Rhode Island is practically synonymous with summer, truly coming to life during those sunny months of the year. We are fortunate enough to live or vacation in the state, which hosts some of the most popular summertime events in the world. From mouthwatering local food fests to mermaid parades to hot air balloon rides, you can pack your summer with RI fun!
So, without further adieu here are 15 events not to be missed this summer (in date order)!
- WATERFIRE: Events throughout the summer!
Get lit! Waterfire takes place throughout the summer in Providence and continues all that way until November 5th. This leaves you ample opportunities to attend either a full or a partial lighting! With a glorious display, Waterfire illuminates the beauty of the capital city while highlighting and featuring artists, actors, vendors, local businesses and so much more! You can see the entire schedule here.
- PVDFEST 2018: June 7- June 10
Live music, dancing, food, and visual art installations transform the city in a four-day, multi-arts take-over of public spaces, parks, and outdoor stages in the heart of Providence. In its third year, PVDFest will expand to explore art education, public art installations and more, building on the success of the first two years of the festival!
- THE GREAT CHOWDER COOK-OFF: June 2 @ 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Now in its 37th year, the legendary Great Chowder Cook-Off is the longest running event of its kind in the nation, officially kicking off Rhode Island’s summer festivities! Enjoy endless samples of traditional and exotic creations- over 20 local, national and international competitors. You vote for your favorites and the winners walk away with overflowing prize pots and bragging rights for the year! With advanced tickets starting at $20, tickets include all-you-can-eat chowder samples, live entertainment, kid’s activities, and sponsor sampling. The event fills up fast, so purchase yours soon!
- A TASTE OF SUMMER: June 22 @ 5 – 8.pm.
South County Museum will again be hosting their annual fundraiser, which aims to celebrate local culinary delights. Kick off the start of summer, support the museum and enjoy the flavors of Southern Rhode Island’s best restaurants while exploring the Metz Exhibition Hall and the beautiful grounds of the museum. Tickets are $50 per person, with a limit of 200 tickets available. For more information call: 401-783-5400.
- 40th SOUTH COUNTY BALLOON FESTIVAL: July 20 – 22
Presented by the Rotary Club of Wakefield RI, this festival is like no other! There will be tethered balloon rides, live music, kites, airborne jugglers, music, food, fireworks, and so much more. Prices are set to entice families, so gather up the gang and check out this incredible display of Hot Air Balloons.
- BLESSING OF THE FLEET: July 27
On July 27, you can experience the 48th anniversary of this local event. The Blessing of the Fleet draws runners, walkers and spectators from near and far. At $35 per registrant, this 10-mile course showcases the beauty of Narragansett. Of course, the race is only the beginning of this festive weekend – so, don’t worry if participant registration is sold out! There will be a seafood festival, a beer tent, live music, free parking at the state beaches and the vibrant Blessing of the Fleet.
- NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL: July 27 – 29
Every year droves of music fans migrate to the scenic Fort Adams State Park to enjoy the talents of folk acts from all over the world. While the festival passes sell out quickly, there are still several ways to enjoy this incredible display of music. For one, do you have a friend with a boat? Motor out into the harbor with plenty of refreshments and food and you will be able to listen from the water. There are also a number of events that will serve as festival after shows. Click here for after hours details at Jane Picken’s Theater. It is also worth keeping your eyes and ears open for tickets, you never know who will be giving some away!
- THE CHARLESTOWN SEAFOOD FESTIVAL: August 3- 5
A gastronomic extravaganza of Rhode Island’s best seafood, lobsters, steamers, chowder, fish & chips, lobster rolls, clam cakes, corn on the cob and a raw bar, as well as an array of all types of foods for every taste. Are you salivating yet? A wide variety of arts and crafts on display, amusement rides, rock wall climbing, car show, Marcolites Kite exhibition, midway entertainment, bungee jumping, kayak, overnight getaways, TV, 50/50, lobster raffle and more will also be present!
- NEWPORT JAZZ FESTIVAL: August 4 – 6
Forming in 1954, this historic and lively event returns again to Fort Adams and the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport. This festival has offered some of the most talented jazz acts around, including The Roots and Hamilton’s Leslie Odom Jr. The Jazz Festival features 3 days of jazz music at Fort Adams State Park as well as a ceremonial Newport Jazz Festival Friday evening concert that will be held at the International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino.
- THE 8th ANNUAL REGGAE FESTIVAL: September 9th
Taking place at Bold Point Park in East Providence, this kid-friendly summer fest has a lineup that’s sure to get attendees groovin’. It brings some of the most influential Reggae Artists to Rhode Island so that you can enjoy their beloved tunes! This is one waterfront event that will bring out your mellow mood.
- FOO FEST: August 18th
This AS220 hosted block party will return in August! Come experience art, music, and the budding cultural scene in the area. Report back to their website for emerging details.
- FARM FRESH RI’s LOCAL FOOD FEST: August 14 @ 4 p.m.
This tasty evening celebrates Rhode Island farmers, fishermen and food artisans. Dozens of local growers and producers will team up with renowned area chefs (including chefs from Castle Hill Inn and Newport Restaurant Group). Meet these local heroes while enjoying local wines, beer, live music and the beautiful waterfront setting of Castle Hill — all while benefiting the programs of Farm Fresh Rhode Island through a silent auction and raffle.
- THE WASHINGTON COUNTY FAIR: August 15 – 19
Established in 1967, the 2018 fair will mark 52 years of family fun! Owned and operated by the volunteers of the Washington County Pomona Grange, the Washington County Fair, a non-profit organization, is considered a New England tradition! The Fair is Rhode Island’s largest agricultural event, running for five days. Admission includes access to all daily concerts (country fans should be excited), special acts and events, the giant midway and kiddy land area (all ride tickets and games are separate), all agricultural events and shows, exhibits and displays, tractor and horse pulls, the farm museum, and much, much more! Also, for the second year, the Midway will feature New England’s largest traveling roller coaster! Bring the entire family along!
- NEW ENGLAND QUAHOG FESTIVAL: August 26
Kiss summer goodbye with this exciting day at North Kingstown Town Beach! The annual event celebrates summer with a unique Sea Creature Parade, live music, entertainment, food trucks, beer garden and so much more!
- RHYTHM & ROOTS FESTIVAL: August 31 – September 2
Ninigret Park comes alive with this annual music and dance festival. Featuring family friendly pricing, camping, amazing music, food vendors, art and so much more…this is the perfect way to officially close out summer on Labor Day Weekend. Come for the day or make a weekend of it!