Festivals & Events

Summer celebrations you don't want to miss

East Side Monthly Magazine ·

Wherefore art thou? Throw on ye pantaloons and get thyself to the Roger Williams National Memorial this summer for The Rhode Island Shakespeare Theatre. Bring your blankets and beach chairs or come early to snag one of the coveted picnic tables – this annual production tends to draw quite a crowd.

June 1-16: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is magical, comical and enchanting play with three interlocking parts, connected by the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta. When you combine a forest full of fairies, the darkly powerful king Oberon, a mischievous elfin named Puck and a vial of love potion, what could go wrong? Free. Thur-Sun 8pm. 282 North Main Street, Providence. 331-6118.

There’s always something exciting going on at Kennedy Plaza. First up is Day of Portugal, which – despite its name – actually takes place over the course of two days. This family-friendly festival is free to the public.

June 8 – 36th Annual Day of Portugal Celebration: Head downtown for traditional folkloric music and dance along with crafts, live entertainment and food. Come early and come hungry – Portuguese steak and chips wait for no man. Be sure to buy a ticket to the mega raffle too – prizes include a Hyundai Sonata, $3,000 cash and two airline tickets to Portugal! Call to purchase yours in advance. Free. 6-11pm. Bank of America City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence. 618-335-6519.

June 9 – Portuguese Heritage Parade and Festival: The party continues on Sunday with opening ceremonies at noon at the RI State House terrace with a parade to step off around 1pm. It will travel east on Smith, right on Canal and right again on Steeple to the Bank of America City Center where the festival continues. Comedy troupe The Portuguese Kids hits the stage at 8pm. Be there. Free. 12-9pm. Rhode Island State House, 82 Smith Street, Providence. 618-335-6519.

The Department of Art, Culture and Tourism schedules free events throughout this summer to ensure that residents and visitors take advantage of the long days and warm nights. From Fourth of July celebrations to visual art programs in our neighborhood parks, the city will be abuzz with energy.

July 1-Aug 31 – The Celebrate Providence! Neighborhood Performing Arts Initiative: From music and dance to Opera In the Park, this initiative is an annual arts series that encourages artists and Providence non-profits to work together to create public programming for the diverse neighborhoods in our city.

July 4 – The BankRI Independence Day Celebration: Make your way to India Point Park at 7:30pm for a patriotic concert by the Rhode Island Philharmonic. The celebration comes to a climactic end at 9:15pm with a dramatic 25-minute firework display set to music. Mayor Angel Taveras says, “I look forward to seeing everyone at India Point Park for a patriotic performance from the Rhode Island Philharmonic Pops and Rhode Island’s most exciting fireworks display.” Free. 7:30-9:40pm. Access the park via the India Point walking bridge located at East and Wickenden Streets. 680-5770.

August 10 & 11 – Bolivian FestivalThis two-day event will feature a feast for the eyes as over 400 dancers, outfitted in colorful, folkloric costumes from Bolivia, will shimmy and shake their way into the heart of the city. Enjoy traditional Bolivian cuisine and learn a bit about the unique Latino culture at this family-friendly celebration. The weekend is being organized by the Rhode Island Bolivian-American Association, a non- profit that’s committed to charitable activities in the community. Free. 12-9pm Sat; 2-6pm Sun. Bank of America City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence.

August 17 – Peace and Providence: This family-friendly festival features yummy food, live music and free games for kids of all ages. Bring the brood for face painting, magic shows, cartoon characters and back to school supply giveaways. For those who like to give back while having fun, the Rhode Island Blood Center will be in attendance, conducting a blood drive. Come on down and let peace in. Free. 11am-9pm. Bank of America City Center, 2 Kennedy Plaza, Providence. 

No matter what your age, make it a priority to get outside and play this summer. In celebration of Providence’s status as a playful city, the second annual Playful Providence celebration will bring dozens of events to our neighborhood parks over the course of five months, helping families discover all the great recreational places we have at our disposal. 

This story was originally posted by East Side Monthly Magazine. Click here to view the original story in its entirety.


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