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It's That Time of Year: New England's Summer Festivals -- Rhode Island

Discovery New

Every Summer New England states host some of the best festivals. Many are kid-friendly or are just for families. Some of these events are for charities, town support, or sponsored by various local business. Some events this year are free to attend!


Polar Seltzer Great Chowder Cook-off & Newport Oyster Festival
June 7, 2014
Newport, Rhode Island

Be a part of the original, largest, and longest running (over 30 years!), chowder bonanza in New England located right in the buzz of historic downtown Newport. With a wide spread from national to regional competitors, festival goers will taste test a myriad of traditional and exotic chowders from all kitchens, then vote for the best in three categories: Clam, Seafood and Creative.

Gaspee Days Parade & Weekend
June 13-15, 2014
Warwick, Rhode Island

In June of 1772, brave colonists from Rhode Island burned the British revenue schooner, HMS Gaspee, in what has become recognized as the first overt action leading to the American Revolutionary War. For the past years, the village of Pawtuxet, Rhode Island, has commemorated this act with its annual Gaspee Days Celebration. This is one of the most exciting and patriotic parades in the country, featuring colonial fife and drum corps, Civil War era units, modern day drum and bugle corps and more.

July 12 and 26, 2014
August 9 & 23, 2014
Providence, Rhode Island

WaterFire is a highly unique public art experience that has attracted tens of thousands of visitors to Rhode Island’s creative capital city of Providence. The free event is based on an original artistic installation of bonfires lit on the three waterways passing through downtown Providence. WaterFire creates a magical artistic event celebrating earth, air, fire and water. Amidst the flicking firelight of 100 bonfires, stroll through Waterplace Park and enjoy music and entertainment from around the world.

35th Annual Festival of Historic Houses
June 13-15, 2014
Providence, Rhode Island

The Providence Preservation Society (PPS) announces the 35th Annual Festival of Historic Houses. The Festival, known for opening some of Providence’s most interesting homes, gardens and converted industrial mill spaces to visitors from across the region, highlights Providence’s post-industrial heritage through its dynamic housing stock. This signature annual event is an opportunity to hear the stories about the properties’ origins and inhabitants, while viewing firsthand the modern day living spaces in Providence’s prized historic properties made possible through preservation.
International Festival of Arts & Ideas

Strawberry Festival at Smith’s Castle
June 14, 2014
North Kingstown, Rhode Island

Smith’s Castle is a house museum and one of the oldest structures in Rhode Island. The land was the original site of a trading company operated by Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island and a well-known Baptist theologian. The land is also a national historic site known for the many Native American artifacts found nearby. Come on this day to savor Smith’s Castle’s celebrated strawberry shortcake and pay homage to the humble wild strawberry — a favorite of the early colonists and the native Narragansett. Enjoy a day filled with fun family entertainment.

The Newport Flower Show -- Journey: Grand Vistas
June 27-29, 2014
Newport Mansions -- Newport, Rhode Island

America’s premier summer flower show is held on the historic grounds of the historic Rosecliff mansion. The same titans who built the summer cottages of Newport joined forces to create luxurious travel while also building the infrastructure which would forever change industry in America and become a model for the world. Climb aboard as we journey to Grand Vistas when the trip was as splendid as the destination!

America’s Oldest Independence Day Parade
July 4, 2014
Bristol, Rhode Island

Come to the town of Bristol, Rhode Island, for the oldest continuous Independence Day celebration in the USA. Overlooking Narragansett Bay, this town has a classic American main street feel with beautiful stately homes decorated for the occasion. There’s also a Fourth of July ball, a Drum Corp show, a visiting ship and fireworks over Bristol Harbor.

Hall of Fame Tennis Championships
July 5-13, 2014
International Tennis Hall of Fame -- Newport, Rhode Island

The world’s top tennis players are heading to Newport — don’t miss a shot of the action! Hosted right after Wimbledon, the tournament kicks off the United States summer swing for the ATP World Tour and is the only ATP World Tour event in the Northeast. A highlight of the week is always the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, when the highest honor in the sport of tennis is presented to great champions and leaders in the sport.

Annual Wickford Art Festival
July 12-13, 2014
Wickford, Rhode Island

Ranked the #1 fine art festival in New England by Sunshine Artist. Come to this beautiful seaside town to see the work of more than 250 artists. Enjoy shops, restaurants and kayaking nearby.

Newport Mansions: Green Animals Children’s Party
July 14, 2014
Green Animals Topiary Garden -- Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Children and adults of all ages are invited to enjoy the festivities at the annual Children’s Party at Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. This site is the oldest and most northern topiary garden in the United States. The party will feature circus acts, music, magic, clowns, puppets, pony rides, refreshments and much more on this historic seven-acre estate overlooking Narragansett Bay.

Annual South County Hot Air Balloon Festival
July 18-20, 2014
Wakefield, Rhode Island

Fly high above America’s smallest state in a hot air balloon at this special festival in scenic south county. Enjoy carnival rides, see the world famous racing pigs, watch a pizza grilling competition, and try the climbing wall — all followed by fireworks. Bring your camera for the special Balloon Glow at dusk.

Newport Blues & BBQ Festival
July 19, 2014
Newport Yatching Center -- Newport, Rhode Island

Time to get down and dirty with this amped-up celebration of blues, beer, and barbecue. The one-day, 10-hour festival promises musical powerhouses and a BBQ Alley brimming with smoky goodness. Past year’s performances included James Cotton Blues Band, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Matt “Guitar” Murphy with Rick Russell & the Cadillac Horns, Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters, and Quinn Sullivan. Wow! Pair that with savory offerings and cold brews, and you’ve got the recipe for a quality dose of southern hospitality right here in downtown Newport. While you soak in the sun and sounds of our Blues masters, check out a variety of pit-masters who will be dishing out some of the best savory barbecue in the area.

Annual Blessing of the Fleet Weekend
July 25-26, 2014
Galilee, Rhode Island

It began as a ceremony to ask for “Divine Protection” of those fishermen who risked their lives harvesting the sea. The annual Blessing of the Fleet tradition has blossomed into one of Rhode Island’s most popular weekend-long events that now also includes a road race and a seafood festival attended by nearly 30,000 people. A delicious harvest of seafood and other delectable foods are prepared in the New England tradition, including complete lobster dinners, linguini with clam sauce, barbecued shrimp, and a raw bar. The Blessing of the Fleet itself is a spectacularly colorful event that takes place at noon on Saturday, in Galilee. Hundreds of vessels line up to parade past thousands of spectators.

A Slice of History – Autos of the World Classic Car Show
July 26 & 27, 2014
Goddard State Park, Rhode Island

Located on 9 acres of Goddard State Park in the center of R.I. and always on the last weekend in July, is the Autos of the World Classic Car Show. Here, visitors can shoot the breeze with the owners of some of the rarest cars and trucks in New England. Children can stand inches from a 1934 Duesenberg, or a group of vintage race cars, even a Ferrari. There will also be fire trucks and lots of other big rigs. Grandparents can share stories about their first car, even as their smiles are reflected in the car’s chrome. Stroll our park and eat lunch at one of our many food and dessert vendors. Walk right up to an amazing collection of vintage automobiles, or browse our memorabilia and relive your own memories. This is R.I’s largest classic car event weekend. So travel back in time and into the future of man’s greatest invention, the automobile! Two full days of antique, classic, exotic, european and one-of-a-kind classics. “A Slice of History” spanning more than a one-hundred year history of man’s automotive genius!

Newport Jazz Festival
August 1-3, 2014
International Tennis Hall of Fame & Fort Adams – Newport, Rhode Island (Southern R.I.)

Referred to as the grandfather of all jazz festivals, this event draws thousands of people from all over the world to Newport, Rhode Island — a city which is famed for its spectacular coastal scenery and awe-inspiring architecture. The Newport Jazz Festival® was founded in 1954 as the first annual jazz festival in America and has been host to numerous legendary performances by some of the world’s leading established and emerging artists. Check website for the full 2014 lineup.

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