By EMMA BARTLETT
Garden City Center has a few tricks up its sleeves this summer to make visits to the outdoor shopping facility more than just a reason to stop and shop. As kids and parents played cornhole outside the center’s gazebo recently, Marketing Manager Faith Lockhart shared that the center is trying to make Garden City a place where people come to hang out.
The center is looking to have/do things that people aren’t necessarily expecting when they go to a shopping center as a bit of a pop-up surprise.
The center recently finished its seasonal Sip and Shop weekends where individuals could stop by the center’s gazebo during designated times Friday through Sunday for a glass of wine. Lockhart said the center held a spring wine garden after their fall beer garden that proved to be extremely popular.
The center is currently celebrating Pride and has a Pride floral display at their gazebo. Lockhart said if individuals take a photo with the display and tag Garden City Center in the image on social media, the center will donate $1 (up to $1,000) to the Haus of Codec which assists LGBTQ+ youth.
Pride shirts ($35 each) are for sale via the center’s website and were created by Boston-based artist John Guthrie. There are six options to choose from and all proceeds will go to GLAAD, an American non-governmental media monitoring organization founded as a protest against defamatory coverage of gay and lesbian people. As a final way to celebrate Pride, the center’s Little Free Library – which is located between Madewell and Avvio – is filled with Pride-related reads for the month.
The center is gearing up for its concert series that will start mid-July at the center’s gazebo. Lockhart said the smaller concerts range between 500 and 1,000 audience members.
The first concert will take place July 20 and feature the XS Band who will play classic R&B, soul, funk and music from today. The following week on Wednesday, The Silks will provide visitors with rick, blues and folk music. On Aug. 3, DownCity Band will visit Garden City Center with pop and top 40 hits and Big Lux will close out the concert series on Aug. 10 with their hip hop, bluegrass and jazz music. All concerts will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Lockhart said the concerts are free to attend and general admission seating is located south of the gazebo. There will be an exclusive VIP experience ($15 per person) where individuals have access to the VIP Lounge and can eat hors d’oeuvres, non-alcoholic beverages and leave with a swag bag. All proceeds from VIP tickets benefit the John Hope Settlement House.
For animal lovers, Roger Williams Zoo will visit Garden City Center every Monday starting July 11 and running until Aug. 15. During this time, kids will have the opportunity to meet, learn and get to know animals from around the world. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and tickets are $10 each – one ticket includes admission for one child and their parent or guardian. Registration is required. Another fun event for kids will be the center’s movie nights. While the details need to be finalized, Lockhart said the center would like to host two movie nights on their inflatable movie screen and will possibly feature Disney’s “Moana.”
Garden City is also hosting workout classes for families. Join Cranston natives Brianna Cancel and Jacklyne Tasca Bulman for a Power Pilates class at the gazebo on July 16 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. and for a second session on Aug. 27. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased on Garden City’s website; all proceeds go toward the Izzy Foundation.
For all the aspiring or avid runners out there, join Lululemon ambassador Steven Blais outside the center’s gazebo every Tuesday at 6 p.m. from now until Oct. 25 for the Garden City Run Club. The club meets for one hour and all you have to do is show up.
As for the shopping experience and new businesses coming in, Lockhart said Nike will likely open in August. She mentioned that Providence Diamond is moving to a larger location within Garden City Center and Lululemon will move into the old Providence Diamond location. The center will celebrate its 75th year in Cranston next year and is looking to host some kind of celebration.
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