JUNE 13: WARWICK/CRANSTON, Gaspee Days Parade. Taking place along Narragansett Parkway to Broad Street, this annual event celebrates the first overt revolutionary action taken by Rhode Island’s colonists: the burning of the British revenue schooner HMS Gaspee. 401-781-1772; gaspee.com
JUNE 21-26: BLOCK ISLAND, Race Week. Watch as more than 200 sailboats cross Block Island Sound in one of New England’s most famous boat races. 800-383-2474, 401-466-2474; blockislandraceweek.com
JUNE 27: JAMESTOWN, Quononoquott Garden Club Island Treasures. A tour of diverse gardens on the island of Conanicut in Narragansett Bay, boasting natural beauty and historical interest. 401-423-1776; gardencentral.org/rigardenclubs/quononoquott
JULY 5-11: PROVIDENCE, Sound Session. More than 45 performances on five outdoor stages and 11 indoor stages downtown. Featuring legendary jazz and soul performers, new and underground talent, and a mix of musical styles. 401-351-0353; providencesoundsession.com
JULY 10-12: NEWPORT, “Coastal Living” Magazine Newport Regatta. The waters of Narragansett Bay become a raceway for some 300 sailboats and 1,500 crew members during New England’s premier annual one-design regatta. Watch from Fort Adams State Park (Harrison Avenue), stake a spot along Ocean Drive, or cross the bridge to Goat Island for a great view. 401-846-1983; sailnewport.org
JULY 16-AUG. 2: WESTERLY, Shakespeare in the Park. Performances of Macbeth Tuesday through Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. in Wilcox Park. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, and picnic dinners. 401-596-7909; thecolonialtheater.org
JULY 17-19: KINGSTON, South County Hot-Air Balloon Festival. Friday night enjoy the “balloon glow,” with entertainment, crafts, foods, artists, and more throughout the weekend. Balloon rides, model aircraft, antique autos, carnival rides, and more, all at the University of Rhode Island’s athletic fields. 401-783-1770; southcountyballoonfest.com
JULY 24-26: NARRAGANSETT, Blessing of the Fleet. This annual event includes a 10-mile road race and seafood festival, plus Saturday’s Blessing of the Fleet–a lively parade of large and small commercial and recreational vessels–at Galilee. 401-413-9801; narragansettri.com/lions
Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.