Summer Guide

This Summer's Unmissable Events

So Rhode Island Magazine ·

See Big Apple Theatre
Theatre By The Sea in Matunuck hosts Broadway musicals all season long in their historic waterfront barn. Beehive: The ‘60s Musical, about women who defined that decade, plays through June 18. The Music Man marches on stage June 21-July 15, followed by Beauty and the Beast July 19-August 12, and The Producers August 16-September 10.

Swing into Summer at Polo
Regardless of whether you decide to don an oversized hat or a seersucker suit, an afternoon spent watching horse-based sportsmanship at Newport Polo is going to be the ritziest afternoon you have all summer. The season starts on June 3 with a USA vs. Peru match. Make sure to bring a cooler full of rosé and canapés: tailgating is encouraged, and they even allow small grills, tents and well-behaved dogs.

Rock Out on Block Island
Don’t just go to Block Island for the beaches - go for the festivals. Block Island Music Festival on June 13-18, Country Fest at Ballards on July 7 and Conserfest on August 5-6 will have you rockin’ and rollin’ while Block Island Maritime Institute’s delicious and phonetically accurate Oysta’ Festival on August 26 will put the beach right in your belly.

Get a Taste of Italy
Federal Hill already owns Columbus Day, but this year they’re coming after June, too. The Federal Hill Summer Festival, happening June 23-25 in Providence, will have everything you love about the Columbus Day Festival: great Italian food, music, arts and shopping - with the added bonus of not having to wait until October to enjoy them.

Appreciate Art By the Sea
Each summer for 55 years, the Wickford Art Festival has brought thousands of people to Wickford Village, to peruse the works of over 200 local artists working in oil and acrylic paint, glass, metals, jewelry and more. It’s back this year July 8-9, and features artists from Rhode Island, the US and beyond.

Hear Al Fresco Concerts
The Burnside Music Series brings beer and live music to downtown Providence’s Burnside Park every Thursday, starting July 13. The fun starts at 4:30, so make sure to come down with a “stomach bug” right around 4pm those days to get yourself out of work early.

Celebrate a sister city
Newport becomes Japanese for four days from July 13-16, when the 34th annual Black Ships Festival returns. The celebration of Japanese art and culture is held to commemorate the relationship between Newport and its sister city of Shimoda, Japan, and includes a gala, a Japanese tea ceremony and
taiko drumming.

Appreciate Art and History
The Tiverton Four Corners Arts and Artisan Festival is celebrating its 30th year, in a corner of Rhode Island that’s nearly 400 years old. The festival on July 15 brings together local makers, with a beer garden and live entertainment.

Enjoy Classical Concerts
The Kingston Chamber Music Festival stages seven classical music concerts from July 19-30, bringing together top musicians from some of the country’s premier orchestras.

Rock the Block
The WBRU Summer Concert Series defines summer in the city: a giant group of happy people sipping ‘Gansetts and dancing in Waterplace Park. This year’s series kicks off on July 21 with Unlikely Candidates, followed by Dreamers on July 28, Marian Hill on August 4 and SWMRS on August 11.

Soar in a Hot Air Balloon
The South County Hot Air Balloon Festival comes back from July 21-23 at the URI Athletic Fields in Kingston. The sky fills with colorful balloons, which you can fly in, if you choose, and there’s food, fireworks, a car show, family entertainment and live music by Roomful of Blues.

Groove Through Newport
The July 28-30 Newport Folk Festival sold out faster than Dylan when he went electric (too soon?), but there are pop-up events all over Newport that weekend that you can still enjoy. For a more chill experience, head to the Newport Jazz Festival from August 4-6, featuring The Roots, Andra Day and Béla Fleck & the Flecktones.

Sea Food, Eat It
The Ocean State is the best place for a lot of things, but it’s the absolute best for fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Find out how much you can handle at the Charlestown Seafood Festival from August 4-6, where there will be lobsters, chowder, shellfish and just about every other ocean delicacy available for your gastronomic pleasure, plus amusement park rides, a midway and entertainment.

Discover Vintage Treasures
The Little Compton Antiques Festival is turning ten this summer, and in addition to the more than 25 antiques dealers on hand at the Little Compton Historical Society on August 5, they’re adding a Classic Auto Show. Browse through vintage items in need of a new home, and daydream about how sweet that classic car would look in your garage.

Dance Through Summer
Newport Waterfront Events is now calling Bold Point Park in East Providence home, and bringing the Reggae Festival on August 12, a Blues and BBQ Festival on August 26 and more awesome events into the fall. The season kicks off on August 9 with a concert by none other than The Beach Boys.

Enjoy Shakespeare Al Fresco
Westerly’s Wilcox Park is hosting The Colonial Theatre July 26-August 13 for Shakespeare in the Park. This year’s show is Twelfth Night, a story involving a shipwreck, twins separated at birth and a lot of gender-bending mistaken identity.

Get Down on the Farm
The Washington County Fair has been going strong since 1967. The festival happens August 16-20 in Richmond, and features amusement park rides, tons of music and games, and agricultural and livestock contests - plus a Battle of the

Bring Lovecraft to life
H. P. Lovecraft is Providence’s strangest native son, and NecronomiCon celebrates all things weird and wonderful about the famed horror writer. The convention, August 17-20 in Providence, includes free events for the curious public and things like the Erdrich Ball for the, shall we say, Cthulhu enthusiasts.

Get Back to Your Musical Roots
From September 1-3, celebrate the 20th year of the Rhythm and Roots Festival. The event happens in Ninigret Park in Charlestown, and this year is hosting huge acts like The Mavericks, Roseanne Cash and Big Bad
Voodoo Daddy

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